##
* *Reflection: Grade Book and Data Analysis
What is Algebra? - Section 4: Homework

As the year has progressed, the Weekly Workout has evolved slightly.

- I both collect and assign the Weekly Workout on Monday. The students didn't like having to wait 'til Tuesday to get started on the new one!
- Over the year, I added new problem types and eliminated old ones. I also gradually increased the level of difficulty on the long-standing problem types. In particular, I've been careful to include problems from each Algebra 2 unit that has been begun or completed. Even with increasing difficulty, scores have increased throughout the year!
- On some short weeks (before or after long weekends), I've produced a shorter workout of just 10 problems.
- Grading: In the gradebook, I make 18/20 count as 100%. The two extra points are just that: extra credit that stands as a reward for excellent work. I've found that it's not the "smartest" kids who earn these points, but the ones who apply themselves most diligently. The "smart" kids typically race through and make a few careless errors. The diligent ones take the time to check their work and get help when they need it.
- I made an agreement with my class that we could review one problem from the workout at the beginning of each class. However, I typically refused to completely solve the problem. Rather, I would as students to explain how to get started or what the key strategy was. Once we'd made a good beginning, I leave it up to the individual students to finish. This typically took no more than 5 minutes and gave me the opportunity to clear up many misconceptions.

The feedback I've received from both students and parents has been very encouraging. Many parents have thanked me for providing this continuous practice for their students, and many of my most diligent students have commented the improvement in their skills.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, I've found that the Weekly Workout is an excellent predictor of a student's overall grade. Go figure!

*Grade Book and Data Analysis: Adjustments to Practice*

# What is Algebra?

Lesson 1 of 15

## Objective: Students will be able to explain why algebra needs definitions and axioms, what some of these first principles are, and what it means to "do algebra".

*45 minutes*

#### Homework

*10 min*

In the final 10 minutes of class, there are several things to accomplish.

First, I will assign the homework for the night, which is to complete the remaining two problems on the *Historic Algebra Problems* handout. This will be due at the beginning of class tomorrow.

Second, I will handout *The Weekly Workout *general guidelines along with the their first *Weekly Workout 1*. Quickly, I will explain the rationale behind the weekly workout - it's about staying strong through constant practice - and ask everyone to write the due date on the top of the assignment. It won't be easy, but I'll have to avoid getting side-tracked by lots of questions here!

Finally, I will pass out the class syllabus to all of the students, asking them to read it and share it with their parents. Their parents must send me an email sometime before Friday so that I know they are able to contact me if they need to, and so that I can contact them. This is *another *homework assignment!

It's important to write all of the assignments on the whiteboard and to make sure that the students copy the due dates into their planners, but it's also important to send them off with a smile and a big "Welcome to algebra!" at the end of class.

*expand content*

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- UNIT 1: Modeling with Algebra
- UNIT 2: The Complex Number System
- UNIT 3: Cubic Functions
- UNIT 4: Higher-Degree Polynomials
- UNIT 5: Quarter 1 Review & Exam
- UNIT 6: Exponents & Logarithms
- UNIT 7: Rational Functions
- UNIT 8: Radical Functions - It's a sideways Parabola!
- UNIT 9: Trigonometric Functions
- UNIT 10: End of the Year

- LESSON 1: What is Algebra?
- LESSON 2: The Music Shop Model, Day 1 of 2
- LESSON 3: The Music Shop Model, Day 2 of 2
- LESSON 4: Letters & Postcards, Day 1 of 2
- LESSON 5: Letters & Postcards, Day 2 of 2
- LESSON 6: Choose Your Own Adventure
- LESSON 7: What Goes Up, Day 1 of 3
- LESSON 8: What Goes Up, Day 2 of 3
- LESSON 9: What Goes Up, Day 3 of 3
- LESSON 10: The Constant Area Model, Day 1 of 3
- LESSON 11: The Constant Area Model, Day 2 of 3
- LESSON 12: The Constant Area Model, Day 3 of 3
- LESSON 13: Practice & Review, Day 1 of 2
- LESSON 14: Practice & Review, Day 2 of 2
- LESSON 15: Unit Test