Tuesday, July 24, 2012

July 24th Email to Parents

Below is the content of the information email I sent out to parents on July 24th for your reference.


Welcome to Algebra!

I want to share a few things with you about my Algebra class now, and then you can expect another email the first week of August that will give you some more information as well as some information I’ll ask you to share with your student. As was mentioned when you requested “Flipped Algebra,” there are many reasons why broadband access to the Internet is going to be very helpful for your student, but two of the most important are access to some video instruction and access to pre-assessments that your student will take before formal assessments. If you’re interested, there is much more information and examples listed on the information page.

The AHS Math Department has created a Math Skills Assessment that all incoming freshmen need to complete in order to prepare them to be successful in mathematics at AHS. Even if your student is not a freshmen, they should complete this skills assessment and work on any skills they are having difficulty with. Our first formal assessment will be within the first few days of school over these skills. Students who are still struggling with these skills will then need to devote extra time - and their unscheduled hours - to master these skills in the first few weeks of school. Since those first few weeks are both exciting and extremely busy, it would be much better to use some of their time during the summer when things are more relaxed to make sure they have mastered these pre-algebra skills.

While you obviously don’t need to go shopping just yet, I wanted to share the materials your student will need for my class now. That way if you come across any great sales you can purchase early, and perhaps you might just want to purchase early since back-to-school time can be pretty busy and stressful for a lot of folks. Here’s what your student will need for my class:



  1. Laptop Computer - You should have already received an email with information about this.
  2. 3-Ring Binder - Probably a 1-inch binder will do. For organizational purposes, it’s going to be very helpful to have 3 dividers in that binder as well.
  3. Notebook Paper - Your student will be taking notes, working problems, and sketching diagrams on a daily basis, probably several hundred sheets would be good to start with.
  4. Graph Paper - This is Algebra, so graph paper is a must. Probably about 100 sheets would be a good amount to start with.
  5. Writing Utensils - The old standby #2 pencil is going to come in handy. Some students will also find either colored pencils or pens (like those 4-color pens) handy in order to better take notes and illustrate their thinking.
  6. Calculator - The only requirement is that your student have a scientific calculator of some sort. While graphing calculators have many advantages, they are not required - especially considering your student will have a laptop. There are many pieces of software and browser plug-ins available for their laptop, see this link for more information.

    Even though they’ll have their laptop, they’ll most likely still want to have a separate calculator, as they won’t always be able to use their laptops on assessments. A great, relatively inexpensive scientific calculator available in many stores as well as online is the
    TI-36 Pro (Scientific, ~$18)
  7. Optional USB Flash Drive - For all of their classes, a USB flash drive will come in handy at times for students to transport files among various computers.
  8. Optional Headphones - For all their classes, headphones/earbuds that can be plugged into the audio port on a computer are helpful.

I’m hopeful that you find this information helpful. If you have any questions, please let me know. Expect another email from me around the first week of August. Thanks for your time and I’m looking forward to having your student in my class this fall.

Sincerely,

Karl Fisch
Arapahoe High School

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