Saturday, December 31, 2011
Put Out the Welcome Mat
As we start second semester, you may notice some new students in some of your classes. Not just new to the class, but also some that are just starting at AHS at the beginning of second semester. Perhaps some of you might take some inspiration from this video and help them feel welcome (and perhaps also rededicate yourself to getting the most out of your time here at AHS).
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
We took our final exam today. Check the portal for your results.
Note in the comments next to your score which problems you missed,
you'll need to know those for the first assignment for next semester
(below).
Your homework (yes, really) is:
Your homework (yes, really) is:
 Second semester Algebra keeps building on what we’ve done first
semester, so it’s important that you go back and review any problems you
missed on the final exam to try to master the concepts. Check the
portal for a list of the problems you missed on the final exam. Download
the Final Exam Correction Mapping
(pdf), find those problems in the first column, then work the
associated problem(s) from your textbook listed in the second column.
These are not due until Friday, January 6, 2012 (this will be your first
graded assignment of the second semester), but I recommend that you
complete them sometime over break. This will not take you very long, but
it's critical that you take charge of your own learning and continue
working on the areas you are still struggling with.
 If you need to, organize your notebook. Again, you can't simply
forget and move on from first semester, we keep building, so it's
important to be able to refer back to your notes and assessments from
first semester. If your notebook is getting full, then make sure you
have a new 3ring binder ready to start second semester (but keep first
semester's handy for reference). If your notebook is, well, not much of a
notebook, then start fresh second semester and do a better job.
 This is optional, but I would really appreciate it if you would fill out this evaluation of me.
It won't take long, and it will give me some valuable feedback. Please try to complete it by the end of this week.
 You can still bring donations for Kiva to me the rest of the week  just drop by my office.
 Finally, make sure you relax, enjoy your time with family and friends, and be thankful for all that you have.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Monday, December 12, 2011
We reviewed for the final exam (lesson, pdf).
Remember that our final is first thing tomorrow morning, from 7:21 am until 8:46 am. While I anticipate you finishing in that amount of time, you can stay into the second final (which you have off) to finish if necessary. I will start distributing finals at 7:15 to anyone who is there (in case you want a few extra minutes), so please come in to class quietly when you do come in.
Don't forget to bring a calculator, at least two pencils, some scratch paper, and a note card if you want. Please also bring something to study/work on in case you finish early.
Your homework for tonight is:
Remember that our final is first thing tomorrow morning, from 7:21 am until 8:46 am. While I anticipate you finishing in that amount of time, you can stay into the second final (which you have off) to finish if necessary. I will start distributing finals at 7:15 to anyone who is there (in case you want a few extra minutes), so please come in to class quietly when you do come in.
Don't forget to bring a calculator, at least two pencils, some scratch paper, and a note card if you want. Please also bring something to study/work on in case you finish early.
Your homework for tonight is:
 Review for the final (both the multiple choice from Friday and the free response from today). Make sure you have all of the above to bring with you to class tomorrow. Get a good night's sleep, eat a good breakfast, and try to get to class by 7:15 tomorrow.
 While not a requirement, I would really, really, really, really (did I mention really?) like you to take 510 minutes and thoughtfully fill out this evaluation of me. You don't have to do it tonight, but sometime this week would be great. Thanks.
 I will still be accepting donations for Kiva all week. Either bring them to the final tomorrow, or stop by my office any time all week. Thanks. (Total so far: $17.54; Last year: $71.41 from class, $300 total.)
Friday, December 9, 2011
Friday, December 9, 2011
We began with our assessment over Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities (key, pdf). As we discussed in class, I've decided not to count this one since I've been gone so much lately. I'd still like you to review the key and try to master the material.
We then reviewed for the final exam (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for this weekend is:
We then reviewed for the final exam (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for this weekend is:
 Review for the final exam.I gave you two packets, one for the multiple choice portion of the final and one for the free response portion of the final. You definitely need to do the multiple choice part this weekend. I will either post the key to the blog or email it to your google apps account (or perhaps both), most likely on Sunday (because I want you to work through it before getting the key). The key (pdf) is now posted.
The second packet is the free response review. I highly recommend you work through that this weekend as well, although you don't have to. We will go over that in class on Monday, but I think it will be a much more valuable review for you if you have already tried to work the problems this weekend. So it's up to you, but I would highly recommend it.  Any more donations for Kiva? It would be great if you could bring some in on Monday, although I will accept them all next week. (Total so far: $17.02; Last year: $71.41 from class, $300 total.)
 You might check out this article with suggestions for how best to prepare for finals.
How to Prepare for Finals
I ran across this article in my Learning Network so I thought I'd share it with you. It has some really good advice for some ways to prepare for final exams  it's worth the 5 to 7 minutes it will take you to read it.
Here are the highlights:
Here are the highlights:
 When you study, don't just read: write!
 Study in groups (with a strategy).
 Get good exercise and sleep during finals week.
 Move around when studying.
 Connect smells to learning.
 When taking an exam, if you have a problem where you're just stumped, just start writing.
Thursday, December 8, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Wednesday, December 7, 2011
Today Mrs. Blechschmidt kindly covered for me while I was on my way to Ohio. You reviewed absolute value equations and inequalities.
Your homework for Friday is:
Your homework for Friday is:
 Prepare for the Solving Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities Assessment on Friday.
There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to:
review the online preassessment; review your notebook and/or the
openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some
practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of
course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the
Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or
friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared.
The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this
assessment.
 Continue reviewing for the final exam.
 Quarters for Kiva? (Total so far: $17.02; Last year: $71.41 from class, $300 total.)
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
Tuesday, December 6, 2011
We began with this opener (pdf).
We then learned about the absolute value inequalities (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for tomorrow is:
We then learned about the absolute value inequalities (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for tomorrow is:
 Watch the Solving Absolute Value Inequalities video.
 Practice with a few solving absolute value inequalities problems if you want (less than, greater than).
 Complete the Solving and Graphing Absolute Value Equations and Inequalities on the Moodle. Please note that I misspoke in class today  there will be a "more difficult" inequality like #2 on the moodle, so please be prepared for that.
 Quarters for Kiva? (Total so far: $17.02; Last year: $71.41 from class, $300 total.)
Monday, December 5, 2011
Monday, December 5, 2011
We began with this opener (pdf).
We then learned about the absolute value function (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for tomorrow is:
We then learned about the absolute value function (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for tomorrow is:
 Watch the Solving Absolute Value Equations video.
 Practice with a few solving absolute value equations problems if you want.
 Quarters for Kiva? (Total so far: $6.60; Last year: $71.41 from class, $300 total.)
Sunday, December 4, 2011
Saturday, December 3, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Friday, December 2, 2011
Sorry I was out. I'll get the opener and lesson posted as soon as I'm back and can get them posted. The lesson was to continue looking at function notation in the context of applications of functions.
Your homework for Monday is:
Your homework for Monday is:
 Continue preparing for the final. Consider watching some of the review videos if you haven't been.
 Think about what you could "skip" this weekend in order to donate a quarter (or more) to Kiva.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
We began with our assessment over Systems of Inequalities (key, pdf).
We then learned about function notation (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for Friday is:
We then learned about function notation (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for Friday is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 Practice with a few evaluating function problems.
 Quarters for Kiva?
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
We began with this awesome opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning about graphs of realworld situations.
Tonight's homework is to:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning about graphs of realworld situations.
Tonight's homework is to:
 Prepare for the Systems of Inequalities Assessment tomorrow.
There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to:
review the online preassessment; review your notebook and/or the
openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some
practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of
course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the
Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or
friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared.
The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this
assessment.
 Consider participating in our Kiva project.(Total so far: $4.47; Last year: $71.41 from class, $300 total.)
 Change the World in 5 Minutes a Day
Monday, November 28, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
We began with this opener (pdf) to get our heads back in the Algebra game.
Then today was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice) lesson (pdf), with an emphasis on systems of inequalities and functions.
Tonight's homework is:
Then today was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice) lesson (pdf), with an emphasis on systems of inequalities and functions.
Tonight's homework is:
 Complete the Systems of Inequalities Online PreAssessment on the Moodle.
 If you haven't been playing along with watching the oneadayvideos to
begin reviewing for the final exam, you may want to start that now. This
link will take you to an automagically updating collection of all the posts with the videos.
 Please read this blog post about A Quarter is More Than Just a Fraction and Kiva and decide how/if you'd like to participate. No amount is too small  or too large. (Total so far: $0.36; Last year: $71.41 from class, $300 total)
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Saturday, November 26, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
A Quarter is More Than Just a Fraction
Arapahoe, as you know, puts our collective might behind several causes throughout the year. Currently we are asking students and staff to bring in a toy for Toys for Tots. I encourage you to participate in that, not just by bringing in a toy, but also attending the wrapping party and going to Alice Terry Elementary on December 14th to help distribute the toys.
But I also want you to think more globally in this class. If you happened to read my blog over Thanksgiving break, then you read about Kiva and Team Shift Happens. Here’s a brief description of Kiva:
I want to be clear – this is not a requirement. This has no effect on your grade. There’s no extra credit, nor will I berate anyone who doesn’t participate. This isn’t about you. Or about me. This is about helping empower people who haven’t had the same opportunities that we enjoy. Some folks think teenagers won’t do this kind of thing if there’s not a payoff for them in it – we’ll see if they’re right.
I wrote a couple of years ago:
Then I’ll match whatever you donate (up to $100 – I’m not completely crazy). So I’ll take the total of whatever you guys bring in by the last day we meet (our final is on Tuesday, December 13th), and match it with an equal amount, then I’ll take the total and lend it out on Kiva. (If you’d like to help me pick which entrepreneur to lend to, start looking around Kiva and let me know who you think we should fund.)
So, if you occasionally visit Starbucks, consider skipping it once in the next couple of weeks. Or perhaps you could skip that overpriced, notreallyveryhealthyforyou “energy” drink I see some of you drink in the morning. Or if you go out for lunch, skip the soft drink a couple of times. Not only will you be doing your body a favor by skipping one or all of these, but a minor deprivation for you could turn into a possibly lifechanging loan for someone else.
It might only be a fraction of a dollar to you, but to someone in the developing world – it’s priceless.
But I also want you to think more globally in this class. If you happened to read my blog over Thanksgiving break, then you read about Kiva and Team Shift Happens. Here’s a brief description of Kiva:
Kiva's mission is to connect people through lending for the sake of alleviating poverty.And here’s part of what I wrote on my blog about Team Shift Happens:
Kiva is the world's first persontoperson microlending website, empowering individuals to lend directly to unique entrepreneurs in the developing world.
I lend $25 to an entrepreneur ($25 is the minimum they accept). But I also purchase two $25 gift certificates that I then email to two members of my PLN. I’m asking those folks to then do two things.Last year I also read this post by Chris Harbeck, a teacher in Canada, and I decided to challenge last year's class in a similar way – challenge each of them to bring in $0.25 a day for each day class met between then and the end of the semester. I'm going to challenge you guys with the same this year. Conveniently, our class meets ten times before the end of the semester, so that’s challenging you to donate a total of $2.50.
First, they can choose which entrepreneur to loan the $25 to. Then I’m asking them to consider doing the same thing – purchasing two $25 gift certificates and emailing them to two members of their PLN (with the same request that those folks continue the cycle, sending two Kiva gift certificates to folks in their network  a Kiva Pay It Forward plan).
I want to be clear – this is not a requirement. This has no effect on your grade. There’s no extra credit, nor will I berate anyone who doesn’t participate. This isn’t about you. Or about me. This is about helping empower people who haven’t had the same opportunities that we enjoy. Some folks think teenagers won’t do this kind of thing if there’s not a payoff for them in it – we’ll see if they’re right.
I wrote a couple of years ago:
Poor people in impoverished communities often don’t have access to financial institutions and capital, and microfinancing addresses this problem. It is especially helpful to women, who often are the key to raising families – and communities – out of poverty. It’s also my opinion that this is one of the best ways to help achieve peace in the world.So I challenge you to bring in what you can. If that’s a quarter a day (or $2.50 total), that’s great. If it’s less, or more, that’s great as well. You can bring money to class each day expressly to donate, or you can simply find me during the day when you perhaps have some change in your pocket (after lunch?) and donate (no amount is too small – or too large). You can choose to participate yourself, or you can cajole your family and friends to donate some change as well if you want – it’s up to you.
Then I’ll match whatever you donate (up to $100 – I’m not completely crazy). So I’ll take the total of whatever you guys bring in by the last day we meet (our final is on Tuesday, December 13th), and match it with an equal amount, then I’ll take the total and lend it out on Kiva. (If you’d like to help me pick which entrepreneur to lend to, start looking around Kiva and let me know who you think we should fund.)
So, if you occasionally visit Starbucks, consider skipping it once in the next couple of weeks. Or perhaps you could skip that overpriced, notreallyveryhealthyforyou “energy” drink I see some of you drink in the morning. Or if you go out for lunch, skip the soft drink a couple of times. Not only will you be doing your body a favor by skipping one or all of these, but a minor deprivation for you could turn into a possibly lifechanging loan for someone else.
It might only be a fraction of a dollar to you, but to someone in the developing world – it’s priceless.
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Saturday, November 19, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
We began with our assessment over Solving and Graphing Linear Inequalities in Two Variables (key, pdf).
We then learned about relations and functions (lesson, pdf)
Your homework for tonight is:
We then learned about relations and functions (lesson, pdf)
Your homework for tonight is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 Watch the Solving Systems of Inequalities video.
 Start studying for the final exam. Seriously. As I mentioned in class,
an excellent way to study for the final is to watch one Algebra video a
day starting tomorrow, then every day until just before finals week
(yes, that includes next week when you're off, and includes weekends).
Obviously you can doubleup on some days if you miss a day, but if
you're willing to spend 10 to 15 minutes a day over the next three weeks
you'll be wellprepared for the final. Or you can wait, try to cram a
couple of hours the night before, and take your chances.
I'll post one video a day on the blog, in the order we did them, starting tomorrow. Look for them.
It's up to you.  Have a very good, very safe break.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
We began with our assessment over Solving and Graphing Inequalities in One Variable (key, pdf).
We then practice solving systems of inequalities, which also simultaneously reviewed graphing linear inequalities in two variables (lesson, pdf)
Your homework for tonight is:
We then practice solving systems of inequalities, which also simultaneously reviewed graphing linear inequalities in two variables (lesson, pdf)
Your homework for tonight is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 Complete the Solving and Graphing Linear Inequalities in Two Variables Online PreAssessment on the Moodle. Please note that our assessment over this will be on Friday, so make sure you do the preassessment tonight so if you have any questions you can get some help tomorrow.
 Prepare for the assessment on Friday.
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
We began with this heartwrenching opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was investigating how to solve a system of inequalities by looking at postage rates.
Tonight's homework is to:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was investigating how to solve a system of inequalities by looking at postage rates.
Tonight's homework is to:
 Prepare for the Solving and Graphing Inequalities in One Variable Assessment tomorrow.
There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to:
review the online preassessment; review your notebook and/or the
openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some
practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of
course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the
Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or
friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared.
The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this
assessment.
 Make an appointment
to come in and reassess for any of the assessments you might need to
redo. Get them done this week before the furlough days/Thanksgiving
"break."
 If you want some more practice with solving inequalities, here's an endless supply.
Monday, November 14, 2011
We began with this inspiring opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice).
Tonight's homework is to:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice).
Tonight's homework is to:
 Complete the Graphing Inequalities in One Variable Online PreAssessment on the Moodle.
 Make an appointment to come in and reassess for any of the assessments you might need to redo. Get them done this week before the furlough days/Thanksgiving "break."
Friday, November 11, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
We began with our assessment over Solving Systems of Equations by Elimination (key, pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning how to graph inequalities in two variables.
Your homework for Monday is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning how to graph inequalities in two variables.
Your homework for Monday is:
 Don't forgot your blog post about when to use the substitution method and when to use the elimination method is due before you go to bed Sunday night.
 Watch the Solving Inequalities in Two Variables video.
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
Wednesday, November 9, 2011
We began with this terrific opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice).
Your homework for Friday is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice).
Your homework for Friday is:
 Complete the Solving Systems of Equations by Elimination Online PreAssessment on the Moodle. Please note that our assessment over this will be on Friday, so make sure you do the preassessment tonight so if you have any questions you can get some help tomorrow (again, in the Math Department, as I will be gone tomorrow).
 Prepare for the Solving Systems of Equations by Elimination Assessment on Friday.
There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to:
review the online preassessment; review your notebook and/or the
openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some
practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of
course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the
Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or
friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared.
The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this
assessment.
 Watch the Graphing Linear Inequalities in One Variable video.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Tuesday, November 8, 2011
We began with our assessment over Solving Systems of Equations by Substitution (key, pdf).
We then practiced a bit with solving systems by elimination, and then learned about solving inequalities in one variable (lesson, pdf)
Your homework for tonight is:
We then practiced a bit with solving systems by elimination, and then learned about solving inequalities in one variable (lesson, pdf)
Your homework for tonight is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 A reminder about the blog post that's due by Monday. Don't wait until the last minute.
 If you want some more practice with solving inequalities, here's an endless supply.
 A reminder that I'm not available this Thursday for help or to reassess.
 Watch Solving Systems of Equations by Elimination video.
Monday, November 7, 2011
Monday, November 7, 2011
We began with this electrifying opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice).
Tonight's homework is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice).
Tonight's homework is:
 Prepare for the Solving Systems of Equations by Substitution Assessment tomorrow.
There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to:
review the online preassessment; review your notebook and/or the
openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some
practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of
course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the
Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or
friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared.
The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this
assessment.
 Another reminder that I won't be here on Thursday to help or to reassess. If you need help, please stop by the Math Department. If you need to reassess, please schedule an appointment for some other day this week.
 Try out Google Gravity. Go ahead and do a search for something.
 If you want some additional practice on solving equations by substitution or elimination, here's an endless supply of them. (Note: some would be better solved by substitution, some better by elimination.)
 If you haven't read it yet, please read this that I posted yesterday.
 Due Monday, November 14th: On your Algebra Reflective Blog, please create a new post titled "Solving Systems of Equations: Substitution vs. Elimination." In this post explain to your readers how you decide whether to use the Substitution Method or the Elimination Method to solve a system of equations. My guess is that you will need to include some examples, including at least one that you would choose to solve by substitution, and at least one you would choose to solve by elimination. Remember, you have to assume your reader knows nothing about this process, so be specific and detailed.
Sunday, November 6, 2011
We See This as the Future of Higher Education
About a year ago I ran across this article in the New York Times titled, Learning in Dorm, Because Class is on the Web (two pages, make sure you click through to page two) and I'd like you to take 510 minutes to read it. Go ahead, go read it, then come back.
This article illustrates that many colleges – which most of you will be attending in 34 years – are starting to utilize some of the same video techniques we’re trying to use in our Algebra class. There are a variety of different ways colleges are using this, some are pretty similar to what I’m doing, others are very different (consider yourself lucky, you only have to watch 810 minutes of me, not an 85 minute streamed lecture!).
Note that some colleges are doing this primarily for financial reasons,
Notice how some students don’t like this approach.
First, students must watch/complete the “lecture” video portion of the class outside of class. Clearly some college students – as well as some of you – are not doing this. If this part isn't done, the entire model falls apart because the videos outside of class allow us the time in class for inquiry.
Second, just as critically, students must be active participants in class to maximize the value of our time together. Students must be willing to use class time as an opportunity both to explore and to practice mathematical ideas and concepts, not as a time to sit back and be “told” or “shown” what to do. This is why I continue to try to get you guys to think more on your own, to talk and work in your groups, and to take risks in your learning, instead of simply waiting for me to show you the “right” answer.
So I’m hopeful that as we continue with this approach we all will get better at it. I need you to hold up your end of the bargain (watch/complete the videos outside of class  including the Guided Practice and SelfCheck portions, complete the online preassessments on the Moodle, actively participate/explore/think in class, and come in for help and to reassess), and I hopefully will get better at structuring class to complement the video instruction outside of class. Together we can not only help you master Algebra, but prepare you to be successful learners in college and beyond.
So what do you think? Are you planning to go to college? If so, what are your feelings about the fact that you undoubtedly will have a large online component? If not, how do you feel about online training in general, as many jobs that don't require college now require that type of training?
What about Algebra  given that this is how I've structured the course, is there anything you can be doing better to maximize your chances for success? Be specific. Is there anything I can be doing better (keeping in mind that the basic hybrid nature is not going to change)? Do you have any other thoughts about above article and my thoughts regarding it?
(Bonus: While not specifically about using video, this post I wrote a while back is also about higher education  specifically, the University of Virginia, and the expectation that students do the preparatory work outside of class and then come in and be active participants in class. You might be interested in reading my post and the linked article).
This article illustrates that many colleges – which most of you will be attending in 34 years – are starting to utilize some of the same video techniques we’re trying to use in our Algebra class. There are a variety of different ways colleges are using this, some are pretty similar to what I’m doing, others are very different (consider yourself lucky, you only have to watch 810 minutes of me, not an 85 minute streamed lecture!).
Note that some colleges are doing this primarily for financial reasons,
You have X amount of money, what are you going to do with it?others are exploring whether it can be a more effective way of delivering instruction,
She said an advantage of the Internet is that students can stop the lecture and rewind when they do not understand something.No matter the reason, it appears likely that more classes will be offered this way by the time you get to college.
We see this as the future of higher education.So consider our Algebra class a chance not only to learn Algebra (and enjoy my amazing wit), but an opportunity to begin preparing yourself to be successful in college – and beyond – by learning how to learn through online components of courses.
Notice how some students don’t like this approach.
In a conventional class, “I’m someone who sits toward the front and shares my thoughts with the teacher,” she said. In the 10 or so online courses she has taken in her four years, “it’s all the same,” she said. “No comments. No feedback. And the grades are always late.”This is one of the reasons why I believe hybrid classes – where there’s an online component and a facetoface component  are perhaps currently the best of both worlds when done well (although that may change as we get better at implementing online courses). The way I've tried to structure our class is inquiry first  we explore the ideas together in some kind of context  and then you watch the video outside of class to reinforce the skill and to help you go from the more concrete to the abstract. But several things have to happen in order for classes like this to work.
First, students must watch/complete the “lecture” video portion of the class outside of class. Clearly some college students – as well as some of you – are not doing this. If this part isn't done, the entire model falls apart because the videos outside of class allow us the time in class for inquiry.
Second, just as critically, students must be active participants in class to maximize the value of our time together. Students must be willing to use class time as an opportunity both to explore and to practice mathematical ideas and concepts, not as a time to sit back and be “told” or “shown” what to do. This is why I continue to try to get you guys to think more on your own, to talk and work in your groups, and to take risks in your learning, instead of simply waiting for me to show you the “right” answer.
So I’m hopeful that as we continue with this approach we all will get better at it. I need you to hold up your end of the bargain (watch/complete the videos outside of class  including the Guided Practice and SelfCheck portions, complete the online preassessments on the Moodle, actively participate/explore/think in class, and come in for help and to reassess), and I hopefully will get better at structuring class to complement the video instruction outside of class. Together we can not only help you master Algebra, but prepare you to be successful learners in college and beyond.
So what do you think? Are you planning to go to college? If so, what are your feelings about the fact that you undoubtedly will have a large online component? If not, how do you feel about online training in general, as many jobs that don't require college now require that type of training?
What about Algebra  given that this is how I've structured the course, is there anything you can be doing better to maximize your chances for success? Be specific. Is there anything I can be doing better (keeping in mind that the basic hybrid nature is not going to change)? Do you have any other thoughts about above article and my thoughts regarding it?
(Bonus: While not specifically about using video, this post I wrote a while back is also about higher education  specifically, the University of Virginia, and the expectation that students do the preparatory work outside of class and then come in and be active participants in class. You might be interested in reading my post and the linked article).
Friday, November 4, 2011
Friday, November 4, 2011
We began with our assessment over Solving Systems of Equations by Graphing (key, pdf).
Then today's Carnegie Hall Day lesson (pdf) was learning about when to use substitution method, when to use elimination method, and practicing with both.
Your homework for Monday is:
Then today's Carnegie Hall Day lesson (pdf) was learning about when to use substitution method, when to use elimination method, and practicing with both.
Your homework for Monday is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment (I'll hopefully get those picked
up tonight and graded and on the portal either tonight or tomorrow
morning), fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 Complete the Solving Systems of Equations by Substitution Online PreAssessment on the Moodle. Please come to class on Monday with any questions you have.
 Go to google and type "Do a barrel roll" (without the quotation marks).
 If you didn't get a chance to read Can't We Just Memorize a Formula to Plug Stuff Into? last night, please take a few minutes to read it this weekend.
 Just a heads up that I will not be available next Thursday for help or reassessments. If you need help on Thursday, please stop by the Math Department and they will be happy to help you. If you need to reassess next week, you'll need to make an appointment to see me on a day other than Thursday.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
Can't We Just Memorize a Formula to Plug Stuff Into?
I've been wanting to share something with you the last couple of days in class but just haven't had time, so I decided to just put it here on the blog instead. In The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun I came across a couple of passages that I thought were relevant to our class. In a section of the book talking about the myth that good ideas are hard to find, he writes:
What does this have to do with Algebra? Well, this is very similar to the philosophy of what I'm asking you to do in this class. Yes, we do have some formulas that you're going to need to learn and "plug stuff into." But our more important goal is for you to open your minds and be willing to explore ideas. This is why I'm always asking you to try to figure things out, both individually and as a group, and not wait for me to tell you how to do it.
Sure, we can "skip to the good ideas" and I can just show you how to do certain procedures, but that ends up not being very meaningful for you, and you're also not very likely to remember it very long. Instead, I want you  as much as possible  to play with the ideas. To be curious, and creative, and try to figure things out and find patterns and methods on your own, including exploring various realworld applications of the mathematics. And, yes, that's harder than just memorizing the formula and doing random problems out of the book. But I think it's also much, much, much more worthy of your time.
As Eric Hoffer said,
While waiting in a city park to interview someone for this book, a nearby child played with Silly Putty and Legos at the same time. In my notepad I listed how many ideas the young boy, not more than five years old, came up with in 10 minutes. Sitting in the grass, he combined, modified, enhanced, tore apart, chewed on, licked, and buried various creations I'd never have imagined. His young mother, chatting on a phone while resting her morning coffee on the park bench, barely noticed the inventive creations her toddler unleashed on the world. After being chased away for making her nervous (an occupational risk of writers in parks), I wondered what happens to us, and what will happen to this boy, in adulthood. Why, as is popularly believed, do our creativity abilities decline, making ideas harder to find? Why aren't our conference rooms and board meetings as vibrant as childhood playgrounds and sandboxes? (p. 82)The passage also includes this picture of the first computer mouse with the caption, "The superficials of innovation are rarely impressive. This is a version of the first computer mouse."
. . . To open minds and find good ideas, return to the kid in the park. What is it about his attitude that allows fearless idea exploration? Linus Pauling, the only winner of two solo Nobel Prize awards in history, had this to say about finding ideas: "The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas." This sounds idiotic to most ears because it cuts against the systemic, formulaic, efficiencycentric perspective worshiped in schools and professions. It seems wasteful to follow Pauling's advice. Can't we just skip to the good ideas? Optimize the process? Memorize a formula to plug stuff into? Well, you can't. (p. 8586).
(image source: Wikipedia)
What does this have to do with Algebra? Well, this is very similar to the philosophy of what I'm asking you to do in this class. Yes, we do have some formulas that you're going to need to learn and "plug stuff into." But our more important goal is for you to open your minds and be willing to explore ideas. This is why I'm always asking you to try to figure things out, both individually and as a group, and not wait for me to tell you how to do it.
Sure, we can "skip to the good ideas" and I can just show you how to do certain procedures, but that ends up not being very meaningful for you, and you're also not very likely to remember it very long. Instead, I want you  as much as possible  to play with the ideas. To be curious, and creative, and try to figure things out and find patterns and methods on your own, including exploring various realworld applications of the mathematics. And, yes, that's harder than just memorizing the formula and doing random problems out of the book. But I think it's also much, much, much more worthy of your time.
As Eric Hoffer said,
In a time of drastic change it is the learners who inherit the future. The learned usually find themselves equipped to live in a world that no longer exists.I want you to be a learner; to take the attitude of "fearless idea exploration." In my class, in all your classes, and in life in general.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
We began with our assessment over Essential Learning #3 (key, pdf). Please, please, please come in for help on this if you are still having difficulty.
We then reviewed solving a system of equations by substitution and learned a new method, solving by elimination (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for Friday is:
We then reviewed solving a system of equations by substitution and learned a new method, solving by elimination (lesson, pdf).
Your homework for Friday is:
 In the lesson (pdf) on Atomic Weights, we got as far as solving for H. Try to complete that problem by substituting in the value of H into either original equation and then find C, then check it in the other equation. We'll go over this on Friday.
 Prepare for the Solving Systems of Equations by Graphing Assessment. There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to: review the online preassessment; review your notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this assessment.
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
We began with our assessment over Parallel and Perpendicular Lines (key, pdf).
We then continue our exploration of the iPhone rate problem to continue practicing with solving a system of equations by substitution (lesson, pdf). We also reviewed for our assessment over Essential Learning #3 tomorrow.
Your homework for tonight is:
We then continue our exploration of the iPhone rate problem to continue practicing with solving a system of equations by substitution (lesson, pdf). We also reviewed for our assessment over Essential Learning #3 tomorrow.
Your homework for tonight is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 Prepare for the assessment on Essential Learning #3 tomorrow.
 Complete the Solving Systems of Equations by Graphing PreAssessment on the Moodle. Please come to class tomorrow with any questions you have.
 Watch the Solving Systems of Equations by Substitution video.
Monday, October 31, 2011
Monday, October 31, 2011
We began with this thrilling opener (pdf). Problems 1 through 3 are just like the assessment tomorrow. Problems 4 and 5 are related to Essential Learning #3 that we will assess over on Wednesday.
Then today's lesson (pdf) was briefly reviewing solving a system of equations by graphing, and then learning about solving a system of equations by substitution. We will talk more about the iPhone problem tomorrow.
Your homework for tonight is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was briefly reviewing solving a system of equations by graphing, and then learning about solving a system of equations by substitution. We will talk more about the iPhone problem tomorrow.
Your homework for tonight is:
 Prepare for the Parallel and Perpendicular Lines Assessment tomorrow. There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to: review the online preassessment; review your notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher, a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do very well on this assessment.
 Complete the Essential Learning #3 Online PreAssessment on the Moodle.
 Review Friday's lesson/video (solving a system by graphing) and today's lesson (solving by substitution).
 I thought some of you might enjoy this:
Friday, October 28, 2011
Friday, October 28, 2011
We began with this exhilarating opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning about solving a system of equations by graphing.
Your homework is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning about solving a system of equations by graphing.
Your homework is:
 Complete the Parallel and Perpendicular Lines Online PreAssessment on the Moodle. Please come to class on Monday with any questions you have.
 If you didn't read this yet, please take a few minutes and read Fisch Food for Thought: It's Your Future.
 Watch the Solving Systems of Equations by Graphing video.
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Wednesday, October 26, 2011
I apologize for not being there today. But, on the bright side, I bet Mrs. Blechschmidt gave you stickers.
We began with our assessment over Writing Linear Equations in Standard Form. I'll get those graded and the key posted as soon as I can. Grades are now posted and here's the key (pdf).
We then investigated the slopes of parallel and perpendicular lines (thanks Mrs. Blechschmidt!).
Your homework for Friday is:
We began with our assessment over Writing Linear Equations in Standard Form. I'll get those graded and the key posted as soon as I can. Grades are now posted and here's the key (pdf).
We then investigated the slopes of parallel and perpendicular lines (thanks Mrs. Blechschmidt!).
Your homework for Friday is:

Check the portal
for the results of your assessment (I'll hopefully get those picked up tonight and graded and on the portal either tonight or tomorrow morning), fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 Watch the Parallel and Perpendicular Lines video.
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Fisch Food For Thought: It's Your Future
I read these two articles and immediately thought of our discussion (err, my ranting) in class today. I think it's worth your time to read these two articles. Read the entire articles, but here are some blurbs to whet your appetite.
Economists See More Jobs for Machines, Not People
Will Dropouts Save America?
It's your future. Which is it going to be?
Economists See More Jobs for Machines, Not People
Faster, cheaper computers and increasingly clever software, the authors say, are giving machines capabilities that were once thought to be distinctively human, like understanding speech, translating from one language to another and recognizing patterns. So automation is rapidly moving beyond factories to jobs in call centers, marketing and sales — parts of the services sector, which provides most jobs in the economy.
. . . Yet computers, the authors say, tend to be narrow and literalminded, good at assigned tasks but at a loss when a solution requires intuition and creativity — human traits. A partnership, they assert, is the path to job creation in the future.
Will Dropouts Save America?
Startups are a creative endeavor by definition. Yet our current classrooms, geared toward tests on narrowly defined academic subjects, stifle creativity. If a young person happens to retain enough creative spirit to start a business upon graduation, she does so in spite of her schooling, not because of it.How does this relate to what I ranted about in class today? It's your future, and business as usual (or, in your case, school as usual) isn't going to cut it. You're going to have to be creative, to be risktakers, to look for the underlying connections and strive for true understanding, not just "complete assignments" and "get the points."
Finally, entrepreneurs must embrace failure. I spent the last two years interviewing college dropouts who went on to become millionaires and billionaires. All spoke passionately about the importance of their business failures in leading them to success. Our education system encourages students to play it safe and retreat at the first sign of failure (assuming that any failure will look bad on their college applications and rÃ©sumÃ©s).
You're going to have to be creative, risktaking learners.What does that mean in terms of our Algebra class? It means you've got to step up, you've got to take charge of your own learning. You have to care enough to try to learn not just the formulas and the algebraic manipulations, but the underlying meaning. You have to approach each topic and each assignment, each activity in class and each activity outside of class, with an attitude of, "I'm going to learn the most I can from this."
You're going to have to be selfdirected learners.Now, I want to be clear, here. I'm not suggesting you "drop out," or that what you're learning here at AHS isn't meaningful. You need this "content" as the basis of your knowledge, but you have to go beyond that to be part of the "creative class" that is most likely to be successful (economically, personally, and as a citizen) in the future. You've got to give it some effort.
You're going to have to be passionate learners.If you just sit back and let education, let school, "happen" to you, then I fear for your future. But if you go out and, day in and day out, go after your own education; if you truly adopt a learning mindset, not a "school mindset," you're going to be great.
It's your future. Which is it going to be?
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
We began with this topdrawer opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice). We also discussed a bit what a good blog post looks like, and what a notsogood blog post looks like.
Your homework for tonight is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was a Carnegie Hall Day (practice, practice, practice). We also discussed a bit what a good blog post looks like, and what a notsogood blog post looks like.
Your homework for tonight is:
 Prepare for the Writing Linear Equations in Standard Form
Assessment tomorrow. There are a variety of ways to do that including,
but not limited to: review the online preassessment; review your
notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the
video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find
online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher,
a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a
parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure
you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do
very well on this assessment.
 Finish the last page (10,000meter run problem) of the lesson (pdf). It's just like what we did yesterday with the temperature and dissolved oxygen. The expectation is that you come in with it complete tomorrow.
Monday, October 24, 2011
Monday, October 24, 2011
We began with this bodacious opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was applying fivenumber summaries to some realworld data and learning about one way to calculate a bestfit line.
Your homework for tonight is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was applying fivenumber summaries to some realworld data and learning about one way to calculate a bestfit line.
Your homework for tonight is:
 Complete the Writing Linear Equations in Standard Form Online PreAssessment on the Moodle. Please come to class tomorrow with any questions you have.
 Review today's lesson
(pdf).
 If you haven't done it yet, your outlier blog post is due before you go to bed tonight.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
Today's Denver Post  Colorado Incomes Fall
If you got today's Denver Post, you might take a few minutes and read this frontpage story. Lots of discussion about median income, as well as the effect inflation has on purchasing power.
You have to be numerate to be an effective citizen.
Median household incomes in the U.S. last year were at 1996 levels after adjusting for inflation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.This is an important point when trying to decipher numbers that people throw at you to try to convince you of things. If you just look at the raw numbers, it would look like people are making a lot more money than they were in 1996. But, due to inflation, the "more" money they are making now actually buys the same amount as the "less" money they were making in 1996.
You have to be numerate to be an effective citizen.
Friday, October 21, 2011
Friday, October 21, 2011
We began with this memorable opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning about Five Number Summaries. Here are a couple of articles regarding the mean and median wages in the U.S. that we talked about in class. Consider talking with your social studies teacher and/or your parents about what these numbers mean and how they relate to some of the current protests going on around the country.
Your homework is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning about Five Number Summaries. Here are a couple of articles regarding the mean and median wages in the U.S. that we talked about in class. Consider talking with your social studies teacher and/or your parents about what these numbers mean and how they relate to some of the current protests going on around the country.
Your homework is:
 Watch and complete the Writing Linear Equations in Standard Form video. Please make sure you give this your best effort and complete the selfcheck problems and have them with you on Monday.
 Due before you go to bed Monday night: On your Algebra Reflective Blog, please create a new post titled "The Effect of Outliers on Mean and Median." Then, in your own words, describe the effect of outliers on mean and median. You can do that however you'd like, but most likely you are going to want to find or create a data set that has some outliers and use it as an example to explain to your reader the different ways outliers affect mean and median.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Nothing Ruins Your Life Forever
I really don't have anything to add to this post by Vicki Bell from about a year ago. Please consider reading it.
Colorado Suicide and Crisis Hotlines
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
You matter.
My cell phone: 720ToFisch (720.863.4724)
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
We began with this noteworthy opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning about Measures of Center: Mean, Median and Mode. Look over it if you have questions, but please remember we'll do Step 6 on Friday.
Your homework for Friday is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was learning about Measures of Center: Mean, Median and Mode. Look over it if you have questions, but please remember we'll do Step 6 on Friday.
Your homework for Friday is:
 Identify any areas on the midterm that you need help on, then come in tomorrow and get some help. Remember, your grade and the problems you missed are listed on the portal, and the actual midterm, with answers, was posted on the blog yesterday  but here's a convenient link as well (pdf).
Please, please, please take some time to go over the midterm, figure out what you know and what you don't know, and then come in for some help on what you don't know. Our final exam is not that far off and all of this  as well as what we haven't learned yet  will be on the final.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Today we took our midterm. Here's the key (pdf).
Your homework for tonight is:
Your homework for tonight is:
 Even though you can't reassess on the midterm, check the portal
for the results of your assessment and fill out your student checklist
with your results. Identify which areas you need some help on and then come in and get that help. As you know, Algebra continues to build on these skills, so you must master them if you are going to be successful.
 Read this blurb from Fortune Magazine:
a. The chart states that the U.S. debt is 99% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Using the numbers from the chart, what would the U.S.'s GDP be? (Hint: setup up a proportion, 99 over 100 equals debt over GDP, and you can find the debt figure from the chart. Then solve for GDP.)
b. Look at the chart to see how much of the debt the U.S. owes to China. What percent of the total debt is that? (setup another proportion, solve for percent)
c. Talk to your social studies teacher about these two facts and what they mean.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Monday, October 17, 2011
We began with this quick opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was reviewing for the midterm.
Your homework for tonight is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was reviewing for the midterm.
Your homework for tonight is:
 Prepare a 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 (those are inches, people) notecard (or equivalent) for tomorrow's midterm.
 Prepare for tomorrow's midterm by reviewing the lesson (pdf), reviewing any of the assessments we have taken so far this year, working through the Midterm Online PreAssessment on the Moodle, or any other ways you think would help you prepare. Remember, you can start as early as 7:15 tomorrow if you're in the room and ready to go. (Everyone needs to come in perfectly quiet since others will have already started.
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Today was a short class due to PSAT. We began with our assessment over Writing Linear Equations in PointSlope Form (key, pdf).
We then talked about the midterm (lesson, pdf)
Your homework is:
We then talked about the midterm (lesson, pdf)
Your homework is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 Come to conferences tonight.
 Organize your notebook.
 Review for the midterm on Tuesday, including ompleting the Midterm Online PreAssessment on the Moodle. There are four parts so that you can break it up into shorter sessions if you want, but you should complete all four parts before Monday. Each part should take between 5 and 15 minutes and, as always, you can take them multiple times if you didn't do so well the first time (after seeing the worked out solution, try it again).
 Sometimes, when I'm a little frustrated with things, watching a video like this one gives me a little perspective. You definitely don't have to watch it, but some of you might like it. Have a very good, very safe weekend.
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Tuesday, October 11, 2011
We began with this satisfying opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was figuring out together what was going to be on the midterm (which is next Tuesday), as well as reviewing pointslope a bit.
Your homework is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was figuring out together what was going to be on the midterm (which is next Tuesday), as well as reviewing pointslope a bit.
Your homework is:
 Prepare for the Writing Linear Equations in PointSlope Form
Assessment tomorrow. There are a variety of ways to do that including,
but not limited to: review the online preassessment; review your
notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the
video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find
online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher,
a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a
parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure
you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do
very well on this assessment.
 Organize your notebooks before conferences on Wednesday.
 Make a plan for how you are going to prepare for the midterm next Tuesday (there will be a preassessment for the Midterm on the Moodle beginning tomorrow).
Monday, October 10, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
We began with this pleasing opener (pdf).
Then today's lesson (pdf) was on writing equations in pointslope form to fit data (in this case, life expectancy).
Your homework is:
Then today's lesson (pdf) was on writing equations in pointslope form to fit data (in this case, life expectancy).
Your homework is:
 Finish the lesson (pdf).
 Complete the Writing Linear Equations in PointSlope Form Online PreAssessment on the Moodle.
 Organize your notebooks before conferences on Wednesday. Just a reminder that conferences are Wednesday and Thursday from 4:00  7:30, but that I will only be available on Wednesday evening. If you and your parents can't make it on Wednesday, but still want a conference, please let me know and we can arrange an individual conference.
Friday, October 7, 2011
Friday, October 7, 2011
We began with our assessment over Writing Linear Equations in SlopeIntercept Form and then created the key (pdf). I reminded you that the key would be posted to the blog and that
you should check your results on the portal and sign up for reassessment if
necessary (see below).
Then our lesson (pdf) was looking at equivalent algebraic expressions and the three main forms of linear equations (slopeintercept, pointslope, and standard form).
Your homework is:
Then our lesson (pdf) was looking at equivalent algebraic expressions and the three main forms of linear equations (slopeintercept, pointslope, and standard form).
Your homework is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment. Please note we do not have school next Thursday and Friday due to conferences, so I'd strongly recommend reassessing on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday next week.
Some information you might find interesting:Students who did the preassessment on the Moodle
Score on the Assessment:
5  Five
4.5  Two
Students who did not do the preassessment on the Moodle
Score on the Assessment:
5  One
4.5  Two
3.5  Twelve
3  Five
2.5  One  Reminder: Your Parent/Teacher Conference Reflection on your blog is due before you go to bed on Sunday night.
 Watch and complete the Writing Linear Equations in PointSlope Form video. (You know what to do, and what to write down, right?)
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
We began with our assessment over Graphing Linear Equations Using Slope Intercept Form (key, pdf).
Then the lesson (pdf) was all about using the pointslope form of a linear equation.
Your homework is:
Then the lesson (pdf) was all about using the pointslope form of a linear equation.
Your homework is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 Prepare for the Writing Linear Equations in SlopeIntercept Form Assessment on Friday. There are a variety of ways to do that including,
but not limited to: review the online preassessment; review your
notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the
video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find
online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher,
a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a
parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure
you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do
very well on this assessment.
 On your personal Algebra Reflective Blog, create a new post titled "Parent/Teacher Conference (Fall) Reflection". This post is due before you go to bed Sunday night, but please don't wait until the last minute. Here's your prompt:
Parent/Teacher Conferences are coming up next week. Since these conferences are about you, I think you should be there. It makes very little sense to me that we should have a conference about you and you’re not there, so I’m encouraging your parents to come and to bring you with them. Please bring your Algebra notebook as well, so that we can look at your work if we need to.
Whether you end up attending or not, I want you to spend some time thinking about what you want your parents to know about this class and how you are doing. Here are some questions for you to respond to: Has class met your expectations? Why or why not?
 What’s going well for you?
 What’s challenging for you?
 What could I do as your teacher that would help you be more successful?
 What could you do as a student that would help you be more successful?
 Is there anything your parents can do to help you be more successful?
 Is there anything else you think your parents should know about this class or about how you are doing in this class?
Please be thoughtful and specific in your responses, and please don't wait until the last minute, as I want you to put some real thought into this. The more you put into it, the more valuable it will be for you, me and your parents. Thanks.
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
We began with this lovely opener (pdf).
Then today was a Carnegie Hall Day  practice, practice, practice  lesson (pdf).
Your homework is:
Then today was a Carnegie Hall Day  practice, practice, practice  lesson (pdf).
Your homework is:
 Prepare for the Graphing Linear Equations Using SlopeIntercept Form Assessment tomorrow. There are a variety of ways to do that including,
but not limited to: review the online preassessment; review your
notebook and/or the openers and lessons posted on the blog; review the
video, work some practice problems in your textbook or that you find
online. You can, of course, also get help from me, another math teacher,
a teacher in the Study Center, a peer tutor in the Study Center, or a
parent, sibling or friend. Do whatever works best for you, but make sure
you're prepared. The expectation is that you should all be able to do
very well on this assessment.
 Complete the Writing Linear Equations in SlopeIntercept Form Online PreAssessment on the Moodle. (This is very similar to the assessment we're taking tomorrow, so it will also help review for that one.)
Monday, October 3, 2011
Monday, October 3, 2011
Today's opener (pdf) contained three problems very similar to what's on Wednesday's assessment. It would be a great idea to look over them.
Then for our lesson (pdf) we looked at applying a linear equation in slopeintercept form to the problem of determining how long it takes alcohol to leave the human body. Hopefully you have an even greater appreciation for the dangers of driving under the influence, driving while ability impaired, and just the general knowledge that it takes an awfully long time to get back to normal ability after ingesting alcohol.
While I would hope that as you begin to drive you make good driving decisions at least partly because you don't want to hurt yourself, your friends, or other folks you come into contact with, you might also want to watch the following for more selfish reasons to be smart.
Your homework for tonight is:
Then for our lesson (pdf) we looked at applying a linear equation in slopeintercept form to the problem of determining how long it takes alcohol to leave the human body. Hopefully you have an even greater appreciation for the dangers of driving under the influence, driving while ability impaired, and just the general knowledge that it takes an awfully long time to get back to normal ability after ingesting alcohol.
While I would hope that as you begin to drive you make good driving decisions at least partly because you don't want to hurt yourself, your friends, or other folks you come into contact with, you might also want to watch the following for more selfish reasons to be smart.
Your homework for tonight is:
 Review the lesson
(pdf) from today. Make sure you understand where the slope and yintercept in our equation came from. Then make sure you understand how we substituted in for x when given a time (a certain number of hours after midnight), and how we substituted in for y and solved the resulting equation when we were given a certain BAC (to figure out what time the BAC would drop below a certain level). If you don't understand this, please come in for help ASAP.
 Complete the Graphing Linear Equations Using SlopeIntercept Online PreAssessment on the Moodle.
 Finish the blog post that was assigned on Friday if you haven't done that yet. It's due before you go to bed tonight.
 Watch and complete the Writing Linear Equations in SlopeIntercept Form video (you know what to do).
Friday, September 30, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
We began with our assessment over Slope/Rate of Change and then created the key
(pdf). I reminded you that the key would be posted to the blog and that
you should check your results on the portal and sign up for reassessment if
necessary (see below). I have to say, I was pretty disappointed in the results.
Then our lesson (pdf) was to look once again at some of our application problems and make sure we understand the idea of slope/rate of change, and then try to apply that to more abstract equations.
Your homework for Monday is:
Then our lesson (pdf) was to look once again at some of our application problems and make sure we understand the idea of slope/rate of change, and then try to apply that to more abstract equations.
Your homework for Monday is:
 Check the portal
for the results of your assessment, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.
 If you haven't read Fisch Food for Thought (Part 2), please take 5 minutes and read it. Thanks.
 Watch and complete the Graphing Linear Equations Using SlopeIntercept Form video. (You know what to do, and what to write down, right?)
 On your personal Algebra Reflective Blog, create a new post titled "Slope". In this post, tell me everything you know about slope, and everything you think someone else who was taking Algebra needs to know about slope. (Hint: this is going to be more than one sentence. A lot more. It might even include some diagrams/pictures.) This should be completed before you go to bed on Monday night (but I would highly recommend you complete it this weekend.) Make this good, the world is reading and you want to make a good impression.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Fisch Food for Thought (Part 2)
First, if you haven't read Fisch Food for Thought Part 1, please take 5 minutes and go read that first. Go ahead, read it, I'll wait.
So in that previous post I talked a bit about why I don't want to be looking over your shoulder all of the time to "check up on you," and why I think the limited amount of homework I assign you is hopefully meaningful, and why it's important that you do it. In this post I want to talk a little bit about how I'll decide if I'm "successful" with you guys in this class.
I won’t think I’m a success if you get a good grade in Algebra, although I certainly hope you do and I’m going to try really hard to help you do that. I won’t think I’m a success if you score well on tests like CSAP or ACT, although I hope you do, and even though a lot of wellintentioned people think that’s how I should define success. I won’t even think I’m a success if you go to a good college and then get a good job, although I certainly want you to do that because I’d like to retire someday and I need you all to have good jobs to support me.
No, I’ll consider myself successful if you turn out to be good, kind, caring adults. If you’re a good spouse, child and parent. If you contribute to the world and to your community and help those around you. If you participate. And learn.
And here’s the deal. The education that I received was a pretty good one. But it’s not good enough for you guys. Not anymore. You see, in a rapidly changing, information abundant world, the people who are going to be successful – both professionally and personally – are the learners. And by “learners” I don’t mean people who just learn what we teach you here at AHS.
Now, I want to be clear, that doesn’t mean I don’t think you should learn what we teach you here at AHS. I don’t want you to go to your second period teacher, raise your hand, and say, “Mr. Fisch said I don’t need to learn what you’re teaching.” Please, don’t do that. That’s not at all what I’m saying. Your teachers here work very hard trying to share important, meaningful and relevant knowledge and skills.
And that’s important, but it’s not enough. Because to be successful in the 21st century you’re going to have to be a learner, you’re going to have to learn how to learn, and go after things on your own. As I talked about in the previous post, you’re going to have to be independent, curious, passionate learners, who don’t just sit back and wait for someone to tell them what they’re supposed to know, but who go out and try to figure things out for yourself. Who pursue your interests, your goals, your passions with intensity, and who actively participate in everything you do. Who go out and find other learners who are passionate about what you are passionate about and learn from them – and alongside them.
To quote myself (sorry), the world has shifted. The world of school, and the world of work, and the world in general has shifted, and so I need you to shift as well, and that’s what I’m trying to do in this class. I’m trying to get you to be actively involved in your own education, to be independent and curious learners in mathematics, even if Algebra is never going to be your favorite subject.
I believe you need the skills I’m trying to get you to learn for three main reasons.
First, to be a successful citizen in the 21st century you have to be numerate. In order to deal with all the data that is going to get thrown at you, and to make good, responsible, effective decisions, you’re going to need a lot of the skills we’re learning in Algebra. And, frankly, that’s not necessarily true about all the math classes you’ll take. Honestly, if you take Trig and PreCalc (typically what you'll take your senior year), the skills you learn there are very important if you go into the math and sciences, but perhaps not so much daytoday life for most of you (some folks will disagree with that). But the skills we learn in Algebra you’ll be using every day to make sense of all that data in the world, to be informed voters and decision makers.
The second reason to learn the skills is if you decide that you are passionate about math and science, you need these skills in order to progress to more complex topics and to go deeper.
The third reason – and it’s the one I think is least important but you may think is the most important – is that right now in the short term you have to learn these skills to get a good grade in this class, to do well in school, and to get into college if that’s what you choose. So while I prefer that you focus on the first two reasons, this one is still a valid one for many of you.
So, again, I’m asking you to please, please consider what kind of future you want, not just for yourself, but for those around you, and make an effort to be as independent, as curious, as responsible, as passionate of a learner that you can be.
I just defined what I think success would look like for me in this class, what would success look like for you?
So in that previous post I talked a bit about why I don't want to be looking over your shoulder all of the time to "check up on you," and why I think the limited amount of homework I assign you is hopefully meaningful, and why it's important that you do it. In this post I want to talk a little bit about how I'll decide if I'm "successful" with you guys in this class.
I won’t think I’m a success if you get a good grade in Algebra, although I certainly hope you do and I’m going to try really hard to help you do that. I won’t think I’m a success if you score well on tests like CSAP or ACT, although I hope you do, and even though a lot of wellintentioned people think that’s how I should define success. I won’t even think I’m a success if you go to a good college and then get a good job, although I certainly want you to do that because I’d like to retire someday and I need you all to have good jobs to support me.
No, I’ll consider myself successful if you turn out to be good, kind, caring adults. If you’re a good spouse, child and parent. If you contribute to the world and to your community and help those around you. If you participate. And learn.
And here’s the deal. The education that I received was a pretty good one. But it’s not good enough for you guys. Not anymore. You see, in a rapidly changing, information abundant world, the people who are going to be successful – both professionally and personally – are the learners. And by “learners” I don’t mean people who just learn what we teach you here at AHS.
Now, I want to be clear, that doesn’t mean I don’t think you should learn what we teach you here at AHS. I don’t want you to go to your second period teacher, raise your hand, and say, “Mr. Fisch said I don’t need to learn what you’re teaching.” Please, don’t do that. That’s not at all what I’m saying. Your teachers here work very hard trying to share important, meaningful and relevant knowledge and skills.
And that’s important, but it’s not enough. Because to be successful in the 21st century you’re going to have to be a learner, you’re going to have to learn how to learn, and go after things on your own. As I talked about in the previous post, you’re going to have to be independent, curious, passionate learners, who don’t just sit back and wait for someone to tell them what they’re supposed to know, but who go out and try to figure things out for yourself. Who pursue your interests, your goals, your passions with intensity, and who actively participate in everything you do. Who go out and find other learners who are passionate about what you are passionate about and learn from them – and alongside them.
To quote myself (sorry), the world has shifted. The world of school, and the world of work, and the world in general has shifted, and so I need you to shift as well, and that’s what I’m trying to do in this class. I’m trying to get you to be actively involved in your own education, to be independent and curious learners in mathematics, even if Algebra is never going to be your favorite subject.
I believe you need the skills I’m trying to get you to learn for three main reasons.
First, to be a successful citizen in the 21st century you have to be numerate. In order to deal with all the data that is going to get thrown at you, and to make good, responsible, effective decisions, you’re going to need a lot of the skills we’re learning in Algebra. And, frankly, that’s not necessarily true about all the math classes you’ll take. Honestly, if you take Trig and PreCalc (typically what you'll take your senior year), the skills you learn there are very important if you go into the math and sciences, but perhaps not so much daytoday life for most of you (some folks will disagree with that). But the skills we learn in Algebra you’ll be using every day to make sense of all that data in the world, to be informed voters and decision makers.
The second reason to learn the skills is if you decide that you are passionate about math and science, you need these skills in order to progress to more complex topics and to go deeper.
The third reason – and it’s the one I think is least important but you may think is the most important – is that right now in the short term you have to learn these skills to get a good grade in this class, to do well in school, and to get into college if that’s what you choose. So while I prefer that you focus on the first two reasons, this one is still a valid one for many of you.
So, again, I’m asking you to please, please consider what kind of future you want, not just for yourself, but for those around you, and make an effort to be as independent, as curious, as responsible, as passionate of a learner that you can be.
I just defined what I think success would look like for me in this class, what would success look like for you?
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