# October 12 – 15

Short weeks always feel a little discombobulated to me and to the kids. Somehow they are both never-ending and too short at the same time. We did have a few highlights from this short, summer weather style week to share with you.

## Algebra

We are near the end of our first unit of our official Algebra curriculum. Last weekend I made a Blooket game for the kids to use for review. To say they enjoyed it may be an understatement. I only made one error writing a problem (which is pretty amazing considering all the typing it took), and we took a game that I had planned to have last about 20 minutes into almost 35 because of student requests. I took a picture and I’ll share it once I have all the photo releases back – but actually a video would be better! Everyone was interacting with each other while on their own screens. They were stealing candy and earning pretend money as fast as they could; all while doing Regents’ style Algebra problems. Some complained that it was all luck, but on the actual test down the road a full 26 of our questions are multiple choice so we need to embed these questions into our day to day. One of the things about the questions they ask is that ALL the best wrong answers are there so it is difficult to take shortcuts.

We have our Unit 1 Test planned for next Wednesday. We’ll learn our last topic – Dimensional Analysis on Monday. Our next unit is all about equations and inequalities.

## Math 8

We have wrapped up the nuts and bolts portion of our first unit for grade 8. This week we’ll continue to practice but we’ll move into application style problems. This is where it gets interesting – we apply all our basic skills to solving real world problems with very large and very small numbers. We’ll use our newly honed scientific notation and exponent work to help us.

We’ll also wrap up our first unit this week with our end of unit assessment on Thursday and Friday.

We kicked off our iReady lessons this week. Most kids are really starting strong on this. I’m rather excited about our sticker chart and the positive energy that I see around these lessons. The best part so far is seeing the self reflections come in. Students are really dialing into what they think is reasonable to expect from themselves.

## IXL

I’m really proud of the kids for all their work in IXL so far this year! We’ve done over 15,000 math problems as a grade since we started using this a little bit into the school year. I used this program with my kids over the summer every year when they were late elementary school through early high school aged and I watched how they simply had to get the skill encoded into their heads. I’m seeing the same thing with our 8th graders.

The feedback is swift and targeted. There are videos and examples to look through and your mistakes are explained to you. Compare that to a teacher hand grading all your work a day or so after you do it and you can see the massive difference! When I look at the kids’ IXL, it lets me know exactly what problems they solved, the mistakes they made and more. When we get to our Geometry unit I’m really excited to see it help us see the reflections, rotations, dilations, and translations that are so hard to see when doing things with pencil and paper. I am SO excited that the district is trying this program out this year.

## Absent?

We are getting into the practice of checking our grade in Brightspace on the first day back each week. Students generally have demonstrated to me that they are able to find their grade and assignment feedback. If your child needs support, watch this short video.