(C) Change session length (5, 10, 15 min)
Slamming through these facts at the rate of 3 seconds apiece (or less as they go faster) is very INTENSE.
Students will do this game for a couple of hours at a time if you let them. But, here’s the problem. They will only do it for a couple of days, and then they will just wear out. They just won’t want to do it anymore. We don’t want them to lose their enthusiasm, so…….
After five minutes of play**, up comes this screen (to the right). Here is the script for what Mission Control says to the student (click to hear it):
Mission Control here. Great work, astronaut! You have finished your session. You are done for now. You have worked hard and we think you deserve a break to go do something else. You can’t do another Rocket Math session for at least an hour. Check with your teacher or parent to find out if you are eligible to have longer sessions. Logging you and Mission Control out.
[ ** If play time is less than five minutes, that is a technical glitch and should be reported on the green feedback button.]
The student should take an hour break, but must take at least a 20 minute break. If they log back in too soon they will see the battery down screen. The game will not start again until this countdown is finished. They should log out and go do something else, rather than sit and wait for the time to end.
We want students to do a little practice a couple of times a day, but spaced out over a month or two. The longer it takes for them to get through an operation, (the longer this is spaced out) the longer they will retain the information. And they need to know these facts for a lifetime! So a little bit each day is far better than sitting down for long periods of time until they are sick of it.
We purposely planned for your students to end a session anxious to play again.
Yes, they may complain that they have to stop, but that ensures that they will want to come back again later. You want them to end their sessions just dying to play more. That’s how you can get them to play and practice, time after time, day after day until they reach Level Z. That’s how we win and that’s how they win!
You can change play time to ten or 15 minutes, but should you? Only if they still LOVE it!
After years of allowing game play to last only five minutes at a time, under pressure from customers, Dr. Don allowed a change. We added a feature to allow you, the parent or teacher, to adjust student play time UP to ten or even 15 minutes. But with this freedom comes a great responsibility. You have to make sure they are still enjoying playing! If you increase the time, you have to make sure they are not getting tired of playing! [Anecdotally, some students complained on the green feedback button the first day they had to play for ten minutes!] The minute you hear a student moan or groan or complain, please move them back to 5 minutes! Seriously!! The first time anyone complains, move them back to 5 minutes. And anyone else who does it, move them too. They can learn just fine only working five minutes at a stretch! Remember, you want them to practice at home also, which they won’t do if they are getting sick of it. You want them to practice the whole time they are assigned to do it–and they won’t do that if they aren’t motivated to keep going. So you better be sure if you move them up to ten or fifteen minutes.
I recommend you watch this video on Motivating Students.
The best way to motivate students, of course, is to find ways to have them share their success. You can see, in the main rainbow navigation bar, two (2) easy-to-use tools available for you, the light blue, Color in Rocket Chart and the darker blue, Learning Track Certificates.
(1) The Color in Rocket Chart.
This chart is the same for all Learning Tracks. You or the student need to check-off the Learning Track before they begin. [Notice the implied, “Collect all 16!] Students color each segment after their complete a phase such as Take-Off, Orbit or Universe. In the game they get congratulated and the student can color in the Rocket Chart and then click the “go” button to start the next phase. Some students may not want to stop during their few minutes of play, and they can color in whatever they have passed after the whole session has ended. Students color in from the bottom as they finish the phases and finish the sets from A to Z.
Here’s an example of a student proudly displaying (for the teacher’s camera phone) an early version of completed Rocket Chart. Students are proud of it because they worked hard to fill it up and because you act like it is a big deal.
The second motivational tool right there in your navigation bar is the Learning Track certificates. We created 16 of them–a different one for each Learning Track. We have them in grayscale (if you don’t have a color printer) and in beautiful, living color.
If you aren’t keeping track of who finishes which Learning Track you can click on the “Export Learning Track Summary” function from the orange Actions button and you’ll get a list of who got to Level Z with which Learning Tracks.
Have a ceremony every couple of weeks and award these certificates to the students who earned them. Call them up, shake their hand (have the principal come in for this to make it really special), give them their certificate, and have them stand and receive any other students who earned certificates. Because all your other students know they can get to Set Z, they will be motivated to do so. Your job is to make them want to keep doing the Rocket Math game until they complete ALL the Learning Tracks.
KEEP ‘EM COMING BACK!