Friday, May 26, 2006

School's Out for Summer!

What a crazy day! There were computer difficulties with the report cards...At one point everyone in three of my classes was given a zero for a semester exam that I did not give. That really messed up some averages! I re-entered all of the grades that were affected. I hope they are right! If your grade is not what I told you it would be, please send me an email. Tell me what your report card says, and I can go up to the school and check on it for you. I think some grades might have ended up a point or two higher than I said they would be. I hope you don't mind if that happends to you because I am not going to change those! (Ha! Ha!)

We had to take a closer look at the criteria for advancing to Algebra I. A few months ago we were told to send everyone in Pre-Algebra on to Algebra I. Last week we heard that they must have an 88 average for the year to be recommended for Algebra I. I was wrapped up in dealing with students who might fail this year and really didn't take time to think about it until yesterday. The requirement of having an 88 would keep many students from advancing to Algebra I that I think are capable of handling an advanced math class. The seventh and eighth grade math teachers decided that an average of 80 for the year would be acceptable. This still leaves a few students below the cut-off. I have recommended those for Pre-Algebra again to strengthen their basic skills before moving on to Algebra I. Many students who take Algebra I in the 8th grade end up repeating it in 9th grade for the same reason.

If you (or your child) took Pre-Algebra this year and made less than an 80 for the year, you will be receiving a letter in your report card explaining this in further detail. Here is a recap of the recommendation criteria:
  • Yearly average = 90 or higher (A) -----------> Algebra I
  • Yearly average = 80-89 (B) -----------> Algebra I
  • Yearly average = 79 or lower (C-F)-----------> Pre-Algebra
Any parent not agreeing with the recommendation for their child is welcome to fill out a waiver form in the office. The only catch is this...If a parent chooses to place a child in a class not recommend by the teacher, the student must remain in that class until the end of the semester no matter what their grades are.

Eighth graders have the opportunity to take several advanced classes next year. A full load of advanced classes would be too much for some students to handle. Please consider carefully your child's strength, weaknesses, and interests before determining which option is best for them. The work load is exceptionally tough, and you do not need to get behind!

By the way, all 7th grade math students automatically advance to Pre-Algebra (unless they fail the year).

I hope there are no glaring typo's in this post. I am having trouble staying awake! It was great to see so many of you at the Daikin Festival tonight; but I am tired, and I need to go to sleep. Have a great summer!

One more thing....(Look, Michael, I figured out how to change colors! For some reason my tool bar was not showing this option. I don't know why I have it now.) Would anyone be interested in an online review this summer to keep your skills fresh? I would be willing to find some things to help you if anyone would like to do this. I would try to make it fun (you know I sometimes miss on that one) and informative. You don't even have to be a current student of mine to do this. What do you say? Is anyone interested? Leave me a comment if you want to try this!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Two More Days!

Things at school are rapidly winding down. I am frantically trying to grade the last few makeup tests and average grades. I began taking up textbooks and giving out averages today. I will finish doing this tomorrow. Lost math books cost $52.47, and lost pre-algebra books cost $57.48. You can send check (payable to CRMS) or cash if your book has been lost.

I know that your students are concentrating on preparing for their Language Arts and Social Studies exams. I wish them the best!

Have a great summer!

Friday, May 19, 2006

One more week...

I am not really ready for this school year to end, but I am ready for a break! I have enjoyed this group of students so much. I will miss you all next year!

I gave out current averages today. I will be giving a test Monday that will allow students to drop a grade. Their grade today is as low as it can get. If they score higher than their lowest test grade on Monday, then their grade will increase. They should know if they really need to study or not. The math test will be over converting measurements, and the pre-algebra test will be over surface area and volume.

Today's assignments:
1st Period: None
2nd Period: None
3rd Period: p. 576, #10-14 even, p. 581, #11-15 all
4th Period: p. 576, #10-14 even, p. 581, #11-15 all
5th Period: p. 48, #48-52, p. 280, #54-59

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Awards Day

Congratulations to all of the students who received awards this morning. You are to be congratulated for your hard work. I am proud to know you!

1st Period did not meet because of awards day.
2nd Period only met for half a period.
5th Period has to do p. 571, Lesson 3.6, #1-28 for homework. When you multiply two integers, if the signs are the same, the answer is positive. If the signs are different, the answer is negative.

Pre-Algebra: We found the volume of pyramids and cones today. The formula is "one-third area of the base times the height." Homework is pp. 571-572, #10-22 even, 27, 28, 32-34.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Six More Days

Everything is winding down. I am frantically trying to get kids to make up tests. I believe that I am more worried about it than they are. That doesn't really make sense to me, but that's the way it is with 7th graders! Students worked in class today, and they may not have work to bring home.

Math: We worked out of the Data Around Us book to find out how much is a million. Students calculated how long it would take their heart to beat 1,000,000 times and how old in years would someone be if they were 1,000,000 hours old. This gave them practice in converting measurements. They cannot bring these books home, so there was no homework.

Pre-Algebra: We looked at volume of prisms and cylinders today. The formula is "area of the base times height." The assignment is pp. 566-567, #12-22 even, 31-36. They were given time in class to work on this, and several were able to finish in class.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I took a professional day this afternoon to help some teachers at Chestnut Grove with a technology presentation. I don't know if I have mentioned on here that I am a Fellow for the 21st Century Learning Project sponsored by the Alabama Best Practices Center. Cedar Ridge and Chestnut Grove are two of twenty schools in the state that were selected to participate in this exciting program.

Math: Worksheet on converting measurements between the metric and customary systems. 5th Period also had the opportunity to do p. 579, Lesson 6-7, #1-24.

Pre-Algebra: Test over chapters 9 and 10. There was an extra credit assignment on pp. 559-561, #1, 3-7, 9-17, 19, 20, 22-25, 42, 44.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Monday Madness!

It's the next-to-last Monday of school! It is so hard for me to believe this year is about to end. The students are becoming a little restless and talkative. We are not finished learning, and summer vacation has not started!

Math: We are working on converting measurements within the Metric System. Tonight's assignment is p. 566, Lesson 1-8, #1-30.

Pre-Algebra: Test tomorrow over sections 9.1, 9.2, 9.5, 9.7, 10.1, and 10.8. For extra credit, students can do pp. 483-484, #10-18 even, 25-27, 34, 35, and p. 544 #6-14 even, 31-33.The following topics will be covered: squares and square roots, the real number system (scroll down to Munchers on this link), the Pythagorean Theorem, similar triangles, line and angle relationships, and area of irregular figures. Click on the links to find resources that will help you study.

Friday, May 12, 2006

It's the next-to-last Friday!

Math: Transformations Test
p. 40, #11-30

Pre-Algebra: pp. 496-497, #10-26 even, 35, 36, 44-50
Special angle pairs are also taught in aviation.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

More Geometry

Math: Test tomorrow over transformations. Check these links for games about translations, reflections, and rotations.

1st Period had homework on p. 269, #12-34 even, 35-44

Pre-Algebra: We looked at areas of irregular shapes today. Homework assignment is pp. 542-543, #7-15, 19, 20, 26-30. Try this link to check your work. This skill is useful for people who sell carpet, lay sod, build ponds, and work with forestry. Here is an online quiz you might find helpful.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Symmetry and Similarity

Math: We looked at symmetry and reflections today. Here is the website I was telling you about that reflected half of a face. Another interesting website features the art work of Scott Kim, who make "Inversions." Homework for tonight is from the Practice Skills Workbook, pages 77 and 78.

Pre-Algebra: We found missing parts of similar figures today. Click here for some resources to help you. Assignment is pp. 474-475, #8-18 even, 21, 22, 26, 27

Monday, May 08, 2006

Geometry Fun

We are doing some geometry this week in both classes. I love geometry! It is the reason I became a math teacher!

Math: We will look at transformations this week. We began by looking at translations today. Tonight's assignment is pp. 453-454, #6-12, 15, 16, 19-21, 23-26

Pre-Algebra: The Pythaogorean Theorem is such a useful thing! I pp. 463-464, #10-34 even, 39-42, 44-52 even

Thursday, May 04, 2006

I'm so glad it didn't snow this winter!

I am looking forward to our long weekend. I am going to be grading papers and cleaning my house. It's not very exciting, but it's great to have time to do it!

I am making a slight change in my homework policy. Many students are procrastinating about getting their homework done, and I am spending LOTS of time telling students what work they are missing. And then I am spending LOTS more time grading late work. This hurts the students as well because they are not doing the work in a timely manner. There are also many students who never make the work up because they procrastinate too long. I gave everyone who was present today the work they are missing. Monday is the last day to turn this in, and from this point forward I will NOT take any late work unless I have a note from a parent. This has been my policy for years. I tried something different this year, and it didn't work like I hoped it would.

Math: Test today over Equations
Extra Credit: p. 195, #1-20

Pre-Algebra: p. 445, #14-56 even

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Extra Credit Opportunity! Who was Pythagoras?

Math: p. 573, Lesson 4.4, #1-27
Test tomorrow over patterns and solving equations.

Pre-Algebra: Test today over Chapter 8
pp. 439-440, #12-34 even

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Upcoming tests

Math: Today we went over the computer lab activity and then had a worksheet to do in class on patterns. The assignment for tonight is p. 187, #19-36. We will review on two-step equations tomorrow and have a test on patterns and equations Thursday.

I found some websites that give you practice figuring out patterns.

Spy Guys Interactive - Summarizing/Extending Patterns - Click Skip Intro, then select Lessons, and then click on Lesson 8 (Although it says it's grade 6 stuff, we do it in grade 7 too.)

Mystery Operations - In this activity the computer makes up a mystery operation, and you have to figure out what the operation is. You give the computer two numbers to calculate, and it tells you the answer.

Number Cracker - Help Mr. Cracker obtain the secret code before the insidious Prof. Soup catches him by guessing what number comes next in a series of numbers. Start with the easy level and work your way up. The Super Brain level is really hard!

I want to thank Mr. K and Ellie for these sites!

Students had the opportunity to correct or finish the percents test from last week in class today. There are still a few students working on these.

Pre-Algebra: We reviewed sections 4,6,7, and 8 in Chapter 8 for tomorrow's test. There are still some students confused about slope and y-intercept. I have found some internet sites that might be helpful. Let me know what you think! has a great lesson on slope and y-intercept that gives a first glance, in-depth, examples, and workout. There is also a lesson on graphing equations.

Here is a program that will help you visualize how changing the values for the slope, m, and the y-intercept, b, will affect the graph of the equation y = mx + b. At first the program will be automatically cycling through several values for m and b. If you want to use the sliders to control it yourself, just press the 'You Control' button.

This is a neat program that also allows you to explore slope and y-intercept. You can play for free for 5 minutes. You can also sign up for a free 30 day trial.

I found a mneumonic I had never seen for y = mx + b at this site. Extra credit for anyone who tells it to me!

The Math Forum has put together a cute explanation using Joan the Chameleon. It looks elementary, but it explains the concept very clearly.

The last one is an interactive tutorial for slope and y-intercept. Have fun!

Monday, May 01, 2006

I'm on a Roll!

Can you believe that it is the last month of school? I am slowly catching up with grading. I have graded all but one class, and I will get it done tonight! I am also up-to-date with putting grades in the computer in 3 classes, and I plan to be caught up with those by the end of the day tomorrow. I have even managed to blog several days in a row, so things are looking up! Here's what we did today:

Math: I notified students of all work missing since progress reports. They were given the page and problem numbers, and I will accept it through the end of this week. There was one set of worksheets (Wump Hats) that some may need to get from me.

The Stretching and Shrinking test turned out to be better than I expected! The percents test wasn't too bad, but there were some people that were really confused about interest. I am going to give them another chance to answer those test questions tomorrow because I was out the day they took the test. I will go over how to work the problems at the beginning of class tomorrow.

We are working on patterns and solving equations this week. We went to the computer lab today and practiced recognizing patterns on graphs. We did not have any homework tonight.

Pre-Algebra: We are finishing up Chapter 8 this week. We worked on Line of Best Fit Today. The assignment is pp. 411-413, #7-17, 20-28. There will be a test over 8.4, 8.6, 8.7, and 8.8 on Wednesday.

Here is some helpful information about finding the line of best fit:

Lesson with illustrations on Line of Best Fit.

Online simulation using a Gizmo.

This Linear Regression Applet sounds confusing, but it is really neat. You can place up to 50 points on the graph by clicking the mouse. Then you can drag the white rectangle in the middle of the screen to move the red line of best fit. The thermometer will show how much error is in your line. When you are done, click on "Show Best Fit" to see how close you were.

This activity from Illuminations allows the user to enter a set of data, plot the data on a coordinate grid, and determine the equation for a line of best fit. This would be a great way to check some of your homework questions!

Let me know if you found any of these to be helpful!