October 2010 Blog Posts (14)

Day 1 Face-to-Face, Year 2 Reflection

Whew! Only one day down, and I've got so much information swimming in my head, I don't even know where to start.

Looking at the various components of creating a Math-Talk Community was a great refresher for something that I learned in grad school, but I really needed the reminder through the mathematical aspect. My group discussed questioning, and I realized that my "functions-based approach" classroom is conducive to some great questioning. I find myself as more of a…

Added by Beverly George on October 30, 2010 at 8:55pm — No Comments

SBG year 1 continued

We have 4 weeks until the end of our first trimester. I am still having new experiences with standards-based grading and tweaking as I go.

1. Some of my classes need a concrete number of problems to do some days. They don't yet have the responsibility necessary to do what is in their best interest. This is not all classes or all days, but sometimes I need to tell them to do 12 problems or come in at lunch.

2. The frustration that my students had last year before, during, and… Continue

Added by Sean Karsten on October 28, 2010 at 4:55pm — No Comments


I just started taking this online A4A class. It has required me to join the A4A social network. I am really looking forward to getting more ideas on helping my students to become successful in Algebra. I am really looking for that magic key to helping every student to understand Algebra. If anyone knows of one...please let me know. I am looking forward to working with each of you and learning more. Thank you.

Added by Debby on October 26, 2010 at 9:37pm — No Comments

Typing a ÷ sign --- the easy way

On your keyboard make sure the Num Lock is on, then hold down the Alt key and type 0247 on the number pad of your keyboard, release the Alt key and you should see ÷.

Or go to to the Start menu select Character Map from the Accessories, System Tools and use it to copy and paste your ÷.

Added by KC Mowrey on October 25, 2010 at 8:12pm — 1 Comment

Interesting Trivia

This probably is not related to Algebra, but it is interesting enough to share. John Chandonet sent me an e-mail message a few days ago that stated...

An interesting fact about October 2010: This October has 5 fridays, 5 saturdays and 5 sundays, all in…


Added by Kara Roberts on October 19, 2010 at 3:48pm — 3 Comments

Lack of basic skills impeding learning

I do realize that as educators we are supposed to push students to do higher order mathematics. I also have seen studies (and even experienced for myself) that show that students who have difficulty performing basic arithmetic can successfully demonstrate knowledge of deeper mathematics. But I am still struggling with students who can not do any basic arithmetic. Although I allow calculator use, I cringe when students grab the calculator to multiply 8 and 6. It reflects poorly upon the school… Continue

Added by Patricia Ragsdale on October 19, 2010 at 12:30pm — 5 Comments

Standards-based grading and conferences

We had our first round of parent-teacher conferences this past Thursday. Let me tell you that once I was able to explain my new grading system it really simplified my conferences. The individual student reports we are able to print from Powerschool were simplified so parents could understand them. The best part of the system is that I was able to tell parents exactly what the students could do to improve their grades.

No matter how low the grade is at the halfway point, the grade the… Continue

Added by Sean Karsten on October 17, 2010 at 2:37pm — No Comments

Shapes of Algebra!!!

Ok, so I'm pretty excited that we've got the basics reviewed in my 8th grade algebra class... now, we're ready for the Shapes of Algebra, and I'm honestly VERY excited!! Last year, I did this activity in the first week of school, and I spent a LOT of time directing rather than letting the students explore the activity. They were just SO fresh off of summer, and their brains just were NOT ready for that higher level thinking.

Now that we've pushed through that phase (several…

Added by Beverly George on October 16, 2010 at 4:57pm — 2 Comments

Technology: Good or Bad?

Technology certainly has it's benefits in the world of education, but sometimes I wonder how beneficial it is for students to totally depend upon it. Students who cannot function without a calculator are of great concern to me. I strive daily to empower students to believe in their basic ability to add, subtract, multiply and divide without using a calculator. However, graphing and finding solutions to an equation are best performed by the graphing calculator to save time.

Added by Andrea B. Minor on October 15, 2010 at 11:48pm — 7 Comments

How do you motivate a student(s) who really don't want to do anything.

It seems like there are many great ideas in the blogs and I find them interesting to read. What I am finding out in my district is that many students just don't care about school these days. It is not just math, although math is one of the subjects that is at the top of the list. No matter what you try they just don't want to do it. Calling parents is an exercise in futility because they don't see the importance of school either. It definitely is a losing battle. It seems I always get many… Continue

Added by Jamie Tuch on October 13, 2010 at 8:46pm — 7 Comments

Homework - Is it always meaningful and relevant?

Here is a link to a series of articles about making homework meaningful and relevant.

Home practice in mathematics certainly makes sense, but what is the correct formula for making it meaningful and relevant?



Added by Claudia Heinrich on October 8, 2010 at 6:00pm — 4 Comments

Standards-based grading after 4 weeks

First off, I have found Math Illustrations to be very useful for me in creating problems for my skills assessments. It has made it much easier to create trig problems for the students.

After four weeks, my standards-based grading has gone ok. The main success for me is that I am not spending any time correcting homework, which is something I hated to do. The only things I correct right now the assessments. I give assessments every Wednesday and Friday. The assessments can be re-taken… Continue

Added by Sean Karsten on October 4, 2010 at 5:40pm — 5 Comments

School Rankings according to the State - A MUST READ!

Last week I sat through an inservice at our building that discussed where our building is ranked compared to others in the county and at the state level. And let me tell you what, it was definitely an eye-opener!

Now, how we are ranked is still somewhat of a mystery. All we do know is that they are using math and english standardized test scores from a period of four years. What else I know is that the state of Michigan is the only state that is publically releasing the scores…


Added by John Pizzo on October 4, 2010 at 9:31am — 1 Comment


Well... to be quite honest, it feels like I've been out of the Algebra for All scene forever!! Tricky technical difficulties can really throw your world for a loop these days. Fortunately, I'm back up and running, and now I've got to make up for some lost time - forgive me if I ramble a bit!

So, I posted a question about this in the Forum area, but all of the attention that has been focused on Finland the past few weeks really has me thinking! Under the control of the…

Added by Beverly George on October 2, 2010 at 4:40pm — 3 Comments

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