Each weekly Headliner essay is written to the RPDS community by our Headmaster, H. Palmer Bell. Topics important within the life of the school, education, contemporary parenting, culture and spiritual formation are common themes. Click the underlined article title to read each week's full Headliner. The "get link" is provided to allow a quick way for you to share a direct connection to the essay with friends and family. Mr. Bell welcomes your comments as you meet him on campus or through e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
At RPDS, Kindergarten-6th Grade math is formally taught following the Singapore Math methodology. This methodology teaches the conceptual understanding of number through concrete and pictorial processes. Knowing math facts automatically is a foundational component of the Singapore Math curriculum. When students know math facts in an automatic way their working memory is free for the deeper conceptual learning of their Singapore Math lessons. When students do not know their math facts automatically they get “stuck” on the calculation. The learning of the concepts and higher order math skills is inhibited because the student is still thinking about the calculation. This same student may be slowed down in the processes of math problems, make frequent errors that appear to be careless mistakes, struggle with mental math calculations and most importantly lack math confidence. Confident math students know their math facts with automaticity. Knowing math facts quickly, without errors and without much conscious attention is referred to as automaticity.
At RPDS, students in 1-3 Grades learn and practice math facts through a supplemental program called Rocket Math. This systematic approach to memorizing math facts provides students with frequent short practice sessions at school and home. Students work to become faster and faster as they make steady progress towards automaticity of math facts. Rocket Math is a supplemental program and is in addition to our students’ daily 45-60 minute Singapore Math lessons. Daily Singapore Math lessons teach math concepts and problem solving not math facts directly therefore; to ensure students know their math facts with automaticity we strongly suggest daily home math fact practice.
Automatic Math Fact Goals
End of Grade 1 Sums and Differences to 20
End of Grade 2 Sums and Differences to 20 and Multiplication to 5’s
End of Grade 3 Sums and Differences to 20 and Multiplication and Division to 20
Here are a few iPad apps recommended by Debbie Rogers, our Director of Instructional Design, which you may want to try at home to help your child become automatic with math facts:
Mathtappers apps: find sums, multiples, estimate fractions
McGraw-Hill: top it, baseball, beat the computer, trick-track divisibility dash (game like)
Marcel Widarto: adding apples HD, multiplying acorns HD, subtracting sardines HD
SDE: Number bonds: addition and subtraction to 99, multiplication and division number bonds
For "timed test" practice: Formsoft Group, Ltd : timed test