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08 Mar 2006 - 01:53

## math journal, day two

OK, state tests start one week from tomorrow, and the kids wrote in their Math Journals again today.

They wrote in their Math Journals yesterday, too. The teacher put an inspirational quote about what to do when you crash into a wall up on the board, and they were supposed to write about how the quote related to the state test. (NOTE: Christopher cannot pronounce inspirational.)

Excuse me while I hunt down a Google image for banging my head against the wall.

[pause]

OK, that was quick.

No math homework tonight!

No math of any kind!

So I've spent my entire evening pulling worksheets out of the 3-inch DuraTech worksheet binder I assembled awhile back and combining them with fill-in-the-gap worksheets I tracked down on the web today and coaxing-coercing Christopher to apply himself and do some math.

news flash: Christopher does not appear to know how to read a coordinate plane.

More specifically, he does not appear to know that a coordinate plane is made up of two number lines; nor does he seem to understand that you never, ever, under any circumstances have positive numbers to the left of the zero, or below the zero in the case of the Y axis.

THEY ALWAYS PUT THE NUMBERS ON!!!!!

HOW WAS I SUPPOSED TO KNOW THAT WAS A NEGATIVE NUMBER!!!!

THEY DIDN'T PUT ANY NUMBERS ON!!!!

etc.

diagnose - prescribe - practice!

winner worksheets

Two fantastic resources:

• Glencoe Pre-algebra Parent and Student Study Guide
"The Glencoe Parent and Student Study Guide is designed to help you support, monitor, and improve your child's math performance. These worksheets are written so that you do not have to be a mathematician to help your child."
The entire guide is available free online.
SUPERB

• Mathtastic worksheets by Susan D. Phillips
50 worksheets, mostly pre-algebra with some algebra, all available free online
EXCELLENT

The other two sources I'm relying on are Kelley Wingate Pre-Algebra and Instructional Fair Pre-Algebra. Both are quite good, though I've gotten more use out of Instructional Fair for some reason. I'll probably spring for most of the Instructional Fair workbooks as I go along. The Lakeshore stores carry them, and you can order them online from Frankschaffer.com, though they're somewhat difficult to track down on the site.

Instructional Fair

Kelley Wingate

This is interesting. A Math Journal with a bunch of math inside. No sayings about "not thinking about what you've lost" and such.

update

Is this a DuraTech 3" binder?

I think not.

-- CatherineJohnson - 08 Mar 2006

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So co-ordinate graphs are going to be on the test?

Some of teaching people how to take tests is useful stuff. I think the timing of this is wrong though. (And it would help to have the teacher, rather than just giving them writings, set up a test-like situation and coach them in methods to cope.)

-- TracyW - 08 Mar 2006

The cover of that Instructional Fair workbook looks very odd. What do you suppose they meant by "6·2X3-¼"? (I don't know what that last fraction is supposed to be.)

It's the most prominent expression on the cover, and I have no idea what it's supposed to be.

Frankly, it looks to me like the result of hitting random "mathy" keys on a keyboard rather than something from someone who knows more about algebra than how to spell the word.

-- DougSundseth - 08 Mar 2006

Doug

Hah!

You are the parent of a Kindergartener, I see!

Those numbers make perfect sense to me!

That is an Order of Operations problem!

Using two different symbols for multiply!

-- CatherineJohnson - 08 Mar 2006

Tracy

I was trying to find coordinate graph problems at edhelper.com (Susan S & Charles both put me on to edhelper & it's great, fyi) & there were NONE in the middle school math section.

Finally I gave up and started Googling, & Google brought me back to edhelper elementary school math.

Turned out they had their graphs & bar charts in 3rd grade.

(Not coordinate planes....those are in middle school math & in algebra.)

-- CatherineJohnson - 08 Mar 2006

"That is an Order of Operations problem!

"Using two different symbols for multiply!"

Are you sure that "X" isn't a variable? (It's used that way in other expressions on the same cover.) Perhaps it's intended to be 6·2·X·3-¼. (Using the implied multiplication when there's no symbol.)

In fact, that's why "·" is used as a multiplication symbol -- to avoid exactly that confusion. Intentionally fostering confusion in students is really remarkably stupid.

I don't have a problem with showing various forms of expressing the same equation; it's important to understand that multiplication can be shown in at least four ways (five if you count exponents), since they're all used with some regularity. There is exactly no reason to mix symbols in this way, since most symbols are overloaded and the result is inherently ambiguous.

-- DougSundseth - 08 Mar 2006

nope!

I'm not sure!

-- CatherineJohnson - 08 Mar 2006

Intentionally fostering confusion in students is really remarkably stupid.

I agree!

-- CatherineJohnson - 08 Mar 2006

WITANDWISDOM

-- CatherineJohnson - 08 Mar 2006

The Kelley-Wingate is ok. I use it for reinforcing some concepts in a HS Algebra class. Many of our students arrive in HS with little knowledge of Middle School math. Just be careful, every 5 sheets or so I've found a typo or error in one problem on the sheet.

-- KtmGuest - 08 Mar 2006

That's no 3" binder!

-- CarolynJohnston - 08 Mar 2006

ktm guest

Thanks!

Have you tried the IF books at all?

I should have mentioned that one thing I like - and most parents would like - about both books is that each page demonstrates the procedure at the top.

They're extremely parent- and student-friendly.

-- CatherineJohnson - 11 Mar 2006

Good Lord.

I just noticed you said you have h.s. students showing up with little knowledge of middle school math.

boy

if you have time, and feel like doing it, I'd love to hear more about how you deal with this (including how you use Kelley Wingate to remediate...)

btw, I think you might also like the Glencoe Parents & Student Study Guide, which is free online. It 'teaches' each and every concept in the Glencoe pre-algebra book. (The link is above.)

Let me know what you think.

-- CatherineJohnson - 11 Mar 2006

-- CatherineJohnson - 27 Mar 2006