'Tis been a while since I updates this, although I am sure few (if any) people read these. Our countdown is official, 26 days until the summertime slide into forgotten facts and weeks on end of doing absolutely nothing. We do our best not to "check out" early and keep moving toward the goal line.
This Friday is 4th quarter midterm and my classes couldn't be more disparate. The Sophomores of Algebra II are working steadily towards their 3rd batch of well-earned brownies, have a collective 90% homework completion rate (class median is 100%!), and are sporting a record-breaking number of A's and B's. We have passed through the fires of polynomial functions, are coasting through logarithms, and are looking forward to the monkey-button-pushing of probability/statistics. A better crew I cannot ask for.
The Freshmen of Algebra I continue to be under the impression that homework is optional and, with a class average (and median) homework completion at a head-shaking 65%, one-third of all assignments aren't even attempted. The natural result of this is a class full of D's and C's, with more failing grades than I am comfortable admitting to. Sure, we have fun in class, but the maturity gap is definitely telling in study habits and work ethic.
So now the race is on. A mere four weeks until finals, it is time to kick everything into high gear, fight for every point. I remind everyone of the basic tenets of my classroom:
*27+ hours of outside-class assistance each week, plus all-hours Q&A via Remind
*Students receive a review that looks, problem for problem, just like the test
*Students allowed one sheet of notes for every test (basically, tell themselves how to DO the test)
*Anyone with 80+% homework completion for the chapter is eligible for a retest
*Retests are zero risk, I take the higher score of the two
*Finals will be cumulative (cover ALL course material) but we have a week of review prior to exams
Good luck to all, and may the Force be with you!
Second semester is well underway, with mixed results. Algebra II is absolutely annihilating me in Brownie Points, plus has a record number of A's and B's. The freshmen of Algebra I are struggling to learn that homework is NOT optional and that I hold them accountable to all levels of proficiency, but that is just a part of adjusting to high school. In all cases, kids are getting used to the routine, finding out how the standards-referenced grading model works, and that the big scary guy in front of the room is really just a goofy nerd.
Moving into parent-teacher conferences, I just want to remind folks that 90% of all questions can be answered right here on the website. Syllabus, grading information (and examples), textbook links, instructions to sign up for Remind, all solution manuals, and more are found here to head off most questions. Most importantly, I offer loads of extra assistance outside of class, retests, and will work with anyone who just talks to me!
Halfway through the first quarter, parent teacher conferences upon us, and I realize I haven't been updating the website because of how busy things are (not sure anyone is reading, though). So here's the short, short version:
The first day of school is here! Before anything else, I want students/parents to take care of these things:
We have loads to do, so let's get this party started!
"The worst thing about the zombie apocalypse will be pretending that I'm not excited."