The Effort Rating screen–a tool for motivating students

The effort rating screens, shown above, pop up every time a student logs into Rocket Math Online Tutor.  It shows the number of sessions the student has started and completed in the last 14 days. It’s a rolling mini-calendar.  Students see a letter for any day (SMTWTFS) when there was no session.   On days when they start sessions, students instead see the number of sessions they started.  On days when they complete sessions, students instead see the number of sessions they completed. For every two sessions completed in the last 14 days, they earn one-half a star and four sessions a full star.  The more stars they have, the more effort they are making.

It’s powerful to recognize students based on their effort.

Every student can put in effort regardless of their academic prowess.  The really bright students, who learn easily, get a lot of recognition, sometimes with little effort.  If you want to be fair and if you want to help and motivate all of your students focus on their effort rather than their level of success.  Some students have to work harder than others to achieve, but you want to recognize and reward students based on their effort when you can.  This will help them later in life as well. Rocket Math Online Tutor makes that easy with the effort rating screen shown above that pops up after they log in.

Our goal should be for students to complete a session each school day and one more at home for homework.  Over the previous 14 days that would normally amount to 20 sessions which would earn them five stars.  If they only complete a session per day at school that would be ten sessions or 2 1/2 stars.  You’ll want to aim at getting students to do Rocket Math as homework as well.

Your enthusiasm signals what is important.

When students log in, the effort screen comes up first before they start working. You need to show interest in how much effort your students have been exerting.  You and the student can view this when students log into Rocket Math.  If you publicly praise students with stars for  effort, then students will know that effort is important.  Just walking around and exclaiming something like, “Wow, Julie, you got one and a half stars for effort!  I’m impressed!” will cause other students to look at their star effort screens.  Soon, students will show you if their effort rates more stars, so you can see it and praise them.  Looking at a few students’ effort rating screens should become a daily routine when Rocket Math begins. But wait, there’s more you can do.

How to find out who has done the most sessions?

On the Review Progress tab, in the part with individual student data, you can sort by the “Total” column.  Click twice until the arrow is pointing down.  You will then have sorted to the top the students who have done the most number of sessions in the last 14 days.  By doing this you can find the 10-20% of your students who are doing the most sessions.  Recognize them, put their name on the board, call their parents, point out how you are impressed by their hard work and how smart they are going to become by working so hard. You can see in the pictured example that the four hardest working students completed 12 or more sessions in the last 14 days. When you see that in your class, there’s even more you can do for them.

Star effort awards available to give out to hard-working students.

If any of your hardest-working students have done 8 or more sessions in the last 14 days, you can give them the “2 Star” effort award.  Give these out with a lot of fanfare, as soon as anyone has completed enough sessions to earn them.  Everyone can put out the effort, so all of your students should be able to earn these!

Completing sessions every day at school and then doing some as homework will earn more stars.  Doing twelve sessions in 14 days will earn three stars. Doing 16 will earn four stars and doing 20 will earn five stars.  These awards are available under tab (K) Award Certificates.

Of course, it would be better to earn the “4 Star” award, so you’ll want your students to strive to earn one of those.  Award that with even more fanfare, once someone earns the “4 Star” award.  And eventually, you may be able to reward some students with the “5 star” award, which is the best of all.

When most of your class is earning these awards you’ll be on your way to really helping them become fluent in math.  Way to go!





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