Dr. Don's HINTS AND TIPS 
shot of a kid screaming at desk
Why are basic facts important to memorize?

Because not knowing them is so frustrating.

There are several reasons why memorizing or learning math facts to fluency is critical.
  1. Calculators expect users to have a ready knowledge of simple facts in order to know when errors entering data return incorrect answers.
    Children who don't have a quick grasp of the facts do not generate correct estimates or make good guesses in complex math problems. Their problem solving ability is hurt because they cannot tell if an answer "makes sense."
  2. Lack of fluency with math facts limits the number of more advanced math problems students can and will do on a daily basis. Because doing math problems are so slow and difficult students resist doing their math assignments and thereby learn less.
  3. Students who are being distracted because their fact knowledge is not automatic find it difficult to learn complex math algorithms. Students who are automatic with their math facts find it much easier and are much more successful at higher level math.
  4. Once students reach fractions, they need to figure out common denominators, equivalent fractions, reduce fractions and cancel out like factors. All of these procedures depend upon instantaneous recognition of multiplication facts. Students cannot easily learn, nor easily understand fractions procedures without a ready knowledge of multiplication facts.
  5. Mastery of fractions, decimals, percentages and ratios is required for students to be ready for algebra. Algebra is the gatekeeper to all higher math classes and success on the SAT. Higher math is the gatekeeper to 4-year colleges and all of the more technical professions. For some students all of these opportunities are denied due to lack of mastery of multiplication math facts!

Proud Student featured on Twitter

Julie Wadsworth @jwadsworth3rd 
  Julie Wadworth, 3rd grade teacher posted this picture of a proud student in her class who is the latest member of the Division Club (by passing Multiplication).
I sent her a complimentary Universal subscription to thank her for her support of Rocket Math and update her to the 2015 version.  
Send me your photos!  
Subscription version of Rocket Math Apps begin expiring this month and are no longer available.  Instead, purchase permanent replacements from iTunes.  See the links below.  
Rocket Math
Addition App
Available in the
and for a 50% discount in Apple's Volume Purchase Plan for Education.
Click to read
the reviews for our Apps:
Rocket Math
Multiplication App
Available in the
and for a 50% discount in Apple's Volume Purchase Plan for Education.
NEW!!  
HOME versions of Rocket Math Apps became available this week.  
Rocket Math HOME
Addition App
Available in the
FREE  trial to start.
Works the same at the school versions, but with a $2.99 in-app purchase to continue past Level K.
Rocket Math HOME
Multiplication App
Available in the

Video Clip of the Week
USING THE WALL CHART
The best supplement to the basic worksheet program is the Rocket Math Wall Chart. Here I explain it. 

Question of the week
How do you stop students from counting on their fingers?

A teacher asks:
During the two-minute timed tests with my class, I tell students to skip problems they can't quickly answer rather than try to figure them out. Still, there are always those students who don't listen, and I see them skip counting on their fingers. How do you handle this issue during your testing?"


Dr. Don answers:
This is a great question. Rocket Math is designed specifically to prevent these problems--by developing the habit of knowing the answer and not HAVING to count on one's fingers.  Gradually, the counting behavior will go away as students learn that they simply know some facts--and then they can skip the others! 
  • First of all, Rocket Math Daily One-Minute timings are composed entirely of problems the students do know, so they don't need to "skip problems you don't know." In fact, in the daily one-minute tests if students skip any problems they are counted as wrong, because it is evidence that they don't know it. You can see the sequence in which multiplication facts are learned here. Set A in Multiplication, for example, it is composed entirely of 1 x numbers in which the answer is the number. There's no need to finger count. There's no need to skip around. Each set then only adds two facts and their reverses at most. Set B in Multiplication only adds 2×2, 2×3, and 3×2 to those ones facts. So by the time the student finishes practicing, even the first day, he/she should be able to answer all the facts on that day's One Minute Timing without having to skip count on his/her fingers.
  • The other part of the equation in Rocket Math is that we set the goal individually for each student based on the Writing Speed Test. We set their goal as fast as their little fingers can carry them! There is no time to stop and count on fingers or stop writing answers to look for problems they like better. So students will NOT pass if they are doing any of those things. Of course, it's up to you as the teacher to warn students ahead of time, "There is not enough time to take breaks, erase answers, or count on your fingers. If you do those things you won't pass!"  And of course, students are very motivated to pass levels and move up the Rocket Chart.
  • Probably most importantly is making sure that when students practice with each other they follow the correction procedure for all hesitations. That way students learn they can (and must) answer the facts instantly when they know them. For the proper correction procedure See Letter O in our FAQs page.  Then read Letter P in our FAQs page "How do get my students to practice the right way?"

Hidden gem of the week
(Something you may never have noticed)

item #2005 


This is the first and best supplemental product we have for Rocket Math.
 $18  

It is very motivational and helps bring your class together, and combats the competition that can sometimes create discouragement for some.  Everyone who passes a level, gets to put up a sticker for the team!  As soon as we reach the goal arrow the whole class gets a reward--whatever the teacher has chosen.  Build a team and cheer each other on!  
Thank you for your interest in Rocket Math.  I created it to help students be more successful, gain confidence and enjoy math more.  Let me know how else I can help.  Feel free to call me with any questions you have or send me an email to don@rocketmath.com
 
Sincerely,
Dr. Don
Rocket Math
phone (888) 488-4854
SAVE
15%
ON A SUBSCRIPTION UPGRADE (item #2999) 
Use Coupon Code  UPGRADE15%OFF when you order.
Offer Expires 5/31/2016. Item #2999  Upgrade  a Basic to a Universal Subscription, normal price of $20 is discounted, may be used more than once.
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