Sunday, September 07, 2008


Contrary to what I've advertised, there's no lectures online yet. I'm still working on a way to best get the content on this blog. I'd like the videos to be short and to the point. Last year's screencasts were 15 to 30 minutes long. From time to time, I'd watch one of my own lectures and get bored in no time. So my goal is 5 to 10 minutes. Granted, I can't go as in depth as we do in class but I think I can get the main points across. Check back or subscribe for updates.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Grades and Assignments

It's been a busy start to the year. So I haven't had the chance to keep things up-to-date. An important change is how I publish grades and assignments. I used to embed them within blog posts. It was slick but kind of annoying. Whenever I made a change to the Google spreadsheet, I had to do extra work on the blog to make it fit and look right. It's too much tedium for someone as obsessive-compulsive as myself. So I'm just going to link to the spreadsheet itself. I hate to send you away from the blog to check grades or assignments but it's the cleanest way to do it.

Anyway, it's all up and running and the links are at the top of the right sidebar. I'll update it about every other day, if not daily. And remember, I care about your character, not your grades.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Classroom Rules

Here's the 2008-2009 revision of The Twenty Commandments. I shouldn't have to spell out the classroom rules as specifically as I do, but experience tells me that "Be Respectful" needs a tad more explanation.

On Classroom Conduct
1. Enter class on time, sit down in your assigned seat, have your signed homework or returned quizzes ready for collection, and follow any on-screen instructions.
2. Take notes for all lectures in a composition book used for Math only.
3. Do not be out of uniform.
4. Do not touch anyone else’s property.
5. Do not move or vandalize any furniture.
6. Do not litter.
7. Do not leave your seat without permission.
8. Do not ask me to go to the office or another classroom.
9. Do not eat food, candy, or chew gum.
10. Do not pack your books before the bell rings.

On Speaking Respectfully
11. Do not speak unless it concerns Math content.
12. Do not speak negatively about or towards each other or tell each other what to do.
13. Do not use disrespectful body language.
14. Make and keep eye contact when talking or listening to someone.
15. Do not call me from across the room. When asking or answering a question, you must raise your hand and wait to be acknowledged before speaking.
16. When addressing me, use one of the following: Mr. Abraham, Mr. Abe, or Sir.
17. Don’t ask ridiculous questions.
18. Don’t give ridiculous answers.
19. All answers must be stated in detailed, grammatically correct, complete sentences.
20. When being corrected, do not say, “But they…” Talk to me after class if you would like to report another student’s misbehavior.

Goodbye 2007-2008, Hello 2008-2009

Thank God that Summer School is finally over! It was hard work for everyone involved but well worth it. With double the students and double the work required compared to last summer, it was ambitious to say the least. It proved that we can accomplish much more than we ever thought possible if we raise our expectations. This coming school year, my expectations for students and myself will continue to increase. To the many volunteers who helped make this summer possible, thank you!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Summer School Grades, 2007-2008

I care about your character,
not your grades.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

"Shut up!"

Many of my students have grown up accustomed to expressing intolerance of each other's words by barking, "Shut up!" In my former days, I also liked to tell people to shut up but eventually grew out of it. I tossed aside such language because I was told by older people that it's simply "disrespectful." That, plus the desire to be an all-around nice guy, provided the necessary motivation to simply let people have their say, regardless of the merit of their words. So there was no need for further examination of the subject.

As a teacher, my classroom sometimes becomes a fishbowl where I get to observe behavior and think about old things in new ways. To my shame, it had never occurred to me before this school year that telling people to shut up is not just disrespectful or mean, but also ridiculously counterproductive. In fact, telling a person to shut up does nothing but ensure the opposite of what is desired: a response that is even more undesirable than the original statement that was so offensive. So why do people, even adults, still speak that way?

They resort to put-down tactics because they have not learned to lovingly speak truth in the face of opposing voices. Furthermore, truth and reason were never on their side in the first place. The attempt to silence one's opposition is always an attempt to cover one's own lack of ideological merit. Truth does not need the advocacy of verbal, physical, or authoritarian coercion. It has its own buoyancy.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Partial Summer School

Students in either General Math or Math Concepts 1 might not have to stay for the full duration of Summer School should they fail to meet their objective mastery goals. The closer students come to passing, the fewer the number of weeks that will be required of them. The following table shows what to expect for the summer when the quarter ends at 3:15pm on May 21:

Please note that these are the minimum number of weeks required. It's possible that more weeks might be needed to reach a goal.

Also, the above does NOT apply to students that fail any other subjects in addition to General Math or Math Concepts 1. In such cases, they must attend Summer School for the entire six weeks.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Monday, March 17, 2008

Pre-Algebra: 09-01 Squares and Square Roots

Algebra 1: 10-05 Exponential Functions (Pt. 1/2)

Sorry about the audio pops and clicks. I'm still working out the bugs.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Progress Sheets

For easier parent/guardian access to grades, students in Math Concepts 1 and General Math are required to keep a daily progress sheet. The information must be copied from the posted grade sheet in class and initialed by a parent or guardian every night. If a progress sheet is not initialed, the student will be ineligible to take any tests the following day.

Homework & Notebook Policy Changes

To receive homework credit, it must be signed by a parent or guardian. To receive notebook credit, returned quizzes must be signed by a parent or guardian and saved along with the provided answer keys until the chapter test. I hope that these changes will ensure better communication with parents/guardians and stricter accountability for students in Math Concepts 2, Pre-Algebra, and Algebra 1.