We reviewed for the final exam by reviewing the second half of second semester (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Finish the second semester review worksheet.

Prepare your 3 by 5 note card for the final exam.

Study for the final exam - first thing on Monday morning. Make sure you bring your Algebra book to turn in, your note card, a calculator, two pencil, and something to work on quietly if you finish early.

We began with our assessment over Solving Rational Equations (key, pdf).

We then began reviewing for the final exam by reviewing some of what we learned first semester (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Check the portal
for the results of your assessments last week, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.

Review for final. #1-17, 38, 39 on the review worksheet.

We began with our assessment over Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions (key, pdf).

We then learned about Solving Rational Equations (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Check the portal
for the results of your assessments last week, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.

We had a shortened class period today due to Juniors taking the State ACT.

We began with our assessment over Multiplying, Dividing and Simplifying Rational Expressions (key, pdf).

We then spent a few minutes reviewing adding and subtracting rational expressions (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Check the portal
for the results of your assessments last week, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.

We will have a common assessment over factoring tomorrow - you might take a few minutes to review that (GCF, x-box, difference of squares).

Complete the Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

We then learned about Adding and Subtracting Rational Expressions (lesson, pdf), as well as a bit of review of multiplying, dividing and simplifying rational expressions.

Your homework is:

Prepare for the Multiplying, Dividing and Simplifying Rational Expressions assessment tomorrow.

Just like for first semester, I think an excellent strategy to begin studying for the final is to watch one video per day between now and the final. Here's the first one.

We began with our assessment over the Quadratic Formula (key, pdf).

We then learned about simplifying rational expressions (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Check the portal
for the results of your assessments last week, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.

We began with our assessment over Graphing Quadratic Equations (key, pdf).

We then practiced using the Quadratic Formula (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Check the portal
for the results of your assessments last week, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.

Complete the Quadratic Formula Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

We began with our assessment over the Pythagorean Theorem (key, pdf).

We then practiced graphing quadratic equations in the form y = ax^{2} + c and started learning about graphing quadratic equations in the form y = ax^{2} + bx + c (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Check the portal
for the results of your assessments last week, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.

We began with our assessment over Simplifying Radicals (key, pdf).

We then learned a bit about the Pythagorean Theorem (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Check the portal
for the results of your assessments last week, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.

One of the problems I think we have in schools is that we train students to fear failure, to avoid it at all costs. Now, to be clear, I'm not suggesting you go out and fail all your classes. But I am suggesting that you should take some risks in your learning. That instead of avoiding things that are hard (because you might fail), you challenge yourself to step up and take on things that are difficult.

I think sometimes students would rather not try (and fail) than try and fail. In the first option it's easy to say, "Oh, I just didn't try." But in the second option it's much harder, because you have to admit that you did try and still weren't successful. But here's the key - almost anyone who has done anything worthwhile has failed. Not just once, but multiple times. We often learn more from trying something and not succeeding than we do from trying something and succeeding, especially if we limit ourselves to only trying "easy" things that we know we'll be successful at.

Here are a couple of videos that illustrate this point that I think are worth your time. The first is from the TED Conference I attended, which speaker Brene Brown (who also has an excellent TED Talk) described this way:

You know what the big secret about TED is? . . . This is like the failure conference. No, it is. You know why this place is amazing? Because very few people here are afraid to fail. And no one who gets on stage, so far that I've seen, has not failed. I've failed miserably, many times.

The key is still to try hard things, even knowing that you might fail, but then learning from it. So the first video is from TED Fellow Myshkin Ingawale. It's a little over 6 minutes, so please take the time to watch it. The important point to realize is that he built this device - and it failed. So then he built it 32 more times until it worked. After watching this video, think how important his invention is and how many times he had to "fail" to get a working version.

The second video is designed to be motivational, but I still think it has a good message about "failure."

So, what are you willing to try (and perhaps fail) at?

We began with our assessment over Solving Quadratic Equations by Factoring (key, pdf).

We then reviewed simplifying radicals (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Check the portal
for the results of your assessments last week, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.

Prepare for the Simplifying Radicals Assessment on Friday.

Thought I'd share this to give you a taste of the conference I attended a couple of weeks ago. If you're curious, you can learn about many different things on TED's site.

Today is Pi Day. (March 14th. Which is 3-14. Which is sort of like 3.14. Which is sort of like Pi. Sort of.) Some folks thing Pi is overrated and think we should celebrate Tau Day.

Today was the midterm. I will post the key as soon as everyone has taken it.

Homework:

Check the portal
for the results of the midterm. There will not be any re-assessment on the midterm.

Make a plan for the rest of the semester. What are you doing well that you should continue doing well? What can you improve on so that you can be even more successful?

We then continued our review for the midterm (lesson, pdf). Our midterm is tomorrow.

Your homework is:

Review for the midterm. Look over your notes, work some problems from
Coolmath or from the textbook, revisit the Moodle and take any of the
pre-assessments we've done so far this semester, go over the review worksheets, or prepare some other
way you think will help you. Make sure you study and are prepared for the midterm, including bringing a 3 by 5 note card with whatever you think might help you on it and a calculator with you to the midterm. You can start as early as 7:10 am if you wish.

We then continued our review for the midterm (lesson, pdf). Our midterm will be on Tuesday, March 13th.

Your homework is:

Review for the midterm. Look over your notes, work some problems from
Coolmath or from the textbook, revisit the Moodle and take any of the
pre-assessments we've done so far this semester, go over the review worksheet, or prepare some other
way you think will help you.

Shortened class today due to TCAP. We began with our common assessment over exponents (key, pdf).

We then reviewed some more for the midterm (lesson, pdf). Our midterm will be on Tuesday, March 13th. Our next class will be on Friday of this week.

Your homework is:

Review for the midterm. Look over your notes, work some problems from Coolmath or from the textbook, revisit the Moodle and take any of the pre-assessments we've done so far this semester, or prepare some other way you think will help you.

Shortened class today due to TCAP. We began with this opener (pdf).

We then began our review for the midterm (lesson, pdf). Our midterm will be on Tuesday, March 13th.

We also talked about how we would have a common assessment tomorrow over exponents.

Your homework is:

Please prepare for the common assessment tomorrow over exponents. You can look over what we did today, your old notes, or go to the Moodle and retake the online pre-assessments we took earlier this semester over exponents.

Check the portal
for the results of your assessments last week, fill out your student checklist
with your results, and make a plan for retake (if necessary),
including making an appointment.

We began with our assessment over Special Products and Factors (key, pdf).

We then reviewed a bit of Algebra and did some TCAP Review (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

I won't have the results posted until I get back next week, but you
should hopefully know how you did. If you need to re-assess, make an appointment for next week.

Remember that next week is TCAP so we have an altered schedule. Algebra will meet on Monday, Tuesday and Friday next week.

We began with our assessment over Factoring ax^2 + bx + c (key, pdf).

We then reviewed special products and factors (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

I won't have the results posted until I get back next week, but you should hopefully know how you did. If you need to re-assess, make an appointment for next week.

Prepare for your assessment over Special Products and Factors.

We began with our assessment over Multiplying Polynomials (key, pdf).

We then learned about Special Products and Factors (lesson, pdf).

Just a reminder that I won't be here next week, but Mrs. Blechschmidt will be.

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.

Complete the Factoring ax^2 + bx + c Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

Do as many of the Coolmath practice problems as you want (links in Wednesday's lesson
pdf). There are practice problems on adding and subtracting
polynomials, multiplying polynomials, factoring using GCF, factoring by
grouping, and factoring trinomials using x-box. You can add to that list factoring difference of squares.

We then reviewed everything we've learned about polynomials up to this point (lesson, pdf).

Your homework is:

Prepare for the Multiplying Polynomials Assessment tomorrow.

Do as many of the Coolmath practice problems as you want (links in the lesson pdf). There are practice problems on adding and subtracting polynomials, multiplying polynomials, factoring using GCF, factoring by grouping, and factoring trinomials using x-box.

No later than by midnight on Monday, complete your reflection for parent/teacher conferences. You can choose to do this in a variety of ways, but all involve word-processing it: You can create a google doc and share it with me; you can type it up in Microsoft Word and email it to me as an attachment; you can type it up and copy and paste it into the body of an email; you can write it as a blog post on your Algebra blog and then send me the URL; or you can come up with some other creative way.

Write to the following prompt (but don't be limited by it - you can
write about additional stuff as well if you feel it's important):

Parent/Teacher Conferences are coming up next week. I will not be available that night to meet with your parents. If your parents want a conference, they can schedule a face-to-face conference in the following weeks, or we could do a phone or skype conference if they'd prefer.

Whether they want a conference or not, I'd like you to respond to the following questions (all in terms of second semester):

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.

We began with our assessment over Adding and Subtracting Polynomials (key, pdf).

We then explored factoring trinomials using area models (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.

We began with our assessment over Perimeter, Circumference and Area (key, pdf).

We then explored multiplying polynomials by looking at area models (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.

If you want, do a few practice problems with Multiplying Polynomials on Coolmath. Do as many (or as few) as you think you need to to master Multiplying Polynomials.

The next six weeks can be pretty rough for students, both due to our schedule and due to the content in your various classes.

First, let's look at the schedule for Algebra for the next six weeks:

This week we meet for 2.5 days (PLC day on Wednesday, furlough day on Friday).

Next week we meet for 3 days (Presidents' Day on Monday).

The next week after that we meet for 3 days (Parent-Teacher Conferences Thursday night, no school on Friday).

The next week we only meet three days, and two of those are shortened classes (due to TCAP, we meet Monday and Tuesday afternoons for a shortened class and Friday regular time).

Then the fifth week we finally have a full week (four days of Algebra.)

The sixth week is a full week, but we have a shortened class on Friday for the Arapaho Assembly, and it's the week before Spring Break which means lots of stuff will be due in many of your classes.

With all of those disruptions to our schedule, it can be very hard to stay on track (and that's assuming you don't get sick/miss class for any reason).

Second, the content. In Algebra we'll be learning about polynomials, including factoring, which is a topic that is typically tricky for many students. We'll also be taking our midterm. In your other classes teachers will also likely be trying to finish up units before Spring Break.

When you put these together it often turns into a very rough six weeks for students, particularly for freshmen who haven't been through it before (in high school, anyway). You really, really, really need to focus and stay on top of things over the next six weeks. If you do, you'll be able to enjoy Spring Break and come back refreshed and ready to learn for the remainder of the school year. If you don't, you'll end up very stressed, your grades are likely to go down (as will your enjoyment of Spring Break), and most importantly your learning will suffer.

So make a plan for how you are going to stay focused and on top of things. Be sure to come in for help when you need it (not just my class, but all of your classes), or if you just need to talk. And help each other out; remember, Warriors always take care of one another (and themselves). This is an excellent time to put that into practice.

If you have about 6 minutes, I think you might find this video worth your while. I think he shares a great message about the impact you can have on others' lives - often without even realizing it.

So what do you think, do you want to try to be an everyday leader? Can you create a lollipop moment today?

We began with our assessment over Polygon Angle Sums (key, pdf).

We then learned about Adding and Subtracting Polynomials (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.

Complete the Perimeter, Circumference and Area Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle. Please note our assessment will be on Monday.

Prepare for the Perimeter, Circumference and Area assessment on Monday.

Finish the review worksheet I gave you on Wednesday (if you haven't already).

If you want, do a few practice problems with Adding and Subtracting Polynomials on Coolmath. Do as many (or as few) as you think you need to to master Adding and Subtracting Polynomials.

I ran across this tonight and thought some of you might enjoy it. It's a slightly different take similar to the Powers of 10 videos we looked at when learning about exponents. Enjoy!

We began with our assessment over Polygons (key, pdf).

We then learned about Perimeter, Circumference and Area (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.

Prepare for the Polygon Angle Sums Assessment on Friday.

Finish the Perimeter, Circumference and Area worksheet you worked on in class.

Work on the Review Worksheet I handed out. I would recommend finishing it before Friday, but definitely by Monday.

Happy snow day. Please enjoy the unscheduled extra day off, but before Monday please do problems 4 - 7 on p. 3 of Wednesday's lesson (pdf) on triangles (we already did 1-3 together in class). Look back at your notes, or at pages 1 and 2 of the lesson, or use the Internet to help you figure it out. You can even email, call, text or skype me as well.

Note: This isn't on the Moodle, nor do you need to email it to me, please just work out the problems in your notebook.

See you on Monday. Have a very good, very safe, weekend.

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.

We began with our assessment over Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion (key, pdf).

We then reviewed Box-and-Whiskers graphs, Stem-and-Leaf Plots, and Histograms (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.

Complete the Data Graphs Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

We then learned about Stem-and-Leaf Plots and Histograms (lesson, pdf).

Your homework for Monday is:

Prepare for the Measures of Central Tendency and Dispersion Assessment. Please study.

Review your notes on box-and-whiskers, stem-and-leaf, and histograms.

Apple released their latest quarterly results this week and they were rather impressive. Here are just some of the numbers:

It sold 37.04 million iPhones – its flagship product – and 15.43 million iPad tablets, doubling from a year earlier and easily outpacing already heightened expectations for a strong holiday season. That helped swell its warchest of cash and securities to almost $100 billion – more than enough to plug December’s U.S. budget deficit and level with California’s 2012/13 spending plan.

Please write each of those big numbers in scientific notation.

We began with our assessment over Permutations and Combinations (key, pdf).

We then learned about Box-and-Whiskers graphs (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.

Complete the Measures of Central Tendency Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

We began with our assessment over Probability and Odds (key, pdf).

We then reviewed Permutations and Combinations (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.

Complete the Permutations and Combinations Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

Play around with the Cold War Kids video and try to answer the two questions from the lesson:

a) If we set all of the tracks before we start, how many different videos could we watch?

b) How many clips did each musician have to record?

c) Bonus question: If we started watching all the possible different
versions we could watch starting Tuesday in class, and only watched
during our Algebra class (and did nothing else - you wish), on what day
and at what time would we finish watching the videos? (Helpful link: AHS Calendar)

Here are two interesting articles about probability that you might be interested in.

5 Worries Parents Should Drop, and 5 They Shouldn't
looks at what parents typically fear will happen to their kids (but is
actually pretty unlikely), and what they should be concerned about
(because they have a higher probability of happening).

Chances Are
looks at a conditional probability problem involving the likelihood of
having breast cancer is you have a positive mammogram. We won't be
getting into conditional probability this year, but it's still an
interesting and important article for you to see how probability is
something you need a good handle on in order to make good health care
decisions.

We began with our assessment over Scientific Notation (key, pdf).

We then reviewed how to solve Systems of Equations from first semester (lesson, pdf).

Your homework for Tuesday (no school on Monday):

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.

This part is not due until Wednesday, but I would highly recommend you do it this weekend. Complete the Systems of Equations Math Write (handout given in class, but here's a PDF of it just in case). Please carefully follow the directions on the handout. To turn it in, you can either print it out, email it, or compose it in Google Docs and then share the Google Doc with me (share it with my email address).

We began with our assessment over Zero and Negative Exponents (key, pdf).

We then practiced with scientific notation and explored the effects of exponential growth on a retirement program (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.

On your personal blog, create a new post titled: "Scientific Notation"
In the post explain to your reader how to solve this problem:

Multiply, then write your answer in scientific notation: (4.5 x 10^{11})(3.1 x 10^{4})

Make sure you thoroughly explain the steps and what you are doing so that someone that doesn't know how to do scientific notation can understand it.
(Hint: Just in case, the correct answer is 1.395 x 10^{16}).

Remember, three ways you can "type" exponents on the blog:

1) Use the ^ key (shift-6). So 5^2 is 5 to the second power. This is the easiest way and probably the way most of you will do it.

3) If you're into HTML, the code for superscript is <sup>, so you have to switch to HTML mode (there's a button at the top of your blog post window that says Compose, right next to it is HTML) and insert the code on the HTML screen. The code would look like this: 5 <sup>2</sup> When you switch back to the compose window, you'll see a nicely done exponent.

Then visit the moodle and paste in the URL of your blog post.

Prepare for the Scientific Notation Assessment on Friday . Please study.

We began with our assessment over Exponent Properties Involving Quotients (key, pdf).

We reviewed zero and negative exponents and then explored scientific notation a bit (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 Scientific Notation Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

Prepare for the Zero and Negative Exponents Assessment tomorrow. We'll start with this first thing - so please study.

We began with our assessment over Exponent Properties Involving Products (key, pdf).

We reviewed exponents involving quotients and zero and negative exponents. We then explored exponential decay in the context of the level of caffeine in your blood stream (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.

Finish steps 7-9 on the Caffeine Problem (page 4 of the lesson (pdf)

Complete the Define and Use Zero and Negative Exponents Online Pre-Assessment on the Moodle.

Prepare for the Exponent Properties Involving Quotients Assessment tomorrow. We'll start with this first thing tomorrow - so please study.
Maybe 10-15 minutes tonight, and another 5 minutes tomorrow morning
before class if you need it.

Watch and Complete the Scientific Notation video. Remember to complete the self-check problems in your notebook, then submit the answers to those on the Moodle.

Prepare for the Exponent Properties Involving Products Assessment on Monday. We'll start with this first thing on Monday - so please study. Maybe 10-15 minutes Sunday night, and another 5 minutes Monday morning before class if you need it.

Remember what I said at the end of class. Probably sometime tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon I'll go in and check to see who's caught up on homework (through what was due by today). If you're not, then I just might feel the need to contact your parents and let them know . . .

This not an assignment, but just for fun: The letters A, H, and T represent digits. If THAT = (AH)(HA), what is THAT?

We then talked about how first semester went and about adjustments for second semester. We then learned a bit about multiplying with exponents (lesson, pdf).

Recall that there are three main parts to the video: an examples and
explanation part, a Guided Practice part, and a Self-Check part.

Examples and Explanation: Just what it sounds like. I explain how to
do the problems and work through some examples. You don't need to write
anything down (unless you want to), just watch, listen and learn. Pause
the video and replay parts if you need to.

Guided Practice: I give you a problem, then ask you a series of
questions with about 5 second pauses between questions for you to think
about it and answer it for yourself. If you need to, pause the video to
give yourself more time. Again, you don't have to write anything down
here (although you can and it's often a good idea to)

Self-Check: I give you a problem, ask you to pause the video, write
the problem down in your notebook and solve it, then play the video
again to check your work. You may need to pause the video again to view
the solution if you need more time. These problems you definitely need
to write down in your notebook and then - this part is new - go to the Moodle and enter your answers for the self-check problems on the Moodle.

If you haven't turned them in yet, remember that your final exam corrections are due by Friday (Haley and Pedro, you do not have to do these.)

The
basic structure of our class will be the same. My views on homework
haven't changed - I really don't think homework should be a big part of
your grade (it's a time to practice and get better, not get graded) -
and I also don't want to take class time just to check to make sure
you've done it (I think there are better uses of our class time).

Based
on the feedback that many of you gave me on the evaluation, however,
you have a different opinion, so I'm going to compromise a bit. I'm
going to bump up the "Preparation" category to 15% of your grade (from
10%), and drop the Skills Assessment to 67.5% and the Final Exam to
17.5%. Each day we have class you will have some kind of homework
assignment that you'll need to submit on the Moodle that will be graded
for completion.

For
the homework videos, you'll still need to watch them and complete the
self-check problems in your notebook, but now I'm going to ask you to
submit the answers to the self-check problems on the Moodle. (That way I
don't have to take class time to check that you've done them.)

The online pre-assessments will still be on the Moodle, but now I will grade them (again, for completion).

On
nights when you don't have a video or a pre-assessment, you'll have
some other short assignment - perhaps a couple of homework problems or a
blog post - and you'll submit that on the Moodle as well (if it's a
blog post, you'll submit the URL on the Moodle).

Other
than that, things will be pretty similar to first semester. Please read
through the course expectations again to re-familiarize
yourself with them. One word of caution, second semester is a bit harder
for many students. Most of the topics we covered first semester you had
at least some exposure to before. Most of the topics in second
semester, however, will be new to you. So I encourage you to really stay
on top of things, come in for help when you need it, and do a good job
on your re-assessments if and when they are necessary.

Once you feel like you completely understand these changes for second semester, please fill out this form to indicate your understanding.