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Now that it’s September, schools around the country, including New York State, are in full swing. Around New York, schools are experimenting with in school classes, hybrid models, and fully remote teaching. Each has its challenges and there are still a lot of questions about how the 2020-2021 school year is going to play out. At eMATHinstruction, we are doing our best to create materials that will help teachers navigate these challenging times.

For this month, we start by offering SMART Notebook files for the first three units in each of our middle school courses. These files can only be used by the program SMART Notebook, which is the standard software used by teachers who have SMART Boards. Because of how many teachers use this software and how many are in remote learning situations, we thought it would be wise to post them. I did want to mention that some of the presentations have animation in them and teachers should experiment with the presentations before using them in a remote situation. The files are located as the last resource under each of the lessons.

For our new additions in Common Core Algebra I this month, we bring you two new resources. First, we have published the Unit 4 Assessments, Forms A, B, and C, in Spanish. As I mentioned in last month’s newsletter, these tests are identical to the original English versions, but have been translated into Spanish. We hope that if your school has native Spanish language speakers that these tests will help you better understand what math they have learned and what still needs work. We also created a new lesson for Unit 2 (Linear Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities). This lesson is entitled “Using Structure to Understand Solutions to Equations.” It has students solve equations with integer solutions both algebraically and using tables on their calculators. Particular emphasis is placed on understanding how the structure of an equation can tell us whether it has no solutions or an infinite number.

In Common Core Geometry this month we bring you two new resources for Unit 2 (Transformations, Rigid Motions, and Congruence). First, we have a mid-unit quiz that can be given after Lesson #5. We provide you with two forms of this quiz for more flexibility. We also bring you the Form D assessment for Unit 2.

For Common Core Algebra II this month we have one resource for Unit 3 (Linear Functions, Equations, and Their Algebra) and one for Unit 4 (Exponential and Logarithmic Functions). For Unit 3, we bring you a mid-unit quiz and include two forms of the quiz. For Unit 4, we bring you an enrichment lesson on solving equations that involve logarithms. Please note, this is not a lesson on solving exponential equations using logarithms, but a lesson on solving equations that contain logarithms. We keep them relatively simple and do not involve log laws to combine logarithms. We emphasize solving these equations by applying inverse operations, including exponentiation. Some time in the lesson is also devoted to solving logarithmic equations graphically.

Finally, in Algebra 2 with Trigonometry we bring you a Unit 3 (Quadratic Functions and Their Algebra) enrichment lesson on “Using Structure to Factor.” This lesson requires students to see the structure in an expression and use it to factor more challenging expressions. We also bring you the Unit 3 Form D assessment.

This has been an “interesting” start to the school year. With students and teachers on Zoom, Teams, Classroom, Schoolology and other platforms just trying their best to make this learning thing work this year. I don’t know about anyone else, but I long for the days of having kids in a packed classroom five days a week. Good teaching and thorough learning was hard enough back then, and now it is so much more challenging. We don’t have a crystal ball here at eMATHinstruction, and we certainly don’t know what the New York State Department of Education is planning in terms of testing at the end of the year. Our ardent hope is that they will either cancel the testing, as they did last year, or will modify it and the standards that should be taught in a way that makes sense given the reduced instructional time that all students are experiencing this year. Oh, and we hope they do this soon and don’t wait until mid-March of 2021. Until next month, stay healthy, stay sane, and keep fighting the good fight. -Kirk