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Unit #4.Lesson #8.Strange Lines – Vertical and Horizontal

After many, many years of teaching, this is still one of my least favorite topics to teach. It is definitely one that the day you do it, almost all kids “master” the ideas very quickly. But, even high level students will miss the boat and give incorrect equations for vertical and horizontal lines. It discourages me because equations to me simply describe points to be plotted. So, the equation x=5 is straightforward to me and is clearly a vertical line. Please note that I do not cover the slopes of these two lines. Their equations do not arise in the Common Core standards, so it is difficult to know how deeply to cover them.

Unit 4 Link

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Unit #2.Lesson #3.A Linear Equation Solving Review

Well, after the first two lessons where we establish very important fundamentals about equation solving, this lesson gives students a chance to review techniques they have seen from previous years. Remember, one of the main fluencies from Common Core 8th Grade Math is the ability to solve any type of linear equation. We can only hope that students enter Common Core Algebra I with this fluency.

Here’s the lesson: CCAlgI.Unit #2.Lesson #3.A Linear Equation Solving Review

And the video:

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The Start of School is at Hand

Hello All,

Well, we have our first couple of days of professional development next week at Arlington (the 97th largest high school in America). This week for me is full of all sorts of fun stuff. I get to catalogue all of the supplies that came in over the summer, make sure all calculators have batteries that work, create list upon list to help teachers know who is teaching the same courses, who has prep which periods, etcetera. This on top of whatever right before the year begins surprises crop up. For a department of 25 math teachers teaching 23 math courses, this constitutes a lot. And I’m still on “vacation.”

But, I’ve also been trying to organize this site into as convenient of a discussion forum as possible. I want to thank Benjamin Kirk from Ithaca High School for giving me many suggestions as far as organizing the site.

Right now I am putting up a post for each lesson. I am categorizing these posts by unit, so it should be super easy to find a particular lesson that you might want to comment on/give suggestions on, or ask a question about. Right now you have to leave a username and an email in order to leave a comment. For those of you who know me, you know that any emails submitted would never end up being distributed to third parties.

For each lesson, I am leaving a very short blurb about my thinking and feelings on the lesson. I could probably write an entire page about each lesson, but don’t have the time, as I’m sure many of you can appreciate.

Click here to link to the Unit #1 Discussion Page

For now, take care all and enjoy your last days of summer. Remember how beautiful fall can be and how much fun it will be to meet all of your new students.

Best to all!


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Building a Better Common Core Algebra I

So, this is my first blog post on our new discussion site. Many of you will be using the Common Core Algebra I curriculum this year that I wrote over many nights in the winter of 2013-2014. It is an imperfect text, and always will be. But, it can be made better through lesson study, comments, suggestions, and sharing. I believe that we can make a successful transition to the Common Core at the high school level with the input from practitioners around New York State and the country. I hope that you will join me in finding ways to build a better Common Core Algebra course.

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