Back to Basics Education

In education, you hear a lot about the need for schools to go back to basics. This argument generally states that the standards taught to children and the specific curricula used to get there are too broad, forcing teachers to provide a shallow overview of vast amounts of material instead of giving students a deeper look at a more limited array of topics. In my own opinion, there is some truth to this argument, and two “back to basics” areas in particular get short shrift: proper spelling and basic math fact practice.

In response, I’ve worked over the past five years to create two websites that can fill this void.

With regard to spelling, I recommend that newly-released Rocket Spelling. This website “gamifies” spelling for students while providing teachers with real-time information about their students’ spelling progress. It includes 1,200 of the most critical, high-frequency words in the English language, and it scaffolds student learning with review levels to ensure mastery. Rocket Spelling allows teachers to easily differentiate for students of various abilities. Classroom subscriptions to Rocket Spelling are available for free for the entire 2017-2018 school year (!!) if you use coupon code ‘rocketlaunch’ and sign up before the end of September.

Rocket Spelling map

For the math facts, I recommend TheMathFacts.com. This website gamifies the basic math facts and replaces the traditional paper/pencil timed test. Just like with Rocket Spelling, TheMathFacts.com helps with differentiation, as it provides 25 different timed tests of varying difficulties and time limits to meet the needs of all students. It includes addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division up through the twelves, and it even concludes with some mixed operation levels as a final, challenging review. It provides real-time feedback for teachers just as Rocket Spelling does.

The Math Facts

Rocket Spelling and TheMathFacts.com are both designed to help elementary teachers teach the all-important basics in a fun, effective, and efficient way — engaging for students, and providing immediate data for teachers to be able to differentiate and plan targeted instruction. Try them out today!

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