Thank you for coming I have had this spring meeting for a number of years, but this is my first one here at the Academy. It has been my experience that this preview is good insurance that we are all “on the same page.” Allow me to go over what I think are the key items, and then we’ll have a short Q & A session. NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Who is this guy?
Fair question – the photo is pretty scary In FBISD 20 years Been teaching algebra to middle-schoolers for 15 or more years Have been a department chair Come to QVA from Sartartia Math coach NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – What is my philosophy?
Everyday the kids see the shirts and the college names – I have close to 100 different schools and the names rotate throughout the year The students don’t know it, but this becomes ingrained in them Many of my shirts come from ex-students who send me a shirt from their college – and some from parents who think their school deserves “face time” on the wall. The banners have a more immediate message – they are about what class is about on a daily basis. I think they are indicative of how I think and what I want from the kids. NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION __ Allow me to review the banners with you.
Kids are always ready for something to be “good enough.” One of my jobs is to help them lose this acceptance of mediocrity; of “its okay.” I don’t want acceptance – I want pride They need to know they can take it up another notch
This banner is for parents as much as it is for the students. All too often when we are talking to our kids about school, we talk in terms of grades. I ask you to put the fascination for grades aside and instead ask you child what they are learning. Pay attention to their growth and their excitement for learning – this is the important stuff. The grades will follow.
Kids hate word problems… and I love them This banner hangs right over my whiteboard – It gives them something to groan about daily Problem solving is an integral part of my algebra course We will do it on several levels – from the simple word problems found in the textbook to obscure solution path problems with full two-column write-ups
I love this banner – it is a daily credo that reminds the kiddos that they are responsible for their own choices and decisions It comes from an old Don Mclean song – here are the lyrics The message here is valid for all of us: for the kids, for me as teacher and for you as parents -- There are always warning signs and we need to pay attention to them. We can’t pretend that something is not going well. We can’t pretend we didn’t know. We have acknowledge situations and step up and address them. If either you or I notice a problem beginning, we need to communicate so it can be nipped in the bud NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Okay. Now let’s take a look at Algebra
Thinking of algebra as a civil right makes a powerful statement. Like reading, knowing algebra should be an entitlement of everyone. It has become that important. I cannot stress strongly enough that importance of this course. Almost everyone uses it almost every day. In our information world, its importance has increased exponentially. Almost every skill and profession requires knowledge of algebra.
There will be a degree of discomfort in the early days. Most of your kids are just now making the transition from the concrete to the abstract. If we think of concrete thought as one side of the river, and abstract thought as the other side of the river, then your child is somewhere on the bridge. And I can guarantee you that the bridge has kids strung out from one end to the other. But we will get them across the bridge. We will bring them to the other side. And it will be goodness and light. NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION –You need to know some things about how it specifically pertains to your child
I think it is important that you understand the paradigm shift your student will be going through. They will work harder, think more, groan and complain more, and learn more than they have in any previous classroom They may also get some grades that they are not accustomed to getting. That’s understandable, because this isn’t middle school. When they walk into algebra class, they are spending 50 minutes in high school. NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Let’s look at the course goals
These are the over-arching goals for the course I am particularly concerned with the last item – underlying processes I want my students to understand what is happening, not simply memorize rules These kids are the scientists and engineers of tomorrow – it is important they have the very best math foundation NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – How about success?
Work Ethic This is the main stumbling block. The quality and quantity of the work increase significantly in algebra Over the years I have found that student success in algebra is all about time and effort. Students willing to make the effort will be successful. Abstract Thought Many middle-schoolers are still in the transition from concrete to abstract thought “ Pseudo-concept” is typical – they think they understand, but have trouble re-creating on their own Fast Pace Don’t let your child fall behind. Make sure they are always current. NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – With all that is happening, your child is bound to experience …
It is my goal for every student to experience cognitive dissonance every week – preferably several times each week. If your child is not some complaining about how difficult algebra is; how much extra thinking is needed; how hard the homework is, then I’m not doing my job! NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Here’s how it all works (lesson cycle)
Each lesson has a minimum of 4 exposures Notes Pre-reading prepares the student for the lesson Text notes mean that your student has done more than just pass eyes over the page They prepare the student for the next day’s discussion – and they provide a foundation for class notes This is hard for kids this age – It will need you to keep a constant check Practice Practice (homework) needs to be done carefully and neatly Classroom solution check with discussion allows students to ask questions about areas where they are having difficulty NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – word problems
Word problems are a favorite of mine I even have a banner in my room that reads “Life is a word problem” Knowing how to do the calculations is simply acquiring tools – solving story or word problems is putting the tools to use We will do word problems throughout the year – some fairly simple, some very complex Some problems will reinforce learned skills Some will be “obscure solution path” problems The students will learn the method, organization, and structure of good problem-solving skills NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Assignments
There is ALWAYS an assignment Readings that precede the lesson & practice that follows the lesson A lot of the practice is offered at different levels of difficulty – this is often student choice Answers are available for most practice – check as you go The hard problems we go over in class I do not collect homework – But I may check that it has been done Generally the quizzes tell me whether or not the work is being done NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION –Assessment
We have to check and see how everyone is doing Unless circumstances prevent it, Friday is assessment day – for quizzes and tests You should see a graded paper every Monday Quick quizzes (pop quizzes) can happen anytime – cover the previous day’s lesson or assignment I didn’t do notebook checks this year – a mistake. I will return to them next year NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION –Needed tools & supplies
Quad-ruled paper helps the kids with neatness and organization (a problem for 13 year olds) The TI-84 calculator is good through high school Mechanical pencils mean reasonably sharp points NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Assuring Success
This needs to be a group effort Your kiddos will be successful if you are an integral part of the process There are plenty of studies and many examples that demonstrate that a strong Student – Parent – Teacher triangle is a recipe for success I know that you want your child to be more self-reliant and responsible – I understand that – but algebra is not where it should begin NEXT SLIDE LEAD-IN – Student expectations
Preparation Students are expected to be ready for Q & A daily Students must ask questions when they don’t understand Staying Current Math is a building-block, cumulative process – students must stay current to be successful NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Parent Expectations
Talk to your kiddos frequently about what is happening in algebra Listen to their confidence and volubility when they answer Yes, we did have homework last night – and we have it tonight – and we’ll have it tomorrow night Check your student’s work -- frequently Keep up-to-date with the website Contact me when you have a concern NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Teacher Expectations
Along with all the stuff about rigor and excellence, I still try to have fun with my kids. There are always some jokes and a bit of teasing Even on test days we manage at least one laugh NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Website – the communications center
Students should use the website daily Check what is happening when absent – no excuses Parents should use it frequently We actually will begin during the summer with summer tutorials NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION –Summer Tutorials
Let them work at a relaxed pace – this is vacation time! BUT… this will only be as good as the effort the kiddos put into it Please don’t push them by buying books, having them do problems, or teaching them some algebra so they can “get ahead.” Two things will result from this – neither positive They get burned out They “already know it” and don’t pay attention in class (whoops, I guess I didn’t know it after all) NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – A last word -- about eye sight of all things
Many kiddos have problems reading the whiteboard or SmartBoard from a distance. They won’t admit this to you – they do not want to wear glasses – BUT they should! Please get their eyes checked this summer. NEXT SLIDE TRANSITION – Your Turn – Questions?
Okay – it’s your turn If there is anything I didn’t address or was not clear, please feel free to ask.
I appreciate everyone being here. Please e-mail me if you have further questions
Algebra parent night 2010
Welcome to Pre-AP Algebra Quail Valley Academy Don Simmons
Who is this guy… <ul><li>…and why do I want him teaching my child? </li></ul>
My Classroom Reflects My Philosophy <ul><li>College tee-shirts cover the walls </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A constant reminder to students to keep their eye on the prize </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Banners hang in prominence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quick reminders of what my classroom is about </li></ul></ul>
“Good is the Enemy of Great” <ul><li>Good enough is not good enough. </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be satisfied, you can always do better </li></ul>
“Learn, Not Earn” <ul><li>The knowledge is the objective… </li></ul><ul><li>…not the grade </li></ul>
“Life Is A Word Problem” <ul><li>Solving skill problems is not enough </li></ul><ul><li>Algebra must be put into context </li></ul><ul><li>We will work with situational problems throughout the year </li></ul>
“Don’t Blame The Train” <ul><li>“ When the gates are down, </li></ul><ul><li>And the lights are flashing, </li></ul><ul><li>And the whistle’s blowing in vain; </li></ul><ul><li>If you sit on the tracks, </li></ul><ul><li>Ignoring the facts, </li></ul><ul><li>Well, don’t blame the wreck on the train.” </li></ul><ul><li>-- Don McLean </li></ul>
Algebra Has Been Called… <ul><li>No less than a civil right. </li></ul><ul><li>The gateway to success in this century. </li></ul>
Algebra <ul><li>It is the transition from concrete arithmetic to symbolic mathematics. </li></ul><ul><li>It develops the abstract reasoning skills necessary in both math and science. </li></ul>
Algebra “Need-To-Knows” <ul><li>The foundation for all upper level math </li></ul><ul><li>A high school course </li></ul><ul><li>On your student’s permanent transcript </li></ul><ul><li>Course content is 90% new material </li></ul>
Goals of the Course <ul><li>Algebraic thinking & symbolic reasoning </li></ul><ul><li>Function concepts </li></ul><ul><li>Relationships between equations & functions </li></ul><ul><li>Tools for algebraic thinking </li></ul><ul><li>Underlying mathematical processes </li></ul>
How Will My Student Do? <ul><li>All of your students are capable of success </li></ul><ul><li>The major hurdles will be… </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Student effort and work ethic </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Abstract thought development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Fast pace </li></ul></ul>
Cognitive Dissonance <ul><li>The uncomfortable tension your child experiences during intense learning </li></ul><ul><li>It is a driving force that compels the mind to acquire new ideas </li></ul>
Lesson Cycle <ul><li>Read and take notes from text </li></ul><ul><li>Classroom lesson and notes </li></ul><ul><li>Post-lesson practice </li></ul><ul><li>Solutions check and discussion </li></ul>
Assignments <ul><li>Yes Mom, we have homework </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Tonight, tomorrow night, this weekend </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Several different levels of difficulty </li></ul><ul><li>We review difficult problems in class </li></ul><ul><li>I do not collect homework </li></ul>
Assessment <ul><li>Scheduled assessment every Friday </li></ul><ul><li>Quiz, Quiz, Test </li></ul><ul><li>Quick Quizzes anytime </li></ul><ul><li>Notebook checks anytime </li></ul>
Study Needs <ul><li>2 – Quad-ruled Spirals </li></ul><ul><li>3-ring notebook with dividers & paper </li></ul><ul><li>TI-84 graphing calculator </li></ul><ul><li>Mechanical Pencils (many) </li></ul><ul><li>Red checking pen </li></ul><ul><li>6-inch straight edge (ruler) </li></ul>
Success Takes Everyone <ul><li>You need to be involved </li></ul><ul><li>This is not where you begin hands-off parenting </li></ul>
Student Expectations <ul><li>Daily preparation for class discussion </li></ul><ul><li>Complete, up-to-date notes from text and classroom </li></ul><ul><li>Stay current with practice assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Learn for the long term </li></ul>
Parent Expectations <ul><li>Daily involvement and discussion with your student </li></ul><ul><li>Periodic checks of your student’s work </li></ul>
Teacher Expectations <ul><li>Ready to teach when the bell rings </li></ul><ul><li>A positive attitude and an open mind </li></ul><ul><li>A rigorous curriculum </li></ul><ul><li>Demand of excellence </li></ul><ul><li>Approachable & available at all times </li></ul>
Web Site <ul><li>www.the-q-factor.net </li></ul><ul><li>Assignments </li></ul><ul><li>Student discussions </li></ul><ul><li>Lesson demonstrations & slideshows </li></ul><ul><li>Printable materials </li></ul>
Summer Tutorials <ul><li>Website-based tutorials </li></ul><ul><li>Fundamentals to prepare students for the coming year </li></ul><ul><li>Self-grading quizzes to check understanding </li></ul><ul><li>Selected math-oriented website links </li></ul>
Student Eyesight <ul><li>There is a good chance your student does not see as well as you might think. </li></ul><ul><li>I strongly urge having an eye exam before school begins. </li></ul>
Your Questions <ul><li>Open Q & A </li></ul><ul><li>If you have additional questions, e-mail me: </li></ul><ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul>