Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Post Sandy Planning

October 30, 2012

Students and Parents,

See Pacing Guide... for updates...

Wednesday is Day 2, Thursday Day 6, Friday Day 5, Monday Day 1.

Here is a summary of next two classes.

A Block Pre-Calculus:  
Wed: Class.
Thurs: 4.1-4.3 Quiz.

AB Block Algebra II (5)
Thursday: Class
Monday: Quiz on Quadratics

B Block Algebra II (5)
Wed: Class
Friday: Class
Monday Quiz on Quadratics

C Block and E Block Algebra II (4)
Thursday:  Final review for Systems Test.  Bring questions on your last test and try to finish the review sheet from Math Basketball.  We'll review as a class next time.

Monday: Test on Linear Systems.

Looking forward to seeing you all next time. Halloween costumes encouraged.  

My Best,

Mr. Morrissey

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy

Wishing you all a safe day tomorrow as Sandy arrives in Massachusetts. See you all next time. 

Mr. Morrissey

Check out this photo from NASA.  Amazing.  

Quadratics Student Video Creations

Dear Students and Parents, Students in Algebra II (5) will begin making their own Screen Casts in class for our unit's collaborative group assignment. Students in Level 4 will also be doing this shortly. Here is a link to the video I created to demonstrate how to make an exemplary video. My Best, Mr. Morrissey

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Algebra II (4) Assessment Reflection #2

October 20, 2012
Linear Equations Test

The average for my two classes was 86% with a median of 91%.  There were 5 perfect scores.  I have to share with you the picture below of how a student used highlighters to organize a graphing problem.  Highlighting can be really helpful in math, and I know many students are using Notability and its array of colors and highlighters effectively.

This work is absolutely marvelous.  If I could put a sticker on this blog post I would! :)

Some comments on the test....

  1. When graphing a line, some students are still not connecting the dots.  
  2. When asked to graph, you can always plot points if you don't know what the graph should look like.  Remember I suggest starting with -1, 0 and 1.  
  3. Finding the vertex of absolute value graphs still seems tough for some.  
  4. What is the y intercept of the equation y=2x?  This was number one of the test. 
  5. What is zero times any number?  
  6. I think even graphing y=-x is challenging still for some students.  What is the slope? What is the y-intercept?
Now take a look at the Assessment Data and compare your test with how our two classes did. 

In red below we have the Line of Best fit (#1), the piecewise function graph (#9), and the 3 skills checks that were meant to be a reteaching from the last quiz.  All of these will likely come again. We'll review in class, but you may need some additional practice with me, say in X block, to make sure you understand these fundamental skills.  

My Best, 

Mr. Morrissey

Algebra II (4) Equations of Lines Assessment Data and Reflection

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Faculty Meeting iPad Sharing

October 24, 2012

Objective: Share my use of the iPad paired with Socrative to do regular classroom Checks for Understanding on core math concepts and skills.


Will someone click on full screen?
 A link to the file is also: Link to this video...

My Best,


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Quadratics Unit Plan (Level 5)

Dear Parents,

From Quadratics and onward, I will post unit plans that outline what we plan to cover in each unit.

All the best,

Mr. Morrissey

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Standard Form of a Line

From my favorite mathwords.com

What is it that makes this one so tough?  Maybe the last sentence above?  Maybe the A>0 part?

-Mr. Morrissey

Algebra II (5) Assessment Reflection #2 (Linear Equations)

Dear Parents and Students,

We crushed this test as a class.  The average was a 92.5% and the median was a solid 94%.  There were 7 perfect scores.  There are 29 students in Level 5 Algebra II.  

I shared the data with the students today and we made major improvements in my common assessment of "vertical and horizontal lines" and "absolute value."  On the first quiz that question had 55% of kids getting this correct and with reteaching we got that number to 97%.  If you look at #8 though, a similar question testing perpendicular lines was only 83% correct.  

On the graphing absolute value question from the first quiz (#5 on the Linear quiz) 48% of students got this one correct. On the test 76% of students got a similar question correct, but I was hopeful that my teaching including the absolute value matching exercise would have made this questions average much higher.   

Standard form of a line is still an issue as there was no change in the 69% scores on the test and the quiz.  In Standard form the Ax+By=C the A must be positive.  Most of the credit lost on this question was "minus one" because A was not positive.  If I wasn't insisting that A>0, then the average on this problem would be much higher.  

I'd recommend looking over your mistakes and making sure you understand how to do every problem.  

My Best,

Mr. Morrissey

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Feedback Form

Today my first class gave feedback on how the year is going so far using my Google Form for anonymous parent and student feedback.  We had just had our first test, and I wanted to pause and give the students a chance to let me know what is working and what needs work.  I need more time to collect the other class' responses, but I can say that having this Google Form may be the single most important small change to my teaching that will yield meaningful results.

Here is one positive comment:  "I think the "check for understanding" and the "Do Nows" are nice and very helpful in making sure that I understand the concepts learned, but are still challenging and make me think. The problem sets are good as well for studying for the test and have everything we need to know. The videos for notes are good because I can re-watch them to study and pause whenever I want to make sure I understand what is going on. "

Here is a useful suggestions about using Notability:  "When you zoom in to write on your iPad I can't see the rest of the page and it's hard to follow the problem. Could you use the magnifying glass instead?"

Here is a counter to the videos..."I don't like the videos as much as notes in class because I feel like if I have a question, I need to hold on to it until tomorrow and usually I forget. Also sometimes when you are doing your video, you will jump to a certain step, like jump a few steps ahead of where you were. When you do that I need to stop the video to try and understand what you were doing.

And then when I read this one in front of the kids it put a big smile on my face..."Out test yesterday was very fair. It seemed like the ideal test for this material as it was challenging, but still do able."

I read over all of these comments with my students today and will work on improving as much as possible.  I really love this new feature of class.  Continuous improvement!

All the best,

Mr. Morrissey

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Quadratics Material Posted on Moodle

Check out the Moodle for all of our Quadratics Material.  I know this follows the textbook quite well.  The notes are all written by me in my own words in the hopes it might serve as an additional resource to you.   

Mr. Morrissey

p.s. If you want a challenge do Quadratics Benchmarks III.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Algebra II Textbook Sequence

Parents and Students,

With any big change (iPads and my homework videos), I know I will need to keep in communication with parents. Teaching with iPads is a big change for me, and the continuation of Flipped Videos from last year makes this year all the more exciting and at the same time challenging.  I am hopeful this blog is a way to keep us all on the same page in terms of what is going on in Algebra II.  It is a page I am hopeful you may visit every now and again.

So far this year we've had a mix of videos and notes. Ask your son or daughter.  When we begin Ch. 3 (Linear Systems) class will begin to seem more standard with one topic per day. Ch. 1 is a lot of review, and Ch. 2 is about slopes, intercepts, absolute value equations, writing equations of lines, inequalities, and graphing lines.

Here is a clear outline of what your student can expect for Ch. 3 and Ch. 4 in terms of notes/videos.  The topics below will be very similar to titles of Problem Sets and Notes.

Ch. 3 Linear Systems

3.1-3.2    Solving Linear Systems
3.3          Systems of Linear Inequalities
3.4          System of 3 Variables

Ch. 4 Quadratics

4.1-4.2     Graphing Quadratics in Standard, Vertex and Intercept Form
4.3-4.4     Factoring Quadratics
4.5           Square Roots
4.6           Complex Numbers
4.7           Completing the Square
4.8           Quadratic Formula and the Discriminant
4.9           Quadratic Inequalities
4.10         Writing Equations of Quadratics/Modeling

Ch. 5 Polynomials
5.1            Exponent Rules
5.2/5.8      Graphing Polynomial Functions
5.3            Polynomials Operations
5.4            Factoring Polynomials
5.5            Factor and Remainder Theorems
5.6            Rational Zeros
5.7            Fundamental Theorem of Algebra
5.9            Writing Equations of Polynomials and Modeling

Level 4 and 5 proceed at different speeds through this material, but the notes/videos will be the same.  My hope is that the videos and/or class notes will present the core material that is most important for your sons and daughters no matter the level.  I know I've said this before, but its worth repeating.

I hope this helps as I had a conversation with a parent recently about how it appeared that the class was not following the textbook.  It is, and with Ch. 3 and onward the sequencing is very clear and deliberate. 

All the very best to you all,

Patrick Morrissey

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Practice Problem

First one to post comment with answer wins!


Mr. Morrissey

Source: Mu Alpha Theta

Marathon Slopes...

Check out the slope (in feet/mile) of the BAA Half Marathon I ran today.  Looking at the Elevational Profile before the race allowed me to plan for the upward sloping parts of Mile 7 and the killer Mile 11.  The first mile, and it's negative slope, gave some a false sense of security about the course. The almost zero slope of Miles 4-6.5 made the race really "doable."  

A beautiful day to be running in Boston and Brookline. 

Mr. Morrissey

Algebra II (4) Assessment Reflection #1

Saturday, October 6, 2012

September Essential Questions (Final)

Ask yourself if you can answer all of these questions.  They were the gems that students asked during the first month of school that I wrote on my low-tech note card in my dress shirt pocket.  

Parents, ask your students if they understand and can explain. The ones in bold are for Pre-Calc only.  

My Best,

Mr. Morrissey

Friday, October 5, 2012

Algebra II (5) Assessment Data

Algebra II (5) Folks, Here are the raw scores for each question on our first quiz. Rememebr, raw scores without partial credit. The average was a 86. My Best, Mr. Morrissey

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Fairhaven HS "Firework" Lib Dub

I've just returned from a NEASC visit to Fairhaven HS in Southern Mass. The principal ended her opening remarks to the visiting committee with this video to introduce us to culture of the school. Check this out... My Best, Mr. Morrissey p.s. The ending really looks like the BHS gymnasium. Did you see the beautiful stained glass windows?