Rocket Writing for Numerals prepares students to write numerals efficiently, quickly and legibly. There are 72 pages of practice divided into four chapters which gradually increase in difficulty. (The red “Chapter 1, Chapter 2” etc don’t show in the actual program!)
This is a program to ensure that students have a firm and correct understanding of fractions. This will prepare them well for all subsequent work in fractions. They 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 number on the top tells how many parts are shaded. 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.
Right from the beginning of Set A students will encounter improper fractions and mixed numbers. 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.
These are the rest of the Addition facts that the Common Core suggests that students be able to compute mentally such as 11 + 7, 4 + 13, and 16 + 3. These obviously build on the basic single digit facts such as 1 + 7, 4 + 3, and 6 + 3. Students should find these fairly easy to master but they still need some practice to commit them to memory. LOOK OUT! Because all the answers are two digits, the number of problems students can be expected to answer will go down! You must give the special Add to 20 Writing Speed Test to set new lower goals for your students. To the left you can see the sequence of facts that will be learned in the Add to 20 program. Otherwise the program is exactly the same as the basic Addition Rocket Math program and uses the same forms–that can be found in the forms and information drawer.
Dictating Sentences is spelling with a twist. Instead of spelling one word at a time, in Dictating Sentences (now part of the Universal Level Rocket Math Worksheet Program) 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.
Daily practice develops 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. So Dictating Sentences gives each member of the pair ten minutes a day of practice writing sentences composed of words they know how to spell.
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 automaticy. 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 by 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 amount 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.
A fact family includes both addition and subtraction facts. You can see to the left the 25 examples of fact families taught in this program starting with Set A; 3+1, 1+3, 4-1 & 4-3. The sheet shows the sequence of learning facts in the new Rocket Math program Fact Families 1s-10s (+, -). Each set that students learn from A to Y adds just one fact family to be learned, so it isn’t too hard to remember. (That’s the Rocket Math secret ingredient!)
Learning math facts in families, is gaining in popularity these days. Logic suggests that this would be an easier way to learn. However, the research is not definitive that this is easier or a faster way to learn facts than separating the operations and learning all addition facts first and then learning all subtraction facts. But learning in fact families is a viable option, and I wanted to have it available for Rocket Math customers.
Best fit for first grade. I separated out the 1s through 10s facts from the 11s-18s, because these 25 families are just enough for one Rocket Math program. It is a good and sufficient accomplishment for first grade. I have heard that some first grades prefer to keep the numbers small but to learn both addition and subtraction–so this program accomplishes that.
I added Fact Families 1s-10s (+, -) to the Universal subscription in April of 2017 bringing the total number of programs in the Universal subscription to 14 (the basic four operations and ten more!). By the fall of the 2017 school year I should have the rest of the Fact Familes in addition and subtraction available. The rest of the addition and subtraction fact families, which students could learn in 2nd grade, would be the Fact Families 11s-18s (+, -). As always, new programs are added to the Universal subscription without additional cost as soon as they are available.
I most sincerely want students to be successful and to enjoy (as much as possible) the necessary chore of learning math facts to automaticity. Please give me feedback when you use this new program, Fact Families 1s-10s (+, -), as to how it goes for the students.
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