## Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why do I need to show my work when I can do a lot of the math in my head?

A: Mental math is an important part of what we do in 8th grade math. However, showing your work and communicating your methods are key to your understanding for a number of reasons:

a) Working through problems on paper will make it possible for you to go back over any incorrect problems to find errors and understand why you missed them.

b) Performing the mathematical steps on paper will prepare you for more challenging problems in the future. If you develop the habits of strong problem solving and organization with simpler problems, more complex work will be easier for you to manage.

c) Going through the steps of solving problems on paper will help connect the mental math you perform with your visual learning. This helps you retain the information more easily and for a longer period of time.

d) Keeping a record of your work will provide support so you can explain and justify your thinking as you communicate your ideas to others.

Q: I sometimes get frustrated because the math we are doing can be confusing. Is this normal, or is there something wrong with me?

A: Believe it or not,

Q: I am going to be absent. Is there something special I should know about my math work?

A: Each student is given an "Assignment Card" at the start of every chapter in the textbook. If you know you will be absent, it is best to ask your teacher which assignment(s) you will miss and complete this work

Q: I checked my grades and I am falling behind in math. Is there anything I can do to bring up my grade?

A: The best way to keep your grade up is to complete every assignment and turn it in on time. If you find yourself falling behind, begin by turning in all of your current work first. This way you will receive full credit for that work. Then you should work to complete all late work in after school tutorial or at home. If you need help or encouragement in bringing up your grade, please see Mrs. Dedini. She is eager to meet with students who are willing to work hard to bring up grades.

Q: Why don't you offer extra credit in your class?

A: While extra credit may

Q: I am a parent of a math student in your class. What can I do to support my child in learning the math

this year?

A: There are a number of things you can do to support your student as they learn 8th grade math this year:

a) First and foremost, give positive messages about math. Students often mimic parents' feelings and belief systems. If you feel uncomfortable about a subject, it is likely your child will as well. It is critical for every student to view math as a subject that can be explored -- as a sequence of puzzles that can be solved through trial and error in order to grow in understanding. It is very true that we learn from our mistakes, as well as from observing others. Therefore, it is critical that students shift their thinking from merely "procedure learning" to observing patterns, considering others' thinking, identifying errors, and explaining their own thought process. It will help if you encourage them through any confusion because

b) Stay involved in the learning process. Ask about the lesson of the day. Even if you feel a bit "rusty" with the math, ask them to teach you what they learned that day. Students actually learn concepts best when they are, in turn, asked to teach them to someone else and explain their thinking!

c) Ask to see your student's agenda and assignment card. All students should write in the math section of their agenda

d) Ask to see your student's math work in the "Math" section of their binder. The math work should contain a record of your student's math interaction and thinking this year. This work should be kept neat and orderly in the binder so students can refer back to them to prepare for chapter tests and as we build upon concepts throughout the year.

e) Stay in touch by checking ABI regularly. Contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding your student's progress in math this year. I am available by phone or e-mail, and I welcome your involvement in your child's learning.

A: Mental math is an important part of what we do in 8th grade math. However, showing your work and communicating your methods are key to your understanding for a number of reasons:

a) Working through problems on paper will make it possible for you to go back over any incorrect problems to find errors and understand why you missed them.

b) Performing the mathematical steps on paper will prepare you for more challenging problems in the future. If you develop the habits of strong problem solving and organization with simpler problems, more complex work will be easier for you to manage.

c) Going through the steps of solving problems on paper will help connect the mental math you perform with your visual learning. This helps you retain the information more easily and for a longer period of time.

d) Keeping a record of your work will provide support so you can explain and justify your thinking as you communicate your ideas to others.

Q: I sometimes get frustrated because the math we are doing can be confusing. Is this normal, or is there something wrong with me?

A: Believe it or not,

__. When you feel confused, it is your brain telling you, "Hey! It's time to learn something!" If you listen to your brain's signal and make a strong effort to understand the topic, you will learn the lesson for the day. If you decide to let that confusion become frustration, it's like telling your brain, "Forget learning. I don't even want to try," and you will most likely struggle with the concept for the day. If this happens day after day, you will be in danger of falling behind. Stay focused. Be ready to learn. You will be glad you did!__*confusion is an important part of learning*Q: I am going to be absent. Is there something special I should know about my math work?

A: Each student is given an "Assignment Card" at the start of every chapter in the textbook. If you know you will be absent, it is best to ask your teacher which assignment(s) you will miss and complete this work

*before you come back to school*so you don't fall behind. In the event of an unexpected absence, do your best to work through the assignment from that day before you return. It is important to remember that there is no substitute for being in class to interact with the mathematics. If you are absent frequently, your understanding of the concepts will suffer. Do your part by limiting absences as much as possible.Q: I checked my grades and I am falling behind in math. Is there anything I can do to bring up my grade?

A: The best way to keep your grade up is to complete every assignment and turn it in on time. If you find yourself falling behind, begin by turning in all of your current work first. This way you will receive full credit for that work. Then you should work to complete all late work in after school tutorial or at home. If you need help or encouragement in bringing up your grade, please see Mrs. Dedini. She is eager to meet with students who are willing to work hard to bring up grades.

Q: Why don't you offer extra credit in your class?

A: While extra credit may

*seem*like a terrific way to bring up grades, a "no extra credit" policy teaches valuable lessons of responsibility and meeting deadlines. If work is done on time, students are less likely to fall behind in class and will remain "in step" with the concepts that build upon each other day after day. Although I do not offer extra credit, I periodically extend bonus point opportunities in the form of brain teasers and challenges. These bonus points are earned through extension activities which deepen understanding of a particular concept and require detailed explanation/justification of completed work.Q: I am a parent of a math student in your class. What can I do to support my child in learning the math

this year?

A: There are a number of things you can do to support your student as they learn 8th grade math this year:

a) First and foremost, give positive messages about math. Students often mimic parents' feelings and belief systems. If you feel uncomfortable about a subject, it is likely your child will as well. It is critical for every student to view math as a subject that can be explored -- as a sequence of puzzles that can be solved through trial and error in order to grow in understanding. It is very true that we learn from our mistakes, as well as from observing others. Therefore, it is critical that students shift their thinking from merely "procedure learning" to observing patterns, considering others' thinking, identifying errors, and explaining their own thought process. It will help if you encourage them through any confusion because

__.__*it is a normal part of the learning process*b) Stay involved in the learning process. Ask about the lesson of the day. Even if you feel a bit "rusty" with the math, ask them to teach you what they learned that day. Students actually learn concepts best when they are, in turn, asked to teach them to someone else and explain their thinking!

c) Ask to see your student's agenda and assignment card. All students should write in the math section of their agenda

*. Even if your student has no homework on a given day, they will write, "No Homework Today" in their agenda. If you find there is nothing written in your child's agenda for math, something is wrong. Please contact me.*__ON A DAILY BASIS__d) Ask to see your student's math work in the "Math" section of their binder. The math work should contain a record of your student's math interaction and thinking this year. This work should be kept neat and orderly in the binder so students can refer back to them to prepare for chapter tests and as we build upon concepts throughout the year.

e) Stay in touch by checking ABI regularly. Contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding your student's progress in math this year. I am available by phone or e-mail, and I welcome your involvement in your child's learning.

Q: What is the "big deal" about Common Core? Should we be concerned?

A: Mathematics is a subject that must be explored in order to fully understand. In the past, the main emphasis in math classes was based upon memorizing formulas and performing specific algorithms to arrive at a correct answer. The answer was viewed as the most important part of mathematics learning. Unfortunately, this emphasis on arriving at a correct answer regularly left a large portion of the student population discouraged and frustrated because they "didn't get it." It is not uncommon to hear a person refer to themselves as "not good at math" because these methods often lead students to the conclusion that math is like magic - you have to know the "trick" in order to find success. Fortunately, the Mathematics Common Core Standards have included the 8 Mathematical Practices which place emphasis not only on

A: Mathematics is a subject that must be explored in order to fully understand. In the past, the main emphasis in math classes was based upon memorizing formulas and performing specific algorithms to arrive at a correct answer. The answer was viewed as the most important part of mathematics learning. Unfortunately, this emphasis on arriving at a correct answer regularly left a large portion of the student population discouraged and frustrated because they "didn't get it." It is not uncommon to hear a person refer to themselves as "not good at math" because these methods often lead students to the conclusion that math is like magic - you have to know the "trick" in order to find success. Fortunately, the Mathematics Common Core Standards have included the 8 Mathematical Practices which place emphasis not only on

__students learn, but__*what*__they learn the content. These practices are best described as the "verbs" of math because they outline the action of how learning is taking place and involved the use of higher level thinking skills, such as critiquing the reasoning of others, constructing arguments to support mathematical thinking, communicating reasoning, and modeling the math behind each problem. Working through a problem to simply find an answer is no longer satisfactory – students must develop the skills to problem solve on a much deeper level than merely “search and find.” Teachers are actively working to build a learning environment which will foster the strong problem solving skills needed to prepare today’s students for jobs that quite likely don’t yet exist. Check out this video gain a better understanding of the mindset shift associated with Common Core mathematics:__*how*

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