Educational Philosophy

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The course provides students with the opportunity to work with functions represented in a variety of ways -- graphically, numerically, analytically, and verbally -- and emphasizes the connections among these representations.

The course teaches students how to use computers and calculators to help solve problems, experiment, interpret results, and support conclusions.

The study of mathematics must emphasize making connections among the various topics within mathematics, between mathematics and other disciplines, and between mathematics and "real world" situations. Unless the learners connect ideas of mathematics and other disciplines, they unfortunately learn isolated skills rather than develop the ability to recognize general principles and procedures relevant to several areas. Connecting conceptual understanding to procedures will enable learners to apply, recreate, and invent new procedures when needed. Failure to connect conceptual understanding to procedures results in a view of mathematics as an arbitrary set of rules. Learners should have many opportunities to observe and work with the interaction of mathematics with other subjects and with everyday society. Problems become meaningful when they relate to the learners' experiences. Mathematics must be integrated into contexts that give its symbols and processes practical meaning. Regardless of the importance of mathematics it is imperative that mathematics is a language, a way of thinking, or a guide and not simply a recipe.

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Much effort is spent on meeting the standards verbally, graphically, analytically, and graphically. Students are developed verbally throughout the course with writing assignments from previously given text and the fact that all students keep a journal of “Big Ideas” we develop through exploration. Topics are developed in a four- step process. The elicitation phase engages students in a discussion centered on interesting and motivational phenomenon. Elicitation activities should present students with a particular situation in which they are asked to make predictions and explain them based on prior knowledge. In the development phase students work in small groups independently if possible testing their initial ideas in a wide variety of hands-on activities and experiments. Many numerical and analytical approaches are used here. The next phase is a class consensus idea phase. They use journals to describe and keep a history of their evolving ideas, and to record evidence that supports or refutes certain ideas.  At the end of the this phase each group proposes to the class a set of ideas that the group believes will best explain the phenomena encountered in the unit, and which can be supported with evidence.  The instructor leads a whole-class discussion in which all group ideas are consolidated into a set of evidence-supported class consensus ideas. The verbal approach is highlighted at this time. Finally in the application phase students are provided with opportunities to see the fruitfulness of the class consensus ideas by applying them in a wide variety of new and interesting contexts.

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I would like to take a moment to encourage family to consider obtaining a calculator for the student. They are very powerful devices and can assist in obtaining knowledge of mathematical concepts. There are many reasons why I hope all students can have their own device. Calculators have many settings. The student can set the calculators to their own personal settings. This makes work for the student much more efficient. When a student goes somewhere to take The ACT they will not be provided one. On this test they will be given 60 minutes to answer 60 questions and this is very hard to do without one. The ACT highly recommends students having one when taking their test. Even though we have a calculator for a student to use at school they would not be able to take one home for practice and then it would not be set to the particular settings a student may prefer. These graphing calculators are a requirement in college and they will not be provided. The calculators are durable and will last through high school and college. They can be helpful in the science and business classes a student would take in addition to just mathematics. I have found that students that have their own device are at an advantage. I do not feel comfortable saying that it is a requirement. I was able to get a degree in math without one but mathematics is much more efficient with one and they can help students making discoveries. The TI-84 is the most popular device with high school and college students. The N-Spire is also a good choice but the student may not be as familiar with it. The calculators that are CAS are not permissible on The ACT but are allowed on The SAT. If your student is taking The ACT you may want to avoid these. They can be found for around $100 new and around $50 at pawnshops and on eBay. I know it is a lot of money but remember that it puts the student at a huge advantage and will last through college and then it can be resold. Anyways, I just wanted to reach out to you in regards to this because it is very useful and they will be needed if your student is ever going to go somewhere and take the ACT or go to college.

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I determine the grade of a student by the percentage of the points they obtain. Students will have assignments, quizzes, and test. They will also be awarded points for participating. The students will be awarded points for the activities we do in class. They will be given points for taking notes and sharing ideas. They will have many opportunities to get points throughout the grading period. As an example if there were 1,000 points possible and the student had gained 900 points then their grade would be 90 for the period.

Students who are in honor classes should remember that there is 3 points added to your grade. It will not show up on Power School but will be added before the grade becomes part of the transcript. For instance I have parents who are concerned when they see that their child has a 90. They think that their student is no longer an A student but they are an A student. This grade of 90 will be changed to 93 before it goes onto the student's transcript. Please remember that when you are in an honors class that your child's grade is 3 points higher than it will appear on Power School.  Another thing to remember that the nine weeks grade is not part of the final transcript is the semester grade so a student can have an A in a class even if it is not an A at the end of the first nine weeks. In Montgomery County we use the following scale.

100-93     A

92-85       B

84-77       C

76-70       D

69-Below  F

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It should be of note that in my math classes we will have no special projects or field trips scheduled. If we finish with all the testing before the year is over I like to see if any of my students want to help me beautify the campus and maybe plant a few flowers around the campus.