Thursday, September 6, 2018

Welcome to the 2018-2019 School Year


You'll find weekly updates about middle school math classes here.
For information about 7/8 Homeroom and Projects look at the 7/8 blog I share with Rachel.

General Overview:

Class Times and Groups:
As in past years, I will be working directly with all of the 7-8 students in math. However, this year, our classes will also include some fifth and sixth grade students who are working on the same material. Every student will have math class for 50 minutes each morning. The students are split up based on on there progress in the pre-algebra/algebra/geometry sequence, with all the students working on pre-algebra content on one group and the remaining students in the other group.   

Textbooks and Content:
We will be continuing to use the same books we’ve been using for the last several years, McDougall-Littell’s Pre-Algebra, Algebra: Concepts and Skills, and Jurgensen Geometry.

This year, I am asking that students work on their core (textbook) math at home at least three times per week. This is a guideline, not a strict requirement, and the exact amount will vary depending on prior familiarity/comfort of the individual with the specific content and the amount of math content that is part of the current project.

A document called “<Algebra/Pre-algebra/Geometry> Suggested Assignments” will be shared with students and parents. This document has the book/Khan Academy assignments broken down into discrete chunks roughly corresponding to one section in the text. The exact problems to be completed are suggestions; if a topic is truly review, or if something is especially difficult, a student may end up glossing over some of the problems, or choosing/being asked to complete more of a specific type.

Checking the Answers and Homework Feedback:
I will not be collecting and correcting book assignments. Students will have an opportunity to ask for assistance about specific concepts or problems during whole group or one-on-one sessions. The majority of the suggested problems have answers in the back of the textbook and students are expected to make an attempt and check their own answers before deciding to move on from a topic or asking for help. Students should endeavor to complete three to five sections (a row in the assignments document) per week, expecting to do one to two in school and two or three at home.

Assessments: (Quizzes, Tests, and Other)
The goal is always comprehension of concepts and mastery of skills. To that end, assessments are not solely summative checklists, but also used throughout the course of study to refine and direct the next steps in the learning process.

End of Unit:
At the end of each unit (usually one chapter in the text), students will complete a formal assessment (test). These end of unit assessments are untimed and may be worked on outside of school. These are meant to identify any areas that need further instruction before moving on to new content. Frequently, after completing an assessment, a student will be asked to review a specific topic in greater depth using any of a variety of handouts, online programs, or direct conversation/instruction from me. The goal, again, is always comprehension of concepts and mastery of skills.

Snapshot/”Pop” Quiz:
Every so often students will be asked to complete a short, timed assessment during class. These assessments are meant as a snapshot of current progress/status and as an opportunity for students to gain familiarity working on traditional assessments in a relatively low stakes setting (with an eye toward high school preparedness).

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