What do I do about the students who are very fast writers?
Please note: There is a special exception for students who are such fast writers that they have goals OVER 40 in a minute. On the bottom of the Goal Sheet, please notice the exception for fast writers. Students who have goals over 40 should try to meet those goals, but only for up to six days. As long as they are answering over 40 problems per minute without errors, they should be passed after six days. It is nice for those who can write faster to have higher goals, but we don’t want it to slow them down too much.
What do I do about the students who are very slow writers?
Students who copied fewer than 18 boxes in the Writing Speed Test may not have understood the task and should be re-tested and more closely monitored. If, in fact, they are not capable of writing any quicker they need to learn how to write numerals faster before they begin this Rocket Math®. Students who write this slowly (fewer than 18 boxes in one minute) may not be able to complete enough problems in the time allowed to benefit from the practice; nor will they be able to really demonstrate fluency in memorizing the facts. These students should be placed in Rocket Writing for Numerals to structure their practice in writing the numerals 0-9 until they are fluent. This program uses the same daily routine of practice as the Rocket Math® program, where students practice for a few minutes and then take a timed test. Later, you can retest them on the Writing Speed Test and place them into Rocket Math®.
Do their goals ever go up as they get faster at writing numerals?
Yes. The number you circled is the starting point. As children write faster and do more on a “One-Minute Daily Test,” you will want to adjust their goal upward gradually. Cross out their old goal and raise their goal to midway between (the average of) their old goal and their new performance. If they only go up one number, don’t change them.
For example: Think of a child, Joe, who has a goal of 28. One day Joe writes the answers to 30 problems in one minute. Now we know Joe can write faster than 28 and so his goal goes up to 29 (the average between 28 and what he just did 30). Joe passes today, and tomorrow he has to do a little better, write the answers to 29 problems, to pass the next sheet. Get it? If you don’t, read this paragraph again. It really does make sense.
Each time students demonstrate the ability to write the answers to two more facts in one minute, their goal goes up accordingly. This can be very motivating for students. Celebrate with students as they improve.
However, you can postpone raising the goals if you have reason to believe that the student will not be able to write that fast again. Keep an eye on that student and raise their goals to match their writing speed when they are ready. Raising the goals is important to do eventually—so that children should not pass sets of facts on which they are hesitant. If a child has low goals, but actually can write much faster, then the child could be hesitant on some of the facts and still meet their goals. This results in students back where you started—not automatic. Children who pass several sets of facts in which they are hesitant, will reach a point where the number of facts on which they are hesitant are too many to learn. Then they become stuck and can’t and won’t progress up the Rocket Chart. Then, guess who’s crying? Yep…the teacher…No, we’re kidding. Students don’t like to “hit the wall.” It is great that they want to succeed. Just be sure that you are monitoring the goals. Make sure they are as high as they should be at all times and you will prevent the aforementioned wall hitting situation.
Please note: Don’t forget the exception on the Goal Sheet for students with goals over 40. Students who have goals over 40 should try to meet those goals, but only for up to six days. As long as they are over 40 without errors, they should be passed after six days.