Dictating Sentences (Rocket Spelling) Learning Track

List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

Developing Fluency with spelling.

Dictating Sentences is spelling with a twist.  Instead of spelling one word at a time, in Dictating Sentences students are asked to write an entire sentence from memory.  They work in pairs and their tutor has the student repeat the sentence until it is learned.  Then the student has to write the whole sentence from memory.  It turns out this is considerably harder than writing words on a spelling test, so it is challenging practice, and does a lot to help students develop automaticity with spelling.

If you have to stop and think of the spelling of a word while you are trying to write, it distracts you from thinking about what you are trying to write.  Students are more successful and better able to show what they know and better able to focus on learning when their tool skills have developed to the level of automaticity.

10 minutes a day practice develops fluency and automaticity.

Developing automaticity with math facts and with spelling requires a lot of practice.  Daily practice is best and a few minutes a day is optimal.  That is why Rocket Math is designed the way it is–to provide that daily practice.  Dictating Sentences gives each member of the pair ten minutes a day of practice writing sentences composed of words they know how to spell and must spell correctly.

Working in pairs.  As you know from Rocket Math practice, students enjoy working in pairs.  And when one partner has an answer key the practice can be checked and corrected.  Sound research shows that immediate correction and editing of misspelled words is the fastest way to learn the correct spelling, so that’s what we have the student tutor do.  After each sentence is written every word is checked and practiced again until it is correct.

Mastery learning. The program is structure so that all the words are learned to the level of automaticity.  Students keep working on a sentence until it can be written without any errors.  They work on the same lesson for as many days as is needed for them to spelling every word perfectly in all three sentences.  Each sentence persists for two or three lessons, so that the student is required to write it from memory and spell every word perfectly for several days in a row.

500 Most common words.  Dictating sentences systematically practices the 500 most common words that students need in their writing.  It includes all of Rebecca Sitton’s 400 Core Words.  It also includes the 340 words that children most need for writing according to writing researchers Harris and Graham.   When students know these words to the level of automaticity, they will be able to write fluently and easily.

Earning points for being correct and going fast.  Students earn two points for every word that is spelling correctly the first time.  Every word on which there is an error is worked on until it too can be spelled correctly, earning one point.  The faster students go during their ten minutes, the more points they can earn.  Students graph the number of points earned and try to beat their own score from previous days.  Teams can be set up and competition for the glory of being on the winning team can enhance the motivation.

Individual Placement.  There is a placement test.  Students begin at the level where they first make a mistake.  Student partners do not need to be at the same level, so every student can be individually placed at the level of success.

Equivalent Fractions Learning Track

List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

Why commit to memory equivalent fractions?

We expect students to reduce their answers to the lowest terms, but how can they if they don’t recognize them?  To do this easily, students need to know that six-eighths is equivalent to three-fourths and that four-twelfths is equivalent to one-third.  While they can calculate these, it is very helpful to know the most common equivalent fractions by memory.  Not knowing these by memory accounts for the most common problem students have in fractions: failing to “reduce their answers to simplest form.”

Each set (A through Z) has four fractions which are displayed on a fraction number line.  In addition to pairs of equivalent fractions, students frequently learn fractions equivalent to one, such as ten-tenths.  They also memorize fractions that can’t be reduced, for example three-fourths is only equivalent to three-fourths. Students use a number line and identify equivalent fractions by circling an equivalent pair of fractions.  They understand why they are equivalent as well as memorizing the pair.

Equivalent fractions, Factors, and Integers, are all pre-algebra programs that are recommended for upper elementary and middle school students who already know the basic facts.

5-minute Equivalent Fractions video lesson.

Dr. Don explains How the Equivalent Fractions program works.

Students will commit to memory 100 common equivalent fractions.

Click here for the full sequence of equivalent fractions that students will learn in this program.

 

Division–Learning Computation–Learning Track


List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

How to do (compute) multi-step division problems

After becoming fluent with division facts, the best way for students to retain the knowledge of those facts is by doing division computation.  If students have not been taught division computation, this program breaks it down into small, easy-to-learn steps that are numbered in a teaching sequence that leaves nothing to chance.

Assessment to find which skill to teach first

There is an assessment available so you can test and see where to begin instruction. Find where the student first starts having troubles and begin teaching there.

Skills in this Learning Track

Note that the number for each skill gives the grade level as well as indicating the teaching sequence.  Skill 3b is a 3rd grade skill and after skill 3c is learned the next in the sequence is skill 4a.  The sequence of skills is drawn from M. Stein, D. Kinder, J. Silbert, and D. W. Carnine, (2006) Designing Effective Mathematics Instruction: A Direct Instruction Approach (4th Edition) Pearson Education: Columbus, OH.

(3b) Dividing 1-digit divisor and quotient with remainder.

(3c) Division equation with ÷ sign; facts with no remainder

(4a) 1-digit divisor; 2- or 3-digit dividend, 2-digit quotient; no remainder.

(4b) 1-digit divisor; 2- or 3-digit dividend, 2-digit quotient; remainder.

(4c) 1-digit divisor; 2- or 3-digit dividend, 2-digit quotient with zero; remainder.

not yet completed levels–to be developed upon demand–ask Dr. Don

(4d) 1-digit divisor; 3- or 4-digit dividend, 3-digit quotient.

(4e) 1-digit divisor; 3- or 4-digit dividend, 3-digit quotient with zero.

(4f) 1-digit divisor; 4- or 5-digit dividend, 4-digit quotient.

(4g) Rounding to the nearest ten.

(4h) 2-digit divisor; 1- or 2-digit quotient, all estimation yields correct quotient.

(4i) 2-digit divisor with incorrect estimated quotients.

How to teach this Learning Track

For each skill there is a suggested Teaching Script giving the teacher/tutor/parent consistent (across all the skills we use the same explanation) language of instruction on how to do the skill.  The script helps walk the student through the computation process.  For the teacher, in addition to the script, there are answer keys for the five worksheets provided for each skill.

Each worksheet is composed of two parts.  The top has examples of the skill being learned that can be worked by following the script.  After working through those examples with the teacher the student is then asked to work some review problems that are already known.  The student is asked to do as many as possible in 3 minutes—a kind of sprint.  If all is well the student should be able to do all the problems or nearly all of them, but finishing is not required.  Three minutes of review is sufficient for one day.

There are five worksheets for each skill.  Gradually as the student learns the skill the teacher/tutor/parent can provide progressively less help and the student should be able to do the problems without any guidance by the end of the five worksheets.  There are suggestions for how to give less help in the teaching scripts.

Multiplication–Learning Computation–Learning Track


List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

Teach how to do (compute) multi-step multiplication problems

After becoming fluent with multiplication facts, the best way for students to retain the knowledge of those facts is by doing multiplication computation.  If students have not been taught multiplication computation, this program breaks it down into small, easy-to-learn steps that are numbered in a teaching sequence that leaves nothing to chance.

Assess to find where to begin instruction

Included in the Learning Track is an assessment to help you find out where to start instruction in the sequence. Test the student and begin teaching with the first skill on which they have difficulty.

Skills taught in this Learning Track

Note that the number for each skill gives the grade level as well as indicating the teaching sequence.  Skill 3b is a 3rd grade skill and after skill 3e is learned the next in the sequence is skill 4a.  The sequence of skills is drawn from M. Stein, D. Kinder, J. Silbert, and D. W. Carnine, (2006) Designing Effective Mathematics Instruction: A Direct Instruction Approach (4th Edition) Pearson Education: Columbus, OH.

(3b) Multiplying 1-digit times 2-digit; no renaming

(3c) Multiplying 1-digit times 2-digit; carrying

(3d) Multiplying 1-digit times 2-digit, written horizontally.

(3e) Reading and writing thousands numbers, using commas.

(4a) Multiplying 1-digit times 3-digit

(4b) Multiplying 1-digit times 3-digit; zero in tens column

(4c) Multiplying 1 digit times 3 digit, written horizontally

(4d) Multiplying 2-digits times 2-digits.

(4e) Multiplying 2-digits times 3-digits.

(5a) Multiplying 3-digits times 3-digits.

(5b) Multiplying 3-digits times 3-digits; zero in tens column of multiplier.

 

How to teach this Learning Track

For each skill there is a suggested Teaching Script giving the teacher/tutor/parent consistent (across all the skills we use the same explanation) language of instruction on how to do the skill.  The script helps walk the student through the computation process.  For the teacher, in addition to the script, there are answer keys for the five worksheets provided for each skill.

Each worksheet is composed of two parts.  The top has examples of the skill being learned that can be worked by following the script.  After working through those examples with the teacher the student is then asked to work some review problems of addition problems that are already known.  The student is asked to do as many as possible in 3 minutes—a kind of sprint.  If all is well the student should be able to do all the problems or nearly all of them, but finishing is not required.  Three minutes of review is sufficient for one day.

There are five worksheets for each skill.  Gradually as the student learns the skill the teacher/tutor/parent can provide progressively less help and the student should be able to do the problems without any guidance by the end of the five worksheets.  There are suggestions for how to give less help in the teaching scripts.

Subtraction–Learning Computation–Learning Track


List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

Teach how to do (compute) multi-step subtraction problems

After becoming fluent with subtraction facts, the best way for students to retain the knowledge of those facts is by doing subtraction computation.  If students have not been taught subtraction computation, Subtraction–Learning Computation breaks it down into 18 small, easy-to-learn steps that are numbered in a teaching sequence that leaves nothing to chance. 

Find out where to begin instruction

Even better the instructional materials include an assessment of all the skills in subtraction computation in order, so you can test the knowledge of the student(s) before beginning instruction to see where to start. You can use this assessment to find very specific “holes” in student skills and then have the exact problems and explanation to fill that hole.

Skills taught in this Learning Track

Note that the number for each skill gives the grade level as well as indicating the teaching sequence.  Skill 3b is a 3rd grade skill and after skill 3g is learned the next in the sequence, skill 4a is best taught in fourth grade.  Minor changes have been made, but for the most part, the sequence of skills is drawn from M. Stein, D. Kinder, J. Silbert, and D. W. Carnine, (2006) Designing Effective Mathematics Instruction: A Direct Instruction Approach (4th Edition) Pearson Education: Columbus, OH.

(1b) Subtract from 2 digits; no renaming.

(2a) Subtract from 2digits; renaming required.

(2b) Subtract from 3 digits; borrow from 10s.

(3a) Subtract from 3 digits; borrow from 100s.

(3b) Subtract from 3 digits; borrow either place.

(3c) Subtract tens minus one facts.

(3d) Subtract from 3 digits; zero in 10s; borrow 10s or 100s.

(3e) Read and write thousands numbers, use commas.

(3f) Subtract from 4 digits; borrow from 1000s.

(3g) Subtract from 4 digits; borrow once or more.

(4a) Subtract from 4 digits; zero in 10s or 100s column

(4b) Subtract from 4 digits; zero in 10s column, 1 in 100s.

(4c) Subtract hundreds minus one facts.

(4d) Subtract from 4 digits; zero in 10s and 100s column.

(4e) Subtract 1, 2, or 3 digits from 1,000.

(4f) Subtract 5 and 6 digits with borrowing.

(5a) Subtract thousands minus one facts.

(5b) Subtract from a number with four zeroes.

How to teach this Learning Track

For each skill there is a suggested Teaching Script giving the teacher/tutor/parent consistent (across all the skills we use the same explanation) language of instruction on how to do the skill.  My favorite part is the rule students are taught for when to borrow (often confusing for students): Bigger bottom borrows.  Simple, easy-to-remember and consistently correct.  The script helps walk the student through the computation process.  For the teacher, in addition to the script, there are answer keys for the five worksheets provided for each skill.

Each worksheet is composed of two parts.  The top has examples of the skill being learned that can be worked by following the script.  After working through those examples with the teacher the student is then asked to work some review problems of addition problems that are already known.  The student is asked to do as many as possible in 3 minutes—a kind of sprint.  If all is well the student should be able to do all the problems or nearly all of them, but finishing is not required.  Three minutes of review is sufficient for one day.

There are five worksheets for each skill.  Gradually as the student learns the skill the teacher/tutor/parent can provide progressively less help and the student should be able to do the problems without any guidance by the end of the five worksheets.  There are suggestions for how to give less help in the teaching scripts.

Addition–Learning Computation–Learning Track


List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

How to do (compute) multi-step addition problems

After becoming fluent with addition facts, the best way for students to retain the knowledge of those facts is by doing addition computation.  If students have not been taught addition computation, this program breaks it down into small, easy-to-learn steps that are numbered in a teaching sequence that leaves nothing to chance.

Easily assess where to begin instruction

An assessment is provided to test each of the skills in the sequence below. They go in order. Test the student and begin teaching wherever the student begins to have difficulty.

Skills taught in this Learning Track

Note that the number for each skill gives the grade level as well as indicating the teaching sequence.  Skill 2a is a 2nd grade skill and after skill 2f is learned the next in the sequence is skill 3a.  The sequence of skills is drawn from M. Stein, D. Kinder, J. Silbert, and D. W. Carnine, (2006) Designing Effective Mathematics Instruction: A Direct Instruction Approach (4th Edition) Pearson Education: Columbus, OH.

(1b) Adding 1-, or 2-digit numbers; no renaming

(2a) Adding three single-digit numbers

(2b-c) Adding 3-digit numbers; no renaming

(2c) Adding 3-digits to 1 or more digits; no renaming

(2d) Adding three 1- or 2-digit numbers; no renaming

(2e) Adding two 2-digit numbers, renaming 1s to 10s

(2f) Adding 3-digit numbers, renaming 1s to 10s

(3a) Adding a 1-digit number to a teen number, under 20

(3b) Adding two 2- or 3-digit numbers; renaming 10s to 100s

(3c) Adding 3-digit numbers; renaming twice

(3d) Adding three 2-digit numbers; renaming sums under 20

(3e) Adding four multi-digit numbers; renaming, sums under 20

(4a) Adding a 1-digit number to a teen number, over 20

(4b) Adding three 2-digit numbers, sums over 20

(4c) Adding four or five multi-digit numbers, sums over 20

How to teach this Learning Track

For each skill there is a suggested Teaching Script giving the teacher/tutor/parent consistent (across all the skills we use the same explanation) language of instruction on how to do the skill.  The script helps walk the student through the computation process.  For the teacher, in addition to the script, there are answer keys for the five worksheets provided for each skill.

Each worksheet is composed of two parts.  The top has examples of the skill being learned that can be worked by following the script.  After working through those examples with the teacher the student is then asked to work some review problems of addition problems that are already known.  The student is asked to do as many as possible in 3 minutes—a kind of sprint.  If all is well the student should be able to do all the problems or nearly all of them, but finishing is not required.  Three minutes of review is sufficient for one day.

There are five worksheets for each skill.  Gradually as the student learns the skill the teacher/tutor/parent can provide progressively less help and the student should be able to do the problems without any guidance by the end of the five worksheets.  There are suggestions for how to give less help in the teaching scripts.

Mult-Division Fact Families to 20 Learning Track


List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

Why learn in Fact Families?

Fact Families are another way to learn multiplication and division facts, or to review them once learned. 2 x 1, 1 x 2, 2 ÷ 1, and 2 ÷ 2 make up such a family.  Fact families are divided into two parts.  This is the first part and includes facts up to 4 x 5 = 20.  The second part goes on from 21 with 7 x 3 = 21 and larger facts.

How do students learn?

Students practice orally with a partner, reading and answering the facts going around the outside of the sheet.  The partner has the answer key.  Then the two students switch roles.  After practice everyone takes a one minute test on the facts in the box–which are only the facts learned up to this level.  Each student has individual goals based on writing speed, but no one can pass a level if there are any errors.   You must give the special Writing Speed Test to set individual goals for your students.

Students should be able to pass a level in a week, if they practice the right way.   Below you can see the sequence of facts that will be learned in the Mult & Division Fact Families to 20 program.  The program uses the four forms–that can be found in the forms and information drawer.

The most succinct way to be introduced to this program is this 8 minute video.

Fact Families make an excellent review

If students have learned the 0 to 9s multiplication and division facts, this makes an excellent review.  Students will find this first part very easy, but the second part will really help them build up their fluency.

 

Subtraction 0 through 9s Learning Track

List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

After 0-9s addition facts are learned, these are next.

These are the basic single digit Subtraction facts 0 through 9s. Each of the 26 levels, A through Z, introduces two facts and their reverses.  You can see in the picture above of Set E, I have outlined the new facts in red.

How do students learn these facts?

Students practice orally with a partner, reading and answering the facts going around the outside of the sheet.  The partner has the answer key.  Then the two students switch roles.  After practice everyone takes a one-minute test on the facts in the box–which are only the facts learned up to this level.  Each student has individual goals based on writing speed, but no one can pass a level if there are any errors.   You must give the special Writing Speed Test to set individual goals for your students.

Students should be able to pass a level in a week, if they practice the right way.   Below you can see the sequence of facts that will be learned in the Subtraction 0-9s program.  The program uses the four forms–that can be found in the forms and information drawer.

The most succinct way to be introduced to this program is this 8-minute video.

 

Multiplication 0 through 9s Learning Track

List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

What do students learn in this Learning Track?

Students commit to memory the single digit Multiplication facts 0 through 9s. Each of the 26 levels, A through Z, introduces two facts and their reverses.  You can see in the picture above of Set C, we have outlined the four new facts in red. The facts taught and the sequence in which they are learned are shown below.

How do students learn these facts?

Students practice orally with a partner, reading and answering the facts going around the outside of the sheet.  The partner has the answer key.  Then the two students switch roles.  After practice everyone takes a one-minute test on the facts in the box–which are only the facts learned up to this level.  Each student has individual goals based on writing speed, but no one can pass a level if there are any errors.   You must give the special Writing Speed Test to set individual goals for your students.

Students should be able to pass a level in a week, if they practice the right way.   To the right you can see the sequence of facts that will be learned in the Multiplication 1s-9s program.  The program uses the four forms–that can be found in the forms and information drawer.

The most succinct way to be introduced to this program is this 8-minute video.

 

Identifying Fractions Learning Track


List of Learning Tracks Continue to purchase

What do students learn in the Identifying Fractions Learning Track?

Identifying Fractions is a Learning Track to ensure that students have a firm and correct understanding of fractions.  This will prepare them well for all subsequent work in fractions.

Students will learn the essential rule about what the numerator and denominator mean, although they won’t be working with those terms.  They just learn through examples, practiced over and over.  The numerator, called simply the number on the top, tells how many parts are shaded.  The denominator, simply called the number on the bottom, indicates the number of parts in a whole.  If a whole is not divided into parts, it is a whole number.

Learning proper and improper fractions and mixed numbers.

Right from the beginning of Set A students will encounter improper fractions and mixed numbers. (See the illustration above).  They will see examples of every fraction first at the top of the page before they are asked to identify it on their own. You see that students see the fraction, see the words for how we say it and they see the fraction they are to write.

Unlike other Rocket Math programs, the test and the practice items are the same.  Of course, the students have a page without the answers, while their partner holds the answer key. Students practice by saying aloud to their partner the fractions shown in the test.  Then they take the test on those same items but write the answer.

 

Halves, thirds, fourths, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths, and twelfths.

 

The fractions that students become familiar with include, halves, thirds, quarters, fifths, sixths, eighths, tenths and twelfths.  They see improper fractions and mixed number with every denominator.  In the beginning with the smaller denominators students see a variety of shapes for each denominator, so they learn that the identity of a fraction only has to do with the number of parts in a whole, not the shape of the display.  You can see thirds as cubes and as circles and as rectangles in the examples to the right.

When students are eventually introduced to eighths, tenths and twelfths we don’t want to slow them down by having to laboriously count the number of parts in each figure.

  • Eighths are always displayed as two sets of four rectangles on top of each other.
  • Tenths are displayed as two columns of five blocks with little numbers in them.
  • Twelfths are always displayed as three sets of four rectangles on each other.

Students should notice these conventions so they can quickly identify the number of parts in those figures without having to count them.

Be sure to do the Identifying Fractions writing speed test.

Identifying fractions has its own writing speed test, to be sure that student goals are individualized to their writing speed.  By the time students complete Set Z in this program they will have a strong understanding of fractions and they will be fluent.  There are even 2-minute timings you can give every week or two for them to chart their progress as they get faster.  This is a great program for students of any grade from second grade on up who have finished the basics for their grade level.  It will really put them in good shape when dealing with fractions in later years.