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Much time will be spent practicing addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division facts.  These are basic skills that students need to have to be successful when learning other concepts such as fraction/decimal/percent relationships and problem solving. 
Rocket Ship Math
This year students will spend time daily practicing and learning their multiplication and division facts.  We will continue to work on these facts until everyone knows all of the facts in this operation instantly. 

Students will need to practice their facts each night using the packet of practice sheets that are sent home at the beginning of the year.  Please stick to the practicing format that we use in class by saying the problem as well as the answer with each fact.  This reinforces the math fact and makes its inverse operation easier to learn.

Math Notes and Assignments - A Copy of Math Notes Can Be Viewed HERE!
New math lessons will be presented in a note taking format.  The students will be expected to copy everything that is presented in the lesson into their math "note" books.  These notebooks will be the main resource for which students refer when needing assistance during homework time.  After new information is presented, students will be given 20-25 problems for their assignment.  The first 5-10 questions will be problems from the new material presented that day.  The remainder of the questions will be problems from previously taught material.  Math lessons will be numbered to correspond with the notes that are given in class.  I will also indicate below the question, the number with an asterisk from which the problem originates.  This should help students refer to their math notebooks if they need help working the problem.  My hopes are that in this year long cumulative process, concepts I teach are practiced and will therefore be mastered.

Review and practice materials will be presented in the form of projects, games, worksheets, activities, and centers. Assessment of these materials will vary based upon the content.

Math Grading
The math assignments that are given after the presentation of each new math concept will be graded one of three different ways.
  • Completion Grade
  • Percentage Grade
  • Corrections Grade
Completion Grade - This is given when I collect the assignment and make sure that the student has completed each of the problems assigned.  I do not grade this assignment for accuracy but for completion only.  A 100% is given if each problem has an appropriate amount of work shown and an answer in the box.  I will take 20% off of the grade for each problem that is not completed.  Therefore, one incomplete problem results in a grade of 80%, two incomplete problems results in a grade of 60%, three incomplete problems results in a grade of 40% and so on.  I will return the paper to the student so we can go over the answers together while he or she grades his or her own paper for accuracy (that grade is not recorded in the grade book since the completion grade is the grade taken for the day).  If a students chooses not to complete 5 or more of the problems the grade will result in a zero.  He or she can always use a late homework note to complete the unfinished problems and turn it in for a lowered grade.
Percentage Grade - This is the assignment on which students will be able to ask for clarification regarding any problem they do not understand.  I will begin the day's lesson by asking the students to take out their assignments.  They will have an opportunity to look over the assignment to refresh their memories.  I will then allow students to ask about any problem that gave them trouble the night before while doing their homework.  I will work the problem out on the board showing all of the correct steps until the correct answer is revealed.  If any student notices that he or she answered this problem incorrectly, he or she can copy the correct procedure from the board without any grade penalty.  At the end of the question/answer session, I will collect all of the papers and grade them for a regular percentage grade based on how many questions are correctly or incorrectly worked.
Corrections Grade - The third type of grading that will be used in math is the corrections grade.  This grade shows me what the students know and with what they are having trouble.  I will collect the assignments with no formal question/answer session, grade them, and record a percentage grade in the grade book.  I will return the assignments to the students and allow them to make corrections on a new sheet of paper.  The question must be reworked on the separate problem set sheet with a detailed explanation of the mistake made that caused them to miss the problem in the first place.  This explanation must be something like, "I added 5 + 4 and got 8.  It should have been 9."  If the problem is corrected accurately with a sentence that details the mistake that was made, I will reinstate the points that were deducted.  Students have the opportunity to earn full credit for their corrections to get their grades back to 100%.
I will not ever tell the students which type of grade I will be taking until the moment I collect the assignments.  This insures that each student will not rely on the corrections or percentage procedures to finish their homework.  Instead, they must always be ready for the completion grade which is an easy way of getting a 100% on a math assignment.
Problem Solving Strategies
Many of us probably remember the dreaded Train Story Problems in junior high and high school math classes.  Did anyone truly enjoy working those?  Well, I have designed a problem solving strategy portion in our math class to help students become successful at word problems.  Each week we will take a look at a problem solving strategy and practice applying it to various word problems.  Being able to explain the process of solving the problem will be critical.  The goal of these strategies is to build confidence in the students to take word problems head on and solve them with confidence. Students will be receiving grades on various word problem assignments that will be averaged in with the above three described types of grades as as well as tests and quizzes.
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