Dr. Don's Hints and Tips Archive


Will finger counting ever go away?

Originally published September 8, 2016

Not if we don’t do something about it!
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Start the year off right!

Originally published August 23, 2016

Rewarding students with the Wall Chart from the start!
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How to avoid the summer slump!

Originally published July 5, 2016

Use smart review process!


Summer school? Use Rocket Math!

Originally published May 27, 2016

Three ways to use Rocket Math for summer school.

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Are you ready for summer?

Originally published May 17, 2016

Preparing now can insure that students will maintain their Rocket Math learning over the summer!
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What best honors & motivates student achievement?

Originally published May 10, 2016

Recognition for real, tangible accomplishments that not everyone gets!
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My Foolproof Method for finding Factors

Originally published May 3, 2016

Easily know when you’ve found ALL the factors!

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Teacher active monitoring

Can all second graders finish subtraction?

Originally published April 26, 2016

It’s not easy, but it can be done.

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Engage Students in Rocket Math during schedule gaps at test times

How can you fill testing-created gaps in your daily schedule?

Originally published April 19, 2016

Rocket Math fills those gaps perfectly!  
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Why would Rocket Math be frustrating your students?

Originally published April 12, 2016

If students (and parents) are really frustrated, Rocket Math is not being done the right way.
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Should you boost success along with motivation?

Originally published April 5, 2016

Cool rewards, such as making a human Rocket ship on the playground (left), only work if students expect to succeed.

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Upgrade Universal Rocket Math Subscription

Upgrade lifetime licenses to Universal subscriptions!

Originally published March 29, 2016

Because loyal Rocket Math users deserve it.

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Beyond Division

What's beyond Division?

Originally published March 22, 2016

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What's wrong with this picture?

Originally published March 15, 2016

If you are seeing this in your school, you need Rocket Math.
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What does CCSS mean by "know from memory?"

Originally published March 8, 2016

“Knowing from memory” means not having to stop and think about it.
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Why are basic facts important to memorize?

Originally published March 1, 2016

Because not knowing them is so frustrating.

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How do students correct in Skip Counting?

Originally published February 23, 2016

Saying the whole sequence (for example, 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 30, 36, 40) is important.  
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Can you teach the value of hard work?

Originally published February 16, 2016

The benefits of Rocket Math extend beyond learning math facts.

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How can you improve writing speed?

Originally published February 9, 2016

You can use Rocket Writing for Numerals, part of the Universal subscription.  Read what this program helps you do.

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Do students have to read the facts in a certain order?

Originally published February 2, 2016

It is actually more important than you might think, that students practice by reading facts in a consistent way.

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How can you get first graders to practice in pairs?

Originally published January 26, 2016

You CAN teach first graders how to effectively practice Rocket Math together. This picture from a great blog: Fun in First on blogspot
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Does research show that student achievement increases from timed daily drill?

Originally published January 11, 2016

No, but students can memorize math facts by practicing a limited set of problems with a partner who corrects all errors and hesitations.

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Trying to teach reading by the light of a shared candle.

Originally published January 4, 2016

How can a teacher run a math fact fluency program with access to only a couple of computers?

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Struggling sixth graders--what to use?

Originally published December 14, 2015

Struggling sixth graders usually need help with multiplication times tables, but which ones?

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Re-set or re-install Rocket Math app over the break!

Originally published December 7, 2015

You can do this if you WARN students ahead of time!

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What happens if we don't practice daily?

Originally published November 30, 2015

Irregular practice of math facts can cause a lot of frustration for students!

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You expect no errors, really?

Originally published November 23, 2015

Even great ball players sometimes make an error.  Aren’t there times when it is OK if students make an error or two on the Daily One Minute Timing?  Shouldn’t we let them slide?

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Skipping, when is it OK?

Originally published November 16, 2015

We are not talking about this kind of skipping, but she is cute!

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Does your motivation hurt more than it helps?

Originally published November 9, 2015

Public displays of progress (or lack of it) risk humiliating some students.

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What's the point of grading? Especially Rocket Math!

Originally published November 2, 2015

Getting an “A” grade motivates students to do more of that subject.

Teachers ask me how they should grade Rocket Math. Here’s the problem.  Who is responsible for the success of students doing Rocket Math? The teacher is.  The students–not so much!
Read the rest of the answer, including one idea for grading Rocket Math fairly!

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Don't cause confusion: teach one operation at a time.

Originally published October 26, 2015

Teachers often ask me if they can start Rocket Math and do both addition and subtraction at the same time–to help their students catch up quicker.  No, don’t do it!  It will cause special kinds of confusion (called proactive and retroactive inhibition) as students try to memorize the relationships among the numbers.   Click here to read more

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Subscription site printing improved dramatically!

Originally published October 19, 2015

Some software changes were done this week that improve the print outs from our subscription site dramatically!  Google Chrome and Internet Explorer and Microsoft Edge print out much better than before and now show the original look of the fonts perfectly.  Firefox is the only browser that does not get the fonts right.  Go figure!

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Dr. Don (and his staff) taking customer calls!

Originally published October 9, 2015

Some of you may have wondered about the size of the Rocket Math staff.  So I thought I’d include a picture of myself (and my whole staff ) taking customer calls on Tuesday.

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Replace finger counting, don't try to suppress it!

Originally published October 2, 2015

Don’t try to stop students from finger counting.  By helping them memorize the facts they will come to the point where the answer occurs to them before they finish counting on their fingers!

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Great idea for the doorways of math classrooms!

Originally published September 25, 2015

If your floor can handle it, what a great way to teach the degrees in angles!

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Use Mozilla Firefox to print!

Originally published September 18, 2015

Turns out that the browser you choose controls the printing from our subscription site.  We have found that Mozilla Firefox currently works best. Other browsers can push pages onto two pages and cause other issues. We are working on ways to fix those issues.

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Quickly know who needs help!

Originally published September 11, 2015

Above you can see the Progress Aimline for 1 semester to complete an operation.  This is available in the basic subscription site, Forms and Information Drawer as an optional form.  Or click here. We also have a Progress Aimline for finishing one operation during a school year.  Also available free on the website here.

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Starting the year off right!

Originally published August 29, 2015

You can see this teacher has started off the year with a bang!  The goal arrow is up on the Wall Chart only three rows away.  So students will be able to reach it and earn their reward! They have already filled in more than one row on the Wall Chart with star stickers that represent passing a level.  The principal can come by, see how they are doing and encourage them to get to the goal arrow in time to win!!

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Take up where they left off before summer!

Originally published August 21, 2015

Don’t think students have to start over in Rocket Math.  They have learned the facts so well that with careful review they can take up where they left off!
There is a way to start off the year on the same set on which students left off at the end of last school year (providing you know where that was).  You do need to do a slightly different procedure at the start of the year, however.
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Rocket Math