Friday, October 12, 2012

Weekly Class Summary: Oct. 8-12

SOLs Covered: 7.1a&b & 8.1b Fractions, Decimals, Percents & Scientific Notation
Math Dictionary Sections: (8) Number Theory; (9) Fractions; (10) Decimals; (11) Decimals, Fractions, & Percents
Upcoming Assessments: Fractions, Decimals, & Percents Quiz (Fri. 10/19); FDP Mosaic Art Project (Due. 10/19)

This week started with a continuation of our work on scientific notation and expanded into working with other problems involving negative exponents (ex. x-e = 1xe).  We did a little more "old school" practice with a few more worksheets.  Please note that I've started uploading a digital copy of any graded assignment (aside from quizzes and test) to the usual places (Edline, Edmodo, and here with Google Drive), so that any student needing an extra copy (i.e. lost or messed up the original, absent and want to stay caught up with the class, or wanting extra practice later in the year) can have access to them from any place with an Internet connection.  Again, I'm using my latest favorite app, CamScanner, which the students can also use to send their work to me (free on the iTunes Store and Google Play).  We also reviewed with two of the challenges from, one for large numbers and the other for small values, before taking the quiz on Wednesday.

After the quiz, we started in with an old, familiar topic that makes many students (and adults!) cringe:  fractions, decimals, and percents.  Anytime fractions are involved, most people try to run for the hills!  I feel that part of the issue is the fact that people are not as familiar with some of the math basics (basic computation and number sense) in part due to how the world is becoming more and more dependent on technology doing the work for us.  To help students become more comfortable with the basics, I'm encouraging them to continue using the sites I've given them accounts for and, if possible, to set up accounts on, adding me as one of their coaches.  Anyone can be a "coach" to students using KhanAcademy (parents, grandparents, aunts/uncles, older siblings, neighbors, mentors, etc) simply by setting up their own account, giving the students their "coach id" (mine is my school email address, which can be found in the student handbook but I won't post here in hopes of avoiding any extra junk mail), which they will then add through their profile.  The catch to this is that I can't set the students up with their own accounts and they need a valid email address to create their own, so any student/parent looking to take advantage of this awesome resource should check out the site and/or contact me if they need any help setting things up.  Students will be rewarded with Lambie Points for using the site, but I can only do this if I have access to their usage reports as a coach.

Flower Power from MangaHigh
We'll be continuing our work with fractions, decimals (which includes numbers converted to/from scientific notation), and percents next week.  Another project has been assigned to help boost grades in the test category.  We ran out of time in blocks 5/6 and 7/8, so I haven't been able to pass the papers out in those classes (so sorry!), but the file has been uploaded to the usual places.  I'd also like to encourage parents and students to check the updated grades on Edline.  Several copies of paper grade reports have been sent home (last week for all students at mid-term and again yesterday for any student currently with a grade below a C).  There are still quite a few students with missing assignments that can still be turned in for at least partial credit (full credit can be earned for anything using the class points).  I'd really like to see everyone pull their grades up before it's too late.  I'm in the process of making phone calls, but my time for calls is limited at school and I don't have a home landline, so it's taking a bit of time to reach everyone.  Thank you to all the parents who have signed the reports and encouraged/helped their students get work in this week!  Students needing a little extra help outside of regular class time should talk with me to make arrangments to come in before or after school (by appointment only to ensure it works with my schedule), during ASE/SOAR, or possibly during lunch or the elective block (if the other teacher says it's alright).

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