Welcome to PreAlgebra!

Mrs. Holmberg, 2011-2012

 What is PreAlgebra?  PreAlgebra is a mathematics course designed to strengthen students’ calculation skills, mathematical vocabulary, and knowledge of mathematical principles.  This course will also empower students to apply mathematical models and to think logically.  

 Why study PreAlgebra?  PreAlgebra will prepare students for the study of Algebra while also preparing them for future study of geometry, probability, and data analysis .  These courses of study will empower students to live comfortably and work successfully in our technological society.  Most people like to have options.  The more mathematics you know, the more opportunities will be open to you whether you choose to seek employment after high school, enter the military, or enroll in a college or technical training school.  Many people today have as many as six careers in their lifetime.  Knowing more mathematics allows you to more easily make changes in your career when and if you desire to do so.  Moreover, knowing more mathematics will simplify your every day life, and could alert you to costly financial errors.  

What will our PreAlgebra class be like?  If mathematics is not your favorite subject, don’t despair.  I am here to help!  To get the most out of our class time, I need your input!  Everyone learns differently.  For example, some people are very visual and need to see and read hardcopy of something they are trying to learn.  Others are very much “hands on” and need to manipulate objects to learn or practice a new concept.  Still others may prefer a combination of different learning methods to do their best.  We need to work together to find the methods that work best for you.  Some of the methods we will try include hands on activities, linking concepts, short mini lessons, discussion, cooperative group work, personal journal entries, projects, and spiral review techniques.  We will also read and refer to our text, and we will reinforce concepts through nightly homework.  But I also want ideas and suggestions from you.  Please share your ideas and suggestions with me throughout the semester. 

 Not only do people learn in different ways, they also learn at their own pace.  Occasionally, students in our class may be working on different skills at different times.  If you are comfortable with a particular skill, I want you to be able to move on without having to wait for other students who may need a little bit more time with a particular concept.  Before you move on to another topic however, you may be asked to help others in our class who might be struggling a little more than you with that particular topic.  It is often said that when you can teach the concept to a friend, you truly know the material.  Who knows?  After an absence, for example, you might be the student who needs help from a friend at a later date.

In our PreAlgebra class, the teacher will determine when calculator usage is appropriate and when it is not appropriate, based on the topic of study.  Students are expected to know basic math facts.  If remediation is needed, students will be encouraged to practice their math facts in class and at home, as needed.

 How much homework will I have?  As stated in our student agenda, school policy suggests that “students should plan to devote from 30 to 40 minutes of homework preparation for study outside of class every day in each subject”.  Most students will be able to complete our PreAlgebra homework in 15-20 minutes.  In addition, another ten minutes or more might be needed to review notes, refer to examples in our text, or to discuss and review a topic with a friend.  Although some students complain that “they cannot do math”, this is simply not true.  All students can improve their math skills, but it takes effort such as this to do so.  Student motivation is very important.  Remember, if you provide ideas and suggestions to help you learn in a way that suits you as suggested above, you will be immediately more motivated and eventually more successful.

 What supplies will I need?  To start, you will need the following:

  • a one-inch binder with loose-leaf paper
  • a pencil with an eraser
  • a  calculator, such as the TI-30XIIS or similar scientific calculator which can be purchased for less than $20.00

 What if I need help?  Don’t wait!  Students should ask for extra help as soon as possible if they feel uncomfortable with any of the topics we have covered.  Sometimes a student just needs a few extra minutes to clear up a topic.  Mathematics is cumulative, and a small misunderstanding can rapidly become a major hurdle for student success.  If you need additional help, or you just need to ask more questions, I have reserved time after school twice per week just for you.  I will usually be available after school on Monday and Thursday from 2:10 – 2:45 pm in our class room.  Occasionally, a meeting may disrupt this schedule but I will make every effort to inform you of any such changes.  Always remember that I love to teach, and that I am here to help. 

 Cell Phones, I Pods, and all other electronic devices are not allowed in school.  As dictated by school policy, these items will be collected and turned in to the appropriate Assistant Principal.  For the first offense, students are allowed to pick them up at the end of the school day.  For the second offense, a parent or guardian is required to pick them up.  Also, backpacks, pocketbooks, sports equipment etc. should not remain on student desks during class.  Every student needs a clear space to work!

 Questions/Comments?  Please indicate that you have read “Welcome to PreAlgebra!" by signing the attached form.  Also, questions or comments can be noted on this form or emailed to me at any time throughout the semester.  Please return this form to the teacher by Friday.  Parent(s)/guardian(s) may reach me by calling 860-253-5320 or by email at [email protected]

 Open House for parent(s) and guardian(s) is a great way to start the new school year!  Parental involvement is very much appreciated by me, but even more importantly, by your loved one.  Please make every effort to attend.  Watch for details!

Parent/teacher conferences will be scheduled for October.  

 I look forward to the year ahead, and hope that you will learn to appreciate the beauty and usefulness of mathematics as much as I do!  

 Mrs. Holmberg, Mathematics Department Chair Enfield High School