When to begin Rocket Math?

Question: I am the K-1 instructional coach for our district and I am looking for the contact information for a 1st grade teacher who has done Rocket Math in first grade. We have a building who will be piloting the program in first grade and would like some advice on what time of year is best to begin the program!

Answer: We don’t keep customer contact information to give out–our privacy policy does not allow that. [However, we are about to create a Rocket Math Ambassadors web page for teachers who volunteer to be available to take questions from other teachers about Rocket Math. We’ll announce it in Dr. Don’s Hints and Tips.]

Answer to your second question: You want to know when in first grade to begin the program. The answer to your question is that students can begin math facts in First grade as soon as they understand the concept of addition. This is the kind of information discussed in our Teacher Directions and in our Rocket Math FAQs here in letter “E.”

When are students ready to begin fact memorization in an operation?

When they “understand the concept” of the operation. “And how does one know that?” you might be asking. Well, we’re going to tell you. Drumroll, please. Children “understand” an operation when they are able to compute or figure out any fact in the operation. They can use their fingers to figure out the addition and subtraction facts. Or they can use successive addition to figure out the multiplication facts. Or they can use manipulatives and get the right answer. Or they can draw lines, or horses, or dots, or cookies  (We’ve seen it all.) and get the answer. Somehow, some way, given any fact in the operation, and unlimited time, the child can figure out the answer. Then the child is ready to begin memorizing.

This might be at the start of the school year, or might not be true until November–depending on your district’s scope and sequence. Hope this answers your question.

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