Recently I gave my pre-service student teachers at Portland State University an assignment to do screening tests of basic skills in their placements. I was shocked to see how few of the screening tests showed students who were fluent with basic, single-digit math facts, where they could answer math facts as quickly as they could write. When children cannot answer math facts quickly and easily they are placed at a unnecessary disadvantage when it comes to doing math.
It is true that learning math facts takes time. No one can learn all of them in a matter of a few days or a week. It takes most students daily practice for months to learn all the facts in an operation. But when you consider that we require students to attend school five hours a day for years and years, it is pretty shocking to realize how many children do not have fluent mastery of math facts when they get to middle school. When the job can be done in ten minutes a day, and every child could become fluent in all four operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division by the end of fourth grade, why isn’t it?
Sometimes, teachers have been taught in their schools of education that helping children memorize things is somehow harmful. With that belief, teachers won’t try to do something systematic like Rocket Math. But after a year or two teaching, especially upper elementary grades, and struggling to teach higher math concepts to children who are interrupted by finger counting in the middle of every single computation, teachers learn that belief is simply wrong. Children are helped immensely by memorizing basic math facts. It enables them to have “number sense,” to easily appreciate the relationships among numerals, and to easily do computation.
Probably the main reason more students are not taught math facts, to the level they need, is that teachers are not aware of a tool that can help them do that. They don’t know that students enjoy doing learning math facts when it is done right. They don’t know that it can be done as a simple routine that takes ten minutes a day. They don’t know how easily students can master all of the facts. In short, they don’t know that Rocket Math exists. Someday a friend of theirs will tell them, because that is how Rocket Math spreads–by word-of-mouth.
If you read this, and you have never seen Rocket Math in action, you may be skeptical. Tell you what, write to me and if you need to see it in action to believe me, and don’t have a friend using Rocket Math, I’ll send you a free subscription to try it out.