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University School

Faculty

Dear parent or guardian,

Individualizing education in the mathematics classroom is important to me. I strive to help every child achieve his or her maximum ability in math. Class discussions are student centered rather than lecture. In order to be as successful as possible, students will need to engage in class discussions. Please encourage your child to ask any questions he or she may have during our discussions. It is beneficial for some students to write the questions they ask in their notes as well as the answers they receive during dialogue.

My class is structured in a way to help students become lifelong learners of mathematics. It is imperative that students complete their homework individually. They are expected to give their best efforts rather than simply finishing it quickly. If they receive help on homework as they complete it, they may be overconfident in their abilities. They may also become bored in class as they will see correction and reflection time as unproductive. It also leads to questions like, "Why does my child perform well on homework but not on assessments?" The place for outside help should be after students have reflected on their work and corrected it in class.

As a parent, when looking through your child's math notebook you should be able to distinguish between work that has been reflected on and work that has not been reflected on and corrected. Students complete assignments in pencil. Then, they correct in ink. If you notice problems corrected, we have already discussed the material in class. At that point, please help your child with any questions he or she has. If he or she is still struggling with any question or concept, please encourage him or her to discuss it with me. Questions are always welcome whether they are about new or old material.

If your child is struggling, please consider some of the following suggestions:

 

  • Encourage your child to share his/her learning objectives with you each evening. Then, ask your child to model the skills as he/she explains what the objectives mean. If your child struggles with any of the objectives, please revisit the objectives the following two evenings using the same process.

  • Encourage your child to write down any questions he/she encounters while completing homework. These are excellent questions to add to the discussion the next day in class! 

     
  • Encourage your child to use online resources. Many online resources are included with our textbook. Other links can be found on my webpage. 

     
  • Encourage your child to share his/her assessments with you. You should notice corrections on the assessments in ink just as with homework. If your child has any incorrect answers without thorough solutions, please remind him/her to ask about them during correction and reflection time. Students are expected to correct assessments. Homework and notes should guide quiz preparation. Quiz reflections should be revisited prior to tests. All tests should be kept neatly in your child's math notebook. Tests should be revisited prior to Quarter Exams, Semester Exams, TN Ready exams, and Final Exams. 

     
  • Encourage your child to attend the math lab. It is offered Mondays, Tuesday, and Thursdays. Please remind your child that the math lab must be scheduled a day in advance. Students must have no more than two "no homework" days within the past two weeks to be eligible for the math lab. Also, if your child has two "no show" days in the lab within three weeks, they will not be allowed to attend the lab for one week. The math lab is intended to help students who are making their best efforts be more successful in mathematics. The math lab is not intended to be a place to hang out or work on homework.

     
  • Private tutors can be beneficial for some students. However, hiring a private tutor should be a last resort. Some students reap great benefits from private tutors. Some students use tutors to help complete homework faster (which is a bad idea). Other students become dependent on one-on-one instruction for every new concept and mentally withdraw from class. If you choose to hire a private tutor, please discuss what practices are to be involved. Sadly, I have had students in the past who shared with me that tutors did their homework for them. Please remind tutors that your child's homework is to be completed independently.

 

I often tell students math is not a spectator sport. It takes practice to improve. If your child needs additional practice on a particular skill, please encourage him or her to request it from me. I typically have it ready the next school day. Also, please stress to your child how important it is to thoroughly reflect on his or her work. If you are concerned that your child is not using their class time wisely, please do not hesitate to send me an email. I will be glad to share my observations with you.

Please note that you can find information beyond grades on PowerSchool. After logging in to PowerSchool, you should see a Quarter Grade for Algebra. Then, click on the grade for the appropriate quarter. You should see each individual assignment for the quarter. The first two assignments, "No Homework Days" and "Days in the Math Lab," state they are not included in the average. If there are numbers other than zeroes in these columns, there will also be a digital note. Hover over the digital note and you will see details about why your child did not have his or her homework or what skills he or she addressed in the lab each day attended.

If you are financially able (and willing) to contribute to our classroom, we appreciate it! I update a wish list on my webpage throughout the year. We can always use batteries! We have some need for AA batteries. We have a strong need for AAA batteries! It is heart breaking to see a high school boy cry on his desk because his batteries died during a test. I literally feel like a superhero when I can save the day with batteries. If you are feeling very generous (or can pool with a few friends to meet a need), then you are welcome to help our less fortunate students by donating a TI-84 calculator to the school library. Students check them out from the library just like books. This also works as a backup plan for students who forget a calculator the day of a test or quiz. We will gladly accept new or used calculators.

Email is the most efficient method of communication for me. If you need additional details beyond information on PowerSchool, please do not hesitate to send me a message. If your child is absent, assignments can be found on my webpage after 4:00 pm each day.

Sincerely,

Kimberly Summey, Ed.S.

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