• Growth Mindset

    Posted by Caleb Kenison at 8/27/2016

    This blog post by the founder of Kahn Academy sums up my personal philosophy of why it is ok to try and fail but it is not ok to have never tried.  It is far more important to have this growth mindset then it is to be deemed smart by a grade or report card.  

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  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Posted by Caleb Kenison at 8/25/2016


    • What can be done to improve my son/daughter’s grade?
      • I do not give extra credit.  Students can do any missing assignments and retake any tests or quizzes.  In order to retake any tests or quizzes students must first correct their mistakes and come in at lunch (or before school) to go over their mistakes with me.  After doing that they can earn some of the points on the test or quiz back.  If that is still not a desirable score they can retake a similar test or quiz for up to full credit.  
    • My son/daughter swears they turned in this assignment.  Why is it not showing in the grade book?
      • The most likely reason for this to occur is that it was handed in without a name on it.  Your son or daughter can look for it in the left hand side of the folder of papers to be passed back for their class period. 
    • My son/daughter turned in a missing assignment 2 days ago.  Why is it not in the grade-book? 
      • Any assignment that is turned in after the original due date is put into my past due box.  It is my habit to bring home that box and enter in grades on the weekend.  Immediately following entering in the past due work, I send an emailed skyward report home with the most up-to-date grades.
    • Why is my son/daughter getting an A in math extension and does not have an A in Algebra or Math-8?
      • Math extension is graded mostly on a participation basis.  All math content grades will be in their math class grade.  If your son/daughter is getting an A in math extension they are doing all that is asked of them and being an active member of the classroom.  If their math grade is not similar to their extension grade they may need extra help to grasp some of the concepts we are learning in their regular math class.
    •  When I was in school it was taught like this… why are you teaching it different?
      • Teaching, as well as math, is constantly evolving as we learn more about how people learn.  There have been many noticeable changes in several areas of algebra to increase the efficiency of communicating results.  There are also several instances where students will be asked to do a particular problem a certain way.  In many cases this way will build to another way of doing the same problem that might be more familiar to you. 
    • When are we ever going to use this?                 
      • If you don’t learn it, then never.  However if you know and understand the concepts, they may lead to an efficient way of solving a problem in the future.  Algebra is the stepping stone to all advanced math, science, computer programming, finance, and all upper level college programs.  Your career path and comfort with algebra will determine how much algebra you use on a daily basis. 
    • My son/daughter is spending too much time on homework, why do you assign so much?
      • I try to only assign 20 minutes a night of homework.  Some days I am more successful at that than others.  I also give about 10 minutes in class to work on the homework.  If your son/daughter is truly using their time in class well and they still are spending too much time on math homework, please tell them to talk with me.  I will try to help them come to a better understanding of the material in an effort to speed up their homework time. 
    • My son/daughter passed the EOC* why do you want them to retake algebra?
      • The EOC is not a measure of mastery; it is a measure of the bare minimum.  I make my recommendations based upon a variety of measures including grade, test scores, participation, learning style, and effort.  I want your son/daughter to be successful in their high school math experience and pushing them along faster than they are ready can have disastrous consequences.  Some consequences that I have seen are failing their freshman math class and needing to take summer school but perhaps the most disastrous consequence is a sense that they are bad at math.  My recommendations are what I believe is best for your son or daughter.  
        * The EOC no longer exists for current algebra students.  However, this answer also applies to the new testing regimes under whatever acronym it is known.  (MAP, SBAC, WASL, EOC, etc.)
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Last Modified on September 21, 2016