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eMath December 2017 Newsletter

Well, its cold and dark outside, so it must be December. The waning days of 2017 are upon us. Since it is mid-month, it’s time to release our latest round of add-ons and give you the latest eMathInstruction news. But, first, let’s do the add-ons.

For Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons this month we bring you two new lessons, both in Unit #7 on polynomials. We added lessons 7 and 8 which look at both multiplying and factoring polynomials with the help of area models. The second lesson specifically looks at how to factor trinomials by essentially using the AC Method of factoring, but in an area array so that students can more easily see how this factoring relates to the previous lesson where we multiply binomials using area. We do plan to eventually make videos for these two lessons as we feel they are a great addition to the curriculum.

As usual, our Common Core Geometry additions this month are in the form of a Unit Review and a Unit Assessment. This month it is Unit #7 – Dilations and Similarity. We’ve put together a huge packet of problems on this unit that should give your students lot of extra practice on these tricky concepts and how they link together. It does look like, at this rate, that we should have the last Unit Review and Assessment for Geometry in the March add-ons.

Our Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons this month include one video and one new lesson. We made a video for a lesson we released last year in Unit #6 – Using Structure to Factor Expressions. This is a great lesson where students need to recognize the structure of complex algebraic patterns in order to efficiently factor them. We’ve updated the lesson to add the QR code for easier access to the video. Our new lesson comes from Unit 8 (Radicals and the Quadratic Formula). The lesson is on A Closer Look at Extraneous Roots and should be taught after Lesson 2 on Solving Square Root Equations. This lessons takes an in-depth look at why certain square root equation have extraneous roots introduced and why squaring an expression is an irreversible algebraic manipulation.

Finally, for our Algebra 2 and Trigonometry Add-Ons we have two nice new resources. First, we have a Unit #7 (Trigonometric Functions) mid-unit quiz, Form B. Last year we put out a Form A for this quiz and we decided it made sense to create a make-up for this quiz as well. We also created a large set of practice problems on graphing sine and cosine functions. This is a nice resource that gives students lots of extra practice in terms of graphing sine and cosine functions (without a horizontal shift) and also coming up with the equations based on the graphs.

That’s it for add-ons. Besides those, we’ve been hard at work on other projects. Just this week I went down to Long Island and visited Ward Melville High School in the Three Village School District. They had won our contest earlier this year with the dubious prize being my teaching at their school for the day. It was a blast!!! Hopefully we will eventually have video and pictures to share. I got to teach in a black box theater (definitely a first and maybe a last time for me). I mainly taught a Geometry lesson on using linear functions to model the following (mathematical) doodle:

It was a nice activity because it necessitated the use of both the slope-intercept (red portion) form of the line and the point-slope form of a line (blue portion). We also used the online graphing program, Desmos, to create the doodle. Of course, my tendency to take it way too far lead me to create a Desmos graph that would allow the user to vary the number of lines plotted so that graphs like this could be created:

Here’s that Desmos sheet if you want to play around with the doodle yourself:

Mathematical Doodle with Adjustable Line Count

And just because we are on the topic of Desmos, here are some other Desmos graphs I created that are particularly fun to play around with. Feel free to open these and play them as eye-candy for your students as they walk into the door.

Archimeade’s Rotating Spiral

Logarithmic Spiral with Rolling Ball

Complex Ferris Wheel

Lissouj Figures

Dynamic Polar Roses

Rotating Spiral

Well, I think that is longer than what anyone wanted to read. It’s time for me to get back to creating curriculum and stocking up the wood stove (did I mention it’s cold in upstate New York today?). Have a wonderful holiday season everyone. Enjoy the long break coming up!

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eMath November 2017 Newsletter

Hello All! It’s November and next week if our first big break of the year. Thanksgiving comes early this year. We always want to take the opportunity to thank all of the teachers, schools, and students who use our materials and give us feedback. We appreciate all of your help in making our curriculum better, including giving us feedback on which add-ons we should create.

Speaking of add-ons, let’s get to them. First up, Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons for this month. We’ve got a couple different items for you. First up is a new video to go along with our Unit 6 Percent Warm-Up lesson that we added on last year. We’ve updated the lesson with its QR code. For teachers who have students that need just a bit to get them back up to speed on what percents are, have them watch this video and do this lesson. We’ve also created a nice performance task for Unit 6 on modeling different types of interest. This is a great assessment for individuals or groups. It gives you a good sense for how well students understand linear versus exponential functions. We’ve included a sample rubric, but encourage teachers to decide how to grade this task.

For Common Core Geometry, we’ve added another Unit Review and Unit Assessment, specifically for Unit #6 on Quadrilaterals. If you need a ton of quadrilateral problems to assign over holiday break in another month (or so) check this set out.

Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons include a new video and a new lesson. We recently created a video for our lesson on Factoring Using the AC-Method. We put that lesson out last month as an add-on, but now we’ve put out the video and updated the lesson with the video QR code. Remember, if kids have the latest edition of the iOS for iPhone, the camera has a QR reader built in. We also added a new lesson this month that follows up the Locus Definition of a Parabola. In our new lesson, More Work with the Directrix and Focus of a Parabola, we look at what I call the focal length formula of a parabola, i.e.,

At first I was a bit hesitant to introduce this formula, but after all was said and done, I liked the lesson and how it ties in to the previous one using the distance formula to derive the equation of a parabola based on the focus and directrix. Hopefully this lesson will help students with basic focus/directrix problems on the New York State Regents.

BTW, anyone notice anything different between the cover of the June Common Core Algebra II Regents exam and the August Algebra II Regents exam (besides the date)?

I can’t quite put my finger on the difference, but I know there is one.

Finally, for Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Add-Ons we have a few different items. First, we added a Unit #6 – Polynomials and Rational Functions mid-unit quiz. This quiz covers the first five lessons (through simplifying rational expressions). We created two forms of it to help with absent students. We also added our Unit #6 Polynomial challenge. This is a graphing activity for kids that utilizes the online site Desmos to help kids better understand the factored form of a polynomial equation. We’ve previously released this activity for Common Core Algebra II and kids love it. If your school has access to Chromebooks or iPads this is a fun activity to do, especially before a holiday break.

Besides add-ons, we are busy with many other projects here at eMathInstruction. Progress continues on website improvements as well as our prototype e-textbook app. We are looking forward to visiting Ward Melville High School in the Three Village School District on December 13th. It looks like I’m going to be teaching a bunch of Geometry that day. I’m so looking forward to it!!!!

Have a great Thanksgiving Break everyone. Eat, drink, and be merry. See you soon.

Kirk

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eMath October 2017 Newsletter

Happy October to all!!! The weather in upstate New York is starting to get colder and the trees are finally changing color. As the holiday season approaches (my son considers Halloween to be the first legitimate holiday), we have been busy working on a variety of different things at eMathInstruction.

Without further ado, let’s get right into the add-ons for this month. Our Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons consist of a performance task and a mid-unit quiz. We’ve created a Unit #4 Performance Task on Linear Modeling. This isn’t a lengthy assessment but it will give teachers a good sense for how well students understand linear modeling and how they react in a situation that is somewhat non-routine. We’ve included a sample rubric for the teacher, but teachers may want to create their own. We’ve also created a mid-unit quiz for Unit #5 – Systems of Linear Equations. This quiz (with two forms of it) covers through Lesson #4 (up to and including the Elimination Method).

The Common Core Geometry add-ons for this month can be found under the Unit Reviews and Unit Assessments. This month we published both the Unit #4 (Constructions) and Unit #5 (Coordinate Geometry) Reviews and Assessments. The Construction Unit Review is long and contains all of the classic constructions (up to this point) as well as applications of these constructions (such as reflecting a point across a line). The assessment for this unit is understandably a bit different. We plan to publish one or two unit reviews and assessments per month until all have been completed. We plan to have them all finished by the March add-on round at the latest.

We did something a bit different for Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons this month. We went back and recorded videos for two Unit #4 add-ons lessons we had already created, specifically Lesson 7.5 on Exponential Modeling Revisited and Lesson 15 on Asymptotes of Exponential and Logarithmic functions. We’ve modified the worksheets so that they now contain the QR Codes for the videos. Did you know that the newest OS on the iPhone has an automatic QR reader built into the Camera app? It’s true. All a student, with the latest OS on an iPhone, has to do is point their camera at a QR code as if they were taking a picture of it and the link will open to our video. As well, we also created a lesson on factoring trinomials using the “AC” method, i.e. the product and sum considerations of a trinomial. We are considering recording a video for that an another Algebra II lesson for next month’s add-ons.

Finally, for Algebra 2 and Trigonometry Add-Ons this month we created two forms of a Unit #4 quiz. This unit is on Radicals and the Quadratic Formula. The two forms of the quiz cover all topics through work with the quadratic formula (through Lesson #7).

In other eMathInstruction news, we ran a contest this month to gauge the interest level in having me come and teach for a day at a school. Over 100 schools gave us feedback on Facebook. We had a drawing about a week ago and Ward Melville High School in the Three Village District on Long Island won the drawing. So, I’ll be headed there in mid-December to teach some classes and talk with students. I’m really looking forward to the visit! We are hoping to do another one of these drawings in the spring. Maybe I’ll be coming to your district to do some Regents Review. Who knows?

We have just begun very preliminary work on our Common Core Algebra I App (or eBook). We are working on all sorts of functionality for our new electronic only textbook. Included will be a button to allow problems to be read to the student (or sub parts of problems), the ability to play a video showing the solution to a lesson problem (instead of having to watch the whole video), and the ability for teachers to be able to turn the answer key on and off for given lessons, avoiding the need to separately purchase the answer key subscription. We hope to have an initial prototype of the book done by the end of the academic year and to have it fully functioning by the time the Next Generation Math Standards go into effect in New York State (2020-2021?).

That’s it for now. I hope that the school year is progressing well for everyone, students and teacher alike. New school years always bring surprises, both positive and negative. As always, if you have any questions, concerns, or other feedback don’t hesitate to contact me at Kirk@emathinstruction.com.

 

 

 

 

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eMath September 2017 Newsletter

A new school year has started in the great Northeast. The light is getting dimmer while the trees are getting prettier. We’ve been all sorts of busy this past month at eMathInstruction working on making our site easier to use and coming up with add-ons to the courses. Let’s get right into those.

Let’s begin with the Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons. This month we’ve added two new lessons. One fits into Unit #3 between Lesson 6 and 7 (so I’ve given it Lesson 6.5). The lesson title is Motion and Average Rate of Change. We’ve seen quite a few motion problems on the Common Core Algebra I Regents Exam, so I thought it was time we devoted a lesson just to them. We also added Unit 4 – Lesson 9.5 on Solving Absolute Value Equations. We emphasized simple algebraic equations and more complicated graphical ones. Interestingly enough, there is no mention of solving any absolute value equations algebraically in the Common Core Standards, only graphically. Which is why you’ve only seen them that way on the Regents exams. Here’s a good example from June of 2016.

Moving right along to Common Core Geometry, recall that our add-ons to the Common Core Geometry curriculum this year will be the Unit Reviews and Unit Assessments. This month we’ve added on every student’s favorite, Unit #3 – Triangle Congruence Proof. We’ve given you a long set of additional problems and a nice assessment. We’ve also published the standards alignment documents in our Table of Contents section. If you’ve been itching to do some standards mapping to our Geometry curriculum, check out that link.

For our Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons this month we bring you an additional assessment and lesson. We created a Unit 3 Formative Assessment make up exam. This rounds out the Form B exams for Common Core Algebra II. Now each unit has both an assessment and a mirror make up assessment. We may consider adding additional make up assessments if teachers think it’s a good idea. We also added a lesson to Unit 4. Lesson 7.5 is titled Exponential Modeling Revisited and looks at moving between time units in exponential modeling. For example, if a growth model is given in hours, what would its equivalent look like if modeled in days instead. We’ve seen numerous questions on the New York State CC Alg II Regents exam on these types of questions.

Finally there is the old-faithful Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Add-On for this month. After a great deal of resistance on the part of yours truly, I’ve finally created a lesson on factoring trinomials with a method other than guess and check. I created Unit 3 – Lesson 6.6 – Factoring Trinomials Using the AC Method. Teachers who are familiar with this method of factoring already probably have a sense for how this lesson will work. I still believe guessing and checking is important for students, but this method does work and does produce reliable results, at least it does if a student can find the two integers that satisfy the product and sum conditions.

A final note on add-ons in general. I’ve been struggling with how to arrange them and have decided to keep placing resources into the add-ons so that they are in Unit order. That means add-ons from last year mix with ones from this year. For teachers who want to only see new add-ons, this isn’t the greatest way of organizing them. Still, for the teacher who just wants to see what resources are there for a particular unit, this is a very effective way to  have them arranged. As always, if you have any thoughts either way, feel free to reach out to me.

In other New York Math News, it looks like the Board of Regents finally voted on and adopted the New York State Next Generation Mathematics Learning Standards (or NYSNGMLS). Click on that link to open the full 170 page pdf document on the standards. They were just adopted so there are many news articles on them. Here’s a good one out of Albany itself:

Goodbye Common Core: New York’s New English, Math Standards Are Here – Albany Times Union

One of the most important parts of this piece is the following excerpt:

I’ve been waiting on some official word of the timeline before we started to modify our own text. Looks like I have a few years to make that happen. We may, when the time comes (2020), publish a New York edition to our Common Core texts. I’m hopeful by that time we’ve moved to an electronic only textbook. Thanks to Brian Battistoni, my good friend and colleague from Arlington High School, for the heads-up that the Next Gen standards had been officially adopted.

Well, I think that’s it for now. I’m hopeful that everyone has had a good start to their school year. As always, if you are having any troubles with your subscriptions or any suggestions on the curriculum, don’t hesitate to email me at: Kirk@emathinstruction.com. I’m busy, but never too busy to help.

 

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eMath August 2017 Newsletter

It’s that time of the year again in New York. The wonderful month of July has past us by and we are now in the thick of getting ready for the coming academic year. Many New York schools start right before or after Labor Day weekend, so the countdown has definitely begun. I know that many of our members outside of New York have already begun their school year. Either way, here at eMathInstruction we hope that everyone has had a wonderful summer vacation and is charged up for the year ahead.

We have been busy this summer as well. For those familiar with the site, you may have noticed the look of it has changed. We’ve kept all the resources in the same places, but hopefully made them even easier to use. Our excellent website designer Stephen Suess (no relation to the good Doctor) will continue to make upgrades as the year progresses. So, watch for more improvement. As always, if you find anything amiss, please email me and we will try to fix it.

One of the very exciting developments we had this year was the addition of our first Spanish language text. We created a Spanish Language edition of Common Core Algebra I, Curso Común de Álgebra I. This translation was edited by my good friend Yamir DeJesus-Decena. She is an excellent math teacher of all levels at Arlington High School who also happens to be fluent in Spanish. Many thanks to Yamir for a great job on the editing of the book. Right now only the workbook is available. We have not yet created an electronic answer key in Spanish nor have we posted the Spanish version of the files. Pricing on the book is the same as for the English version.

We just put out the latest round of add-ons to each course. We are keeping the add-ons in Unit order, so the news ones are mixed in with the older ones. For Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons we’ve rounded out our Form B assessments by creating makeups for Units 1 and 2. All units now have two assessments each (at least). Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons were a bit more complicated. We added a new lesson on Equivalence and the Calculator. We thought students could use even more work with how to use their calculator to check algebraic manipulations. We also added a Form B assessment for Unit 2. We will continue to add Form B assessments to Common Core Algebra II to make sure each unit has at least one. For the Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Add-Ons we also created a lesson on Using Tables on Your Calculator. As well we added a lesson where students use the online graphing calculator Desmos to explore the slope-intercept and point-slope form of a line.

Finally, there is Common Core Geometry. Geometry is brand new this year, so it has far fewer resources than the other courses. In fact the “add-ons” for Common Core Geometry this year will be the Unit Reviews and Unit Assessments for the course. For this month, we’ve added the reviews and assessments for Units 1 and 2. Next month we will add them for at least Unit 3 and possible also Unit 4, depending on timing. We plan to have all of these done by the March 2018 newsletter.

This year will be an interesting one for us at eMathInstruction. We plan to work on some performance task assessments for various courses, work on new lessons based on curriculum changes coming to New York State (does anyone really know when these will be implemented?), and we will start to develop a prototype of an electronic only textbook app. That last piece is very exciting. We believe that within 5 years very few schools will be using paper and will move exclusively to tablet/computer based learning. We want to be able to deliver our materials in that format when the time comes.

For now, I’ll let those who still are on vacation get back to it. Enjoy what time you have left, if you are still off. For those already back in the classroom, have a great start to your year. As always, let me know if you have any comments. I can be reached at: Kirk@emathinstruction.com.

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eMath May Newsletter

Well, it’s finally mid-May, which means that nice weather has returned to upstate New York. It also means that we are hitting the homestretch of the school year, with some schools finishing up quite soon. New York schools don’t finish until the third or fourth week of June, but final exams (Regents Exams) in math come in mid-June.

We have lots of exciting news and one last round of add-ons for this school year. First, we’ll start with the news which is mostly about Common Core Geometry. We are now done with the workbook and are printing up a bunch for summer orders. The answer key is being uploaded as I write this newsletter. It will definitely be available by Memorial Day weekend if not by the end of this week. We continue to record the videos and upload them as they are edited. We hope to have all of Unit 2 uploaded this week. That’s the particularly challenging unit on Transformations and Rigid Motions.

Another exciting set of events we have coming up are our Instagram Live Review sessions for the New York State High School Regents Exams. We will hold one review session for each of Common Core Algebra I, Common Core Geometry, and Common Core Algebra II. We are still settling on final times, but right now here is our proposed schedule:

Common Core Algebra I – Sunday, June 11th  from 3 to 5 p.m.

Common Core Algebra II – Wednesday, June 14th from 6 to 8 p.m.

Common Core Geometry – Thursday, June 15th from 6 to 8 p.m.

We will simply be taking questions from students who are watching the Live Session. We will have all of the previous Regents exams open and can work out questions on any of those or anything else the students throw our way. For those of you not familiar with Instagram, students will have to follow me (@kirkweiler). As well, they will only be able to watch via their phones as Instagram is not a computer or tablet based app (how weird is that?). There may be work arounds for this limitation. We went with Instagram instead of Facebook because we found that most teenagers have Instagram accounts, but not Facebook accounts.

Please do let us know if you have thoughts about the timing of the sessions. We tried to pick what we thought made the most sense after speaking with both students and teachers about it.

Our final round of add-ons for this school year are all about review materials. For each course, we added review quizzes for each unit. These are short, “keep them honest” quizzes that hit on major topics of each unit. They are only 10 points each and are designed to help a teacher get some feedback on where students are at on each unit, without taking up too much time for assessment during this last month of intense review. In Common Core Algebra I, we have a packet of quizzes for Units 4 through 10. For Common Core Algebra II we have these quizzes for all 13 units. For Algebra 2 and Trig, we supply the quizzes for Units 7 through 13.

We will keep posting eMath Newsletters in June and July, but won’t be posting additional add-ons during this time. We will begin to add new ones in the August newsletter, starting with our first round ever of Common Core Geometry add-ons. We plan making the Unit Reviews and Assessments the add-ons for Common Core Geometry next year, which is why the price of those subscriptions are slightly less than others. We don’t know yet what the add-ons will be for the other courses, but plan on exploring Performance Tasks for these courses as well as creating some lessons that address the modifications we are seeing in the Common Core curriculum in New York state.

For now, have a great May! Enjoy Memorial Day weekend and the final sprint. I’ll see you back here in mid-June!!!

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eMath April Newsletter

Spring has sprung here in upstate New York. We’ve had a beautiful April so far. Many school districts in New York are just coming off of spring break, although lucky ones might still be on it. We waited a bit longer than usual to post our newsletter because of both Passover and Easter, but the add-ons are up on the site for the three courses and we have much news to tell.

I’m going to start with Common Core Geometry. We’ve been busy on all fronts with that course. My producer, Joey Shavelle of JoLo Studios, and I have been working on the videos for the course. We have about 70% of them recorded and about 25% of them edited and posted at this point. We plan on having them all done and linked to on our site by the beginning of August. Most will be up by the end of this school year. We decided to edit and post all of them for our Unit #4 on Constructions because I know how easily students forget these techniques.

Construction Unit

We are also working hard to do final edits on both the workbook (must remove typos!!!) and the answer key. Our plans are to have both workbooks and the answer key subscriptions available by Memorial Day weekend of this May. We have priced the Teacher Plus subscriptions at $125 per subscription, which is less expensive that those for our other courses. We did this because the first version of the answer key will not have Unit Reviews and Assessments. BUT, we will be adding those on as we move through the year next year. We plan to publish the Unit 1 Review and Assessment as our August add-on for the course.

In other exciting, and nerve-racking news, eMathInstruction will do its first live video event this June and hold a review for each of the major New York State Regents high school math exams (i.e. CC Algebra I, CC Geo, and CC Alg II). We considered a number of platforms and talked to the demographic we want to reach (i.e. the students) and decided to try it on Instragram Live. We believe this will allow us to field questions and answer whatever comes in. In order to ask questions and watch students will need to follow me. My Instagram username is @kirkweiler.  I’m planning on holding them on Monday, June 12th (Common Core Algebra I), Wednesday, June 14th (Common Core Algebra II) and Thursday, June 15th (Common Core Geometry).  I’m going to try to make these marathon sessions and probably try to go from 5 to 7 or 5 to 8. Please give me feedback on both dates and times. It’s a bit tricky given that Geo and Alg II are on the same day. We will do a practice run in early June. More details in our May newsletter.

O.k. Let’s discuss the Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons. As always, we want to give teachers tools that can use and modify. So, we rounded out our Form B assessments with a Unit #11 Formative Assessment Form B. This is the final unit in the course and we now have Form B assessments for each unit except Units #1 and #2 (perhaps add-ons for next year?). We also posted short, 10 point, review quizzes for Units #1 through 3 in a bundle (so a single file has them all). These are good quizzes to simply do a quick check of understanding for students. They are certainly not comprehensive assessment of all topics in the units (see Formative assessments for that).

For the Common Core Algebra II add-ons we bring you two resources for Unit #13 on statistics. First, we round out our formative assessments with a Form B assessment for Unit #13. As well, we created a packet with four extended statistical simulation problems similar to the ones that we’ve seen tested so far on standardized tests. We tried to make these problem accessible and hope that they give you some extra problems to help students grapple with this type of thinking. I have to say that I spoke with a relative of mine who is a math professor at Penn State and even he is a bit confused by the statistical simulation questions.

Finally, we have our Algebra 2 with Trigonometry add-ons. For this course we created review quizzes for the first six units that are also just 10 points each. These small quizzes allow a teacher to review a unit and hold students accountable for the material, but not take an entire period for the assessments. Most of them consist of two to three multiple choice questions along with a few free response questions. We actually have 8 quizzes in this packet because we broke up the long units #3 and #6 in half to provide more feedback.

O.k. So, that’s about it. I need to get back to editing Common Core Geometry. I hope that everyone is enjoying the nicer weather and all that comes with it. The school year is now more than three-quarters over and we are just about in the homestretch. See you all in May.

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eMath March Newsletter

It’s March 14th. Pi Day!!! Here’s a nice pi-ku for you:

Pi-ku

Also, in the greater Northeast, it is Snowpocalypse 2017. So far about 9 inches have fallen with another 15 or so on the way.

We’ve been exceptionally busy lately here at eMathInstruction. I’m going to switch things up a bit in this newsletter and give you the news first and discuss add-ons second.

On the Common Core Geometry front we’ve been moving ahead nicely. We just received the first formal proof for the book.

Geometry Proof

That means once we’ve done one more round of editing it will be ready to go to press. We’ve also finished the rough draft of the answer key and will continue to work on it as well. We hope to have both workbooks and answer key subscriptions available for purchase by Memorial Day weekend. In our store, it appears that both the workbooks and answer keys have been sold out when in fact they aren’t even for sale yet. But, we can create Quotes for the two products if any schools need these for next year’s budgets.

Most of our time and energy now is being devoted to producing the Common Core Geometry videos. We will have full length lesson videos for each of the 95 lessons in the curriculum. We are now using a SMART Board and screen capture technology because of the more tactile approach to Common Core Geometry.

Videos will be posted as they are finished. Our target is to be done with all videos by July 1st. We will certainly have many of them posted before that time, so if students need refreshers on how to do various constructions or other topics, point them to our Common Core Geometry Course, which is now officially on our Home Page:

Home Page with Geometry #2

During the next two months, we will be very busy recording the videos, so it may take more time to get an email response and we will likely be able to take less calls than normal. We do promise to get back to everyone who communicates with us as fast as we can. Just please be patient with us as we head into the final stages of Common Core Geometry.

We also have news on the New York City front. With the help of the good, and extremely patient, people in the New York City Division of Contracts and Purchasing (DCP) and Instructional Materials Review Unit (IMRU) we are very close now to having our materials listed on ShopDOE/FAMIS. They are now reviewing our books and we hope they may be listed by the end of March or early April. We are fairly certain that NYSTL approval will come shortly afterwards. But, to be honest, we are still a bit confused about that process (no great surprise).

We’ve got new add-ons this month for our three main courses. For Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons we have two new additions this month. We’ve got a Unit #10 Formative Assessment Form B exam. That’s our unit on Statistics, so this is a nice beefy make-up modeled on the original. On top of that, we also spent a great deal of time this last month uploading all of our videos onto TeacherTube. We’ve heard throughout the years that some schools block YouTube. My district of Arlington never did block YouTube, or if they did they unblocked it many years ago. Anyhow, all of our links on our site will continue to be YouTube links. But for this month I created a TeacherTube Hyperlinked Table of Contents so that teachers and students can easily find the video they want.

For Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons it is a similar story. First up we have the Unit 12 Formative Assessment Form B. This assessment is for our unit in Probability, so we are getting close to the end of the course with this one. Next month, when we hit Statistics, we plan to offer a Form B assessment  as well as a packet of statistical simulation results that you can work with your kids on interpreting. Finally, we also have posted the TeacherTube Hyperlinked Table of Contents for that course as well.

For Algebra 2 and Trigonometry Add-Ons, we continue our trend of adding on Formative Assessment for the course. We never did this when we originally created the course some nine years ago. For this month we’ve added on the Unit 12 Formative Assessment (Statistics) and the Unit 13 Formative Assessment (Sequences and Series). We’ll have to think hard about what to add-on for the April and May rounds. Perhaps reviews quizzes?

Alright. Well, I hear the first round of blowing snow off my driveway coming. Stay safe and warm and have a happy Pi-Day! Lest we end this newsletter on anything but an odd note, here are three pies singing the digits of pi in Finish thanks to Phineas and Ferb:

 

 

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eMath February Newsletter

We’ve now moved past the mid-winter point (Groundhog’s Day) and are heading towards spring, even though our recent blizzards don’t make it seem that way. We’ve got some add-ons and some news here at eMathInstruction, so let’s get to it.

For this month’s Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons we have three new additions. We start with a worksheet that gives students extra practice simplifying square roots. This is a nice worksheet if you just feel kids need extra practice on this skill. From there we move on to a Form B Formative Assessment for Unit 9 (Roots and Irrational Numbers). Our last add-on for the month is a mid-unit quiz for Unit 10 on Statistics.

We have some nice materials for our Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons this month. They are all about Unit 11 – The Circular Functions (i.e. the Trig Functions). First we bring you a mid-unit quiz that covers the first 5 lessons and will give teachers a good sense if students are understanding the basic concepts of these non-algebraic functions. Next we have a wonderful modeling activity where students use sinusoidal functions to model the length of daylight in both Poughkeepsie, New York, and Brisbane, Australia. This graphing activity uses the online graphing calculator Desmos, so there is no need for you to enter data by hand or into any calculators. Students just click on a link and are taken immediately to the data. Finally, we have a Form B Formative Assessment for Unit 11.

For the Algebra 2 and Trigonometry Add-Ons, we bring two solid Formative Unit Assessments. The first is for Unit 10 – Exponential and Logarithmic Functions. This is a challenging assessment that will really let teachers see how much students have learned about these challenging topics. We then bring you a Formative Assessment for Unit 11 – Probability. Students will be challenged to deal with combinations, permutations, and binomial probability. Fun!

Besides add-ons, we have news on other fronts. We have experienced a great deal of growth in our website traffic in the last year. So, in the next week we will be switching hosting services to one that can carry all of the traffic easily. That might cause a few hours of our site being out, but we will attempt to do that in the overnight hours on some weekend night when hopefully no one is actually using our site.

Common Core Geometry is coming along nicely. We are done with our first draft of the answer key, which also means we are done with our second round of editing on the book itself. We plan to have Common Core Geometry workbooks and answer key subscriptions ready for quote in mid-March and ready for sale around Memorial Day. We have just begun to work on the videos and will begin to release them as we get them done and edited.  We may be taking our time on these and because of that may not have the QR codes on the first edition of our workbooks. But, if that is the case, we will certainly publish a hyperlinked table of contents and will always have the links handy on our website.

We continue to work on a Spanish language version of Common Core Algebra I. We believe we will be ready to sell this for the 2017-2018 school year (it is done in its first draft).

Well, that’s about it for now. As always, contact us if you have suggestions for add-ons or if you have any questions. You can always reach me at: Kirk@emathinstruction.com.

 

 

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eMath January Newsletter

It’s January in upstate New York, which means it is really, really cold with no end of winter in site. For our friends in Arizona and other warm climates, now is the time to really enjoy how great it is not to have radical season change. We are quickly heading towards the mid-year point here and we have eMathInstruction news to report and add-ons to add on.

Let’s get to those add-ons. First up are the Common Core Algebra I Add-Ons. We start with monster packet of factoring questions. I’ve always found it useful to have a day where I have kids practice on all of the major types of factoring and that’s exactly what this packet does. It is arrange by difficulty level, although with factoring that can vary. We then move on to Unit #8, on quadratics, with a Trinomial Perfect Square Warm-Up worksheet. We created this warm-up to give students who struggle with factoring a bit of practice with factoring perfect square trinomial before they start the process of completing the square. Finally, we have a Unit #8 Formative Assessment Form B exam. Again, these make-ups have been the most popular add-on so far so we will continue to crank them out for the course.

Moving on to the Common Core Algebra II Add-Ons, we have lots to offer this month. This month the add-ons are all centered on the length Unit #10 – Polynomial and Rational Functions. First up is a mid-unit quiz that assesses knowledge through Lesson #7. Next we have a lesson and homework set on the Sum and Difference of Perfect Cubes. This is likely different from what you might expect. I find memorizing the formulas for these two polynomial identities less than useful, so I emphasize factoring these by first finding a zero, then a factor, and then using Polynomial Long Division to finish the factoring. We of course offer up for this month a Unit #10 Formative Assessment Form B for all of those kids who miss the first one or just if you want to use a different one from the original. Lastly, we have a great graphing activity called the Polynomial Challenge. I put this out last year, but cleaned it up and made it better for this add-on. The activity uses Desmos and has kids find the equations for over 20 polynomial graphs. We did this at Arlington last year and it worked great. It’s hard to imagine any student working through this and then not understanding the connections between the zeroes of a polynomial and its graph.

Lastly we bring you the Algebra 2 with Trigonometry Add-Ons. As we promised at the beginning of the year, our emphasis for this year on Algebra 2 with Trigonometry was to  create and publish formative assessments for the course. For this month we are adding a Unit #8 Formative Assessment (Trigonometric Equations and Identities) and a Unit #9 Formative Assessment (Trigonometric Applications). These are challenging tests and will truly assess how well students have mastered the trigonometry in this course.

We continue to move along on many other fronts at eMath. We are on the verge of being listed on the New York City ShopDOE/FAMIS system. This should help all of the great schools in New York City to more easily order our products. We are also moving ahead on the Common Core Geometry Answer Key with approximately 70% of it completed in its first form. It should be ready for quoting purposes in February and ordering by Memorial Day weekend for next year. It will likely be a less costly subscription that our others because we plan on adding the unit reviews and assessments next year as add-ons. We will start the Geometry videos in mid-February and will likely be putting them up on YouTube as soon as we get each of them done and edited. We have some surprises coming with these videos, so watch for them.

That’s it for now. Enjoy the rest of your January and early February. Good luck to all the schools that will be administering January Regents exams here in New York. May your students think clearly (and get good night’s sleep the nigh before). As always, if you have any questions, please send them my way at: Kirk@emathinstruction.com.