Friday, October 28, 2011

Weekly Class Summary: Oct. 24-28

SOLs Covered: SOL 6.18 & 7.13 Algebraic Concepts
Math Dictionary Sections: (5) Algebraic Concepts
Upcoming Assessments: Algebra, Properties, and Inequalities Quiz (rescheduled for Tues. 11/1); WWU Quiz 4 (Fri. 11/4)

The week yet again focused on our algebra unit.  Students learned how to solve equations with algebra tiles, using both their paper sets and their own drawings.  Examples for adding, subtracting, and multiplying can be seen in the presentation below.  Students seem to be struggling with solving equations without the pictures and with properly showing their work.  This seems to be due to their efforts to continue using their guess-and-check method from elementary school.  Because of this, I slowed down the pace in order to put re-emphasis the "how" of things and to give them time to copy the work alongside the pictures if they didn't earlier in the week.  Please see the new and improved notes, which includes extra examples.

Students also worked on translating from English-to-Mathish and vice versa.  This seems to be a bit of a struggle for a few students due to some of their previous math misconceptions (ex. many seem to think that a question asking "how much" always means addition, which I remind them just means you are looking for a quantity/numerical answer).  Students were reminded to study the chart added into a previous section of the Math Dictionary (3 Order of Operations).

Due to the slower pace (along with the 3-hour early release and CCPS's College Week activities), the promised inequalities Oreo/Twizzler activity has been postponed until Monday.  Many students were highly disappointed but perked right back up when they were reminded that this also pushed back the quiz.  Thank you to the many students and their families who helped make next week's activity possible by donating the supplies!  There will also be a Math Dictionary grade next week (either Tuesday or Wednesday), so students are reminded to make sure their books are in order.

In honor of CCPS's College Week, I ended each of Friday's classes with a brief discussion of my own college experiences.  I pointed out the "College Prep" links I have on my school Portaportal (virtual college tours, scholarship information, etc.) and explained how they can take advantage of some of the college opportunities (dual enrollment, AP courses, etc.) provided by CCPS before they even graduate (and at a much more affordable price!).  This directly relates to how the middle school math courses were restructured so students take Algebra I in 8th grade, which should allow them to take more higher-level courses prior to high school graduation.  It was also briefly explained how later in the school year we will complete a mini-project that will require students to research the math their future college/career goals may require of them.

Students are reminded that all missing/incomplete work is due by Monday afternoon, though I will still take extra credit JLab quizzes through the end of Wednesday.  All grades for next week will be added onto the second marking period to help reduce any difficulties that arise from absences, though students are encouraged to start the new grading period off right by staying ahead in their work, not falling behind.

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