## 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.

1. 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 pre-assessment; 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.

2. Complete the Essential Learning #3 Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

3. Review Friday's lesson/video (solving a system by graphing) and today's lesson (solving by substitution).

4. 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.

1. Complete the Parallel and Perpendicular Lines Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle. Please come to class on Monday with any questions you have.

3. 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!).

1. 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.
2. 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
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 literal-minded, 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?
Start-ups 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.

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 résumés).
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 risk-takers, to look for the underlying connections and strive for true understanding, not just "complete assignments" and "get the points."
You're going to have to be creative, risk-taking 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 self-directed 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 top-drawer 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 not-so-good blog post looks like.

1. 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 pre-assessment; 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.

2. Finish the last page (10,000-meter 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 five-number summaries to some real-world data and learning about one way to calculate a best-fit line.

1. Complete the Writing Linear Equations in Standard Form Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle. Please come to class tomorrow with any questions you have.

2. Review today's lesson (pdf).

3. 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 front-page story. Lots of discussion about median income, as well as the effect inflation has on purchasing power.
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.

1. Watch and complete the Writing Linear Equations in Standard Form video. Please make sure you give this your best effort and complete the self-check problems and have them with you on Monday.

2. 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

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

You matter.

My cell phone: 720-ToFisch (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.

1. 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).

1. Even though you can't re-assess 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.

2.  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.

1. Prepare a 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 (those are inches, people) notecard (or equivalent) for tomorrow's midterm.

2. 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 Pre-Assessment 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 Point-Slope Form (key, pdf).

We then talked about the midterm (lesson, pdf)

1. 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.

2. Come to conferences tonight.

4. Review for the midterm on Tuesday, including ompleting the Midterm Online Pre-Assessment 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).

5. 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 point-slope a bit.

1. Prepare for the Writing Linear Equations in Point-Slope Form Assessment tomorrow. There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to: review the online pre-assessment; 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.

2. Organize your notebooks before conferences on Wednesday.

3. Make a plan for how you are going to prepare for the midterm next Tuesday (there will be a pre-assessment 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 point-slope form to fit data (in this case, life expectancy).

1. Finish the lesson (pdf).

2. Complete the Writing Linear Equations in Point-Slope Form Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

3. 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 Slope-Intercept 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 re-assessment if necessary (see below).

Then our lesson (pdf) was looking at equivalent algebraic expressions and the three main forms of linear equations (slope-intercept, point-slope, and standard form).

1. 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 re-assessing on Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday next week.

Some information you might find interesting:
Students who did the pre-assessment on the Moodle

Score on the Assessment:
5 - Five
4.5 - Two

Students who did not do the pre-assessment on the Moodle

Score on the Assessment:
5 - One
4.5 - Two
3.5 - Twelve
3 - Five
2.5 - One
2. Reminder: Your Parent/Teacher Conference Reflection on your blog is due before you go to bed on Sunday night.

3. Watch and complete the Writing Linear Equations in Point-Slope 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 point-slope form of a linear equation.

1. 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.

2. Prepare for the Writing Linear Equations in Slope-Intercept Form Assessment on Friday. There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to: review the online pre-assessment; 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.

3. 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 you do as a student that would help you be more successful?

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).

1. Prepare for the Graphing Linear Equations Using Slope-Intercept Form Assessment tomorrow. There are a variety of ways to do that including, but not limited to: review the online pre-assessment; 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.

2. Complete the Writing Linear Equations in Slope-Intercept Form Online Pre-Assessment 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 slope-intercept 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.