We have spent some time learning how to use our Rocket Math folders. It is great to see students working together cooperatively and learning their math facts at the same time! You can read more about Rocket Math on their website here.
I just came across this video and it seemed to be so fitting that I wanted to share. Every day we try to instill the belief that we are all capable of learning and changing. Even if we don't learn in the same way or speed as some one else does not mean that it is not happening. One step, one skill, one moment at a time, we are all capable of becoming the person we imagine ourselves to be. Enjoy and marvel at our greatest treasure - our brains! I plan to share this with the class tomorrow.
As we begin working with larger and more complex numbers, challenges with basic facts begin to show. Students can work the problems using their fingers, TouchMath strategies or a calculator but that slows them down a lot.
Just as our reading fluency practice has increased students abilities to read quickly and smoothly, math fact fluency practice will increase students' ability to recall basic facts. A fact is mastered when it can be answered instantly, without any pause.
We will be using a program called Rocket Math. It will take only a few minutes each day of class time, but students will keep working until they have mastered all the facts.
You can help your child progress and learn faster by practicing at home. Any day your child does not pass a set of facts, he/she will bring that day's practice sheet home in their homework log. It will help a great deal if you practice with your child for five minutes with that sheet. I will include the instructions for practice in the homework log as well. Be sure to read them over. Your child will be able to explain the procedure to you because it is the same that we practice in class.
If your child passed that day's timing they will not have a practice sheet. Instead they can go to Speedy Math and practice online.
As always - your help at home pays off at school and in the future!
Direct Instruction Raises the Bar: Learn more in less time
Imagine a great learning environment. Children are taught at exactly the right level for their abilities. They have a chance to respond to the teacher's questions not once, not twice, not even ten times during a lesson. In fact, they answer ten questions per minute! Their teacher immediately corrects a wrong answer and gives them a chance to try again. Hard work, paying attention and correct answers earn recognition, praise and Palmeropoly spins.
This is the world of Direct Instruction. Learners of all abilities become confident, capable
students through explicit, intensive skill instruction. Students are placed with peers at similar levels with frequent assessment and regrouping so that no one is held back or unnecessarily struggling. Basic skills are emphasized at the beginning. Small steps and review quickly lead to mastery of the material. "When you give students a stronger foundation in learning skills and comprehension, you prepare them for a future without boundaries." (SRA, 2008)
DI presentation techniques for deliverying instruction means active student participation. This equals 100% of the students engaged in learning 100% of the time. There is no 50% pass rate in
Direct Instruction. Mastery for our students is 85% or higher.
Evidence Based Learning
Study after study has shown that Direct Instruction is a highly effective way to teach academic
skills to children. In fact, Project Follow Through, the largest educational research project ever done showed that Direct Instruction was THE BEST METHOD (see DI page).
Learning the Easy Way
Every Direct Instruction program provides students with support, practice and success. The tested teaching method of "I do, we do, you do" is followed. Curriculum, presentation and responding is consistent from math to spelling to reading. This means that students can focus on learning rather than trying to guess what is coming next. Language is clear and concise. The teacher models skills and steps to ensure understanding and guided practice firms the learning.
Quality teaching is ensured through scripted presentations. Examples are presented quickly with standardized wording. Corrections are efficient and consistent. Learning time is maximized through teacher preparation and quick pacing which increases the content covered and decreases
behaviour problems. Teacher signals are used to coordinate group responses and provide visual or auditory cues to prepare students. Students with the greatest needs are taught in the smallest groups.
No Guess Work Involved
Groups are formed after a placement test is administered. Unlike Goldilocks, we don't have to keep trying to find a "just right" group. We know from the start. Groups are not static either because students learn at different speeds.
Students don't have to guess whether they have answered correctly. When they are right, they hear "Well done!", "Right on!", "You've got it!". Motivation is kept high and corrections are made without judgement.
More Than One "Teacher"
Our Educational Assistants are skilled practitioners and equal partners in the teaching process. Actually, the students are excellent leaders as well and the best reward for a job well done is to be put in charge of an exercise. They love the responsibility and we enjoy the opportunity to become students. It's really hard work. In fact on Friday, Alexia and Jordan independently finished an entire lesson in Spelling after I was called away. They took turns being teacher and student, cooperated with each other and were completely successful.
Visit the Direct Instruction page to review the programs we are using and links to research and more information. Even better, stop by the class sometime to see us in action!
Here's a small taste. Nick and Nicholas really wanted to demonstrate their abilities for the class. They were so proud of mastering a very difficult concept (identifying verbs in sentence formation). Their concentration is apparent!