Part of the Universal Subscription Plan
Skip counting is the best way for students to prepare for multiplication. Students practice with a partner who has the answers. Because of the way the rockets go around the page, students and their checkers will have to pick up the pages and turn them as they are working. You’ll be able to see if they are really engaged and they will have fun turning the page around. Students learn part of each sequence on a page, then the next page they learn the rest. For example: in Set O students learn to count by 3s to 12, then in Set P they learn to count by 3s to 21, and then in Set Q they learn to count by 3s to 30. The test in the center has them write the count-by series they have learned for one-minute and they need to meet or beat their best–just like the rest of Rocket Math. Here is the sequence students will learn in this order: 2s, 5s, 10s, 9s, 4s, 25s (so they can count quarters), 3s, 8s, 7s, and 6s. Probably our most fun product.
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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.
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.
Note that the number for each skill gives the grade level as well as indicating the teaching sequence. Skill 3b is a 3^{rd} 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 (4^{th} 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.
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.
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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!)
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