The Rocket Math Online Game app is a demonstrably effective intervention–meaning if students engage and participate, they will learn and improve achievement. However, assigning an effective intervention will improve achievement only if students are engaged and participate in the intervention. The key is by motivating students to reach higher goals.
In today’s world, many students do not habitually give you their best effort. When you praise and recognize only excellent outcomes, many students are not motivated. They doubt their own abilities and think they are out of the running for achievement awards. Motivating students, ALL students, including low performers to participate is essential. But how to motivate students to learn math? You need to begin by praising and recognizing participation and effort instead of success. A good intervention helps you do that.
Motivating Students by Praises and Recognizing Effort Instead of Achievement
Instead of reporting and recognizing on benchmarks of academic achievement, why not report on benchmarks of effort? The Rocket Math Online Game, gives you data on effort and participation. The Review Progress screen (see above) shows each time students login and start and complete a session. Sessions can be set at five, ten, or fifteen minutes in length. A mini calendar shows the number of sessions per day. As shown in this screenshot, the first student started 3 sessions and completed 1 session on the previous Friday. The student below neither started nor completed a session on Friday because the “F” for Friday is still showing. We highlighted Wednesday for the third student. It shows 3 sessions started. The “W” for Wednesday still shows in the completed calendar, meaning no sessions were completed.
Who is working the hardest? The “Total” column shows the number of sessions over the last two weeks. This is even more discriminative than the mini-calendar. Click at the top of the column to sort it to see who is logging in the most sessions. The first student shows 19 sessions started and 11 completed (all the way to the end of the session). The second student started 12 sessions, but completed only two. The third student also started 19 sessions, but completed, to the end of the session, 5 times. This total data tells us the level of effort students have been putting forth to learn their math facts. If you monitor this number and recognize students putting forth good effort, you’ll get more students participating.
What is a Good Effort and Participation?
You should expect, at a minimum. for students to usually complete a session four days a week at school. Eight to 11 sessions in the last two weeks indicates a good “C” effort. A good “B” effort would be completing 12 to 15 sessions in two weeks. That many sessions translate into a session every school day and more than one session a day, half the time. Any student with 16 or more sessions in the last two weeks is putting forth a great “A” effort. Be sure to praise and recognize them and hold them up as an example, no matter what they have accomplished.
Motivating Students with the Award Certificates to Recognize & Reward Effort
The Rocket Math Online Game has Award Certificates, available to print out. You can find these right from your dashboard. “Award Certificates” are on the blue tab on the left-hand “rainbow” navigation.
Give out some Award Certificates once every two to four weeks. Give them to the students who are putting forth the most effort in your class. For it to be effective, you have to make it kind of a big deal to get one of these. Sign the awards and then give them out in a little ceremony.
To have a successful ceremony, we recommend these steps:
- Having two adults to award the certificates
- Calling each student up to the room individually
- Handing them the certificate and shake their hand
- Having the awarded student stand in a line at the front
- Calling the next student and repeated the first three steps, but adding that they shake hands with their fellow classmates before joining the line beside them
Motivation is most effective for students who don’t get it!
When you reward students for their effort, students who are watching, realize they can do it. They know they can get an award if they try. The benefit of the motivation is for the ones sitting in their seats watching. If you reward everyone, the ceremony will have no effect. The students watching the ceremony will feel motivated to win the next one. Rocket Math can guarantee you’ll get improved fluency because it is an effective intervention.
Note, you are not rewarding achievement. You aren’t measuring them on how fast they are. You are noting that they did accomplish the goal of finishing the Learning Track. Rocket Math guarantees they will have improved their fluency. The Learning Track certificates are also available on the Award Certificates tab in the main rainbow navigation bar. The same ceremony you’ve been using for the general awards can include awards for completing Learning Tracks.
We also have sets of these Award certificates on card stock and glossy print available on our supplements store site.
After Effort Improves Accomplishment, Begin Rewarding Accomplishment also
Soon after starting regular awards ceremonies for effort, you’ll see students beginning to complete Learning Tracks. As they work through a Learning Track they develop fluency with the math facts in that Learning Track. So you can start awarding Learning Track certificates for the accomplishment of completing a Learning Track.
This is a powerful process. Rewarding effort first, then rewarding accomplishment, leads to learning. Once you see how well this process works, you can apply this elsewhere. It works in any area of your curriculum where effort will pay off in improved accomplishments. Motivating students only works if they believe they can succeed. That is why it is so important to begin by recognizing “effort,” something that everyone can do.
Rocket Math Knows How to Motivate Students to Excel in Math
Rocket Math Online Game and Worksheet programs will help students reach each grade level math benchmark while motivating students to reach higher goals with the award certificates. Systematically teaching students to develop math fact fluency will pay off. Students will not only succeed at but learn to enjoy math.