• Jr. High Math with Mr. Fricks

    2021-2022 School Year

     

    WELCOME!

    WELCOME to Jr. High Math for the 2021-2022 St. Cajetan school year! 7th and 8th grade students/parents, I am beyond excited to continue working with you/your children on a daily basis this year. 6th grade students/parents, I am thrilled to have you/your children in class! This sheet details a brief overview of expectations for everything related to Math and Room 207 for the upcoming school year. If you have any questions or concerns that are not covered in this welcome letter, please let me know and we can further discuss any additional matters!

     

    SUPPLIES

    “For every minute spent organizing, an hour is earned.” Organization is key! Keep that in mind with your supplies! Trust me, I’ve seen it all. Important math notes written on loose scraps of paper, a test being completed in marker…don’t do that to yourselves! Students are expected to have a notebook specifically dedicated to Math. Students need sharpened pencils ready for class each day and a calculator that is external from their chromebooks. 7th and 8th graders will also need protractors in the later part of the school year. Go Math books will be used for this school year. Students are expected to have this book with them each day in class and are also expected to know their login information for their e-book (in the event that they do not have their book). 

     

    CURRICULUM OVERVIEW

    6th-7th-8th grade math covers a wide variety of content areas, including operations with positive and negative integers, pre-algebra, understanding algebraic expressions and equations, solving algebraic equations, interpreting data and maps, geometry, graphing with a coordinate grid, and many other topics. Yes, there is a lot of content; and some of it is challenging material that junior high students will be encountering for the first time. It is not uncommon for students to be somewhat overwhelmed with some of these content areas at first. With that being said, don’t panic! While I follow the suggested Go Math pacing guides, I institute “reteach weeks” (when needed) and offer morning/after-school review sessions on select days. You/your child may end up being a rockstar with the material immediately; you/your child may need some additional support with certain content areas. All of that is completely normal. Regardless of the situation, we got this and I am here to help! 

    Students will have math homework every night (with the exception of Friday). Homework can include Go Math textbook problems, student-created math problems, iReady lessons (weekly), studying for an assessment, or project work. 

    The Go Math textbook is broken up into units, modules, and lessons. Each unit contains a number of modules. Each module contains a number of lessons. Students will receive a “Module Quiz” upon the completion of each set of lessons. Students will receive a “Unit Test” upon the completion of each set of modules. Students may also receive short formative assessments (3-5 questions) at the conclusion of selected lessons. 

    While I frequently incorporate real-world application into the math curriculum, the current goal is to also conclude each trimester with a mini-project that requires students to connect the content of the math curriculum to a real-life skill. In previous years, this has included a cooking project (using fractions, ratios, and proportions to correctly balance and execute a recipe) and a media analysis (choosing a musical album, sports team, or movie and evaluating the numbers connected to the selection). 

     

     

    GRADING

    The Jr. High Math classes follow the same grading outline that is detailed for all of St. Cajetan. The letter grade percentage ranges are as follows: A (100-93), B (92-85), C (84-77), D (76-69), F (below 69). Tests and projects are weighted at 40%, quizzes are weighted at 30%, classwork is weighted at 20%, and homework and class participation are both weighted at 10% (these are the current grading alignments but they are subject to change). If a student does not turn in an assignment or submits incomplete work, it will go into PowerSchool as a 50%. 

    The score that a student receives on a “Unit Test” is final. With “Module Quizzes,” students will have 24 hours upon receiving their graded quiz back to correct their incorrect responses on separate paper. Students MUST show all of the necessary work OR write a short paragraph explaining how they came to find the correct answer. Students CANNOT just write the correct answer on paper. All edited answers will receive half credit returned and added to their original quiz grade. Example: If a student scored a 60% and corrected all of their incorrect answers with sufficient work, he/she would receive half of the 40% back (which is 20%), boosting his/her quiz score to an 80%. Also, the maximum adjusted grade will be 80%. Again, quizzes are sort of “practice” for the Unit Tests. This approach has proved to be beneficial for students learning and retaining challenging content! 

    Tests, quizzes, classwork, and projects will be graded for accuracy and scored accordingly. iReady will follow a schoolwide tiered grading outline (TBD) and homework (as long as a notable effort is given) will only be checked-in for completion. I am a firm believer that homework is a great source of practice and students should not be penalized on “practice work”; HOWEVER, if a homework assignment is further evaluated and determined by the teacher to be void of an honest effort, it will be treated as “missing/incomplete.” 

    Students will receive a bulk participation grade at the start of each trimester. It is very easy to maintain a perfect score for participation AND it can help boost your grade! 

    How to Lose Participation Points: Ten points will be deducted from a student’s participation grade for every missing/incomplete homework assignment. If a student is excessively disruptive, there will be a ten point deduction from his/her participation grade. If a student is discovered to be off-task when using school technology, there will be a ten point deduction from his/her participation grade. 

     

     

    DIFFERENTIATED INSTRUCTION

    All grade levels will be split into two groups for Math and Reading: Black and Gold. The “Black” group will be composed of students that tend to navigate mathematical content at a more accelerated pace. This group will also receive more advanced levels of assessments, additional homework problems, elevated in-class tasks, and more independent work in place of some of the collaborative group assignments. The “Gold” group will be composed of students that navigate mathematical content at a standard pace and/or require additional support when dissecting problems. This group will receive the “on-level” versions of class assessments, the standard amount of homework problems, and receive additional teacher-supported guidance with independent work. 

    I NEED to stress something with this: these groups are not based on intelligence level! Students approach different subjects with different learning styles. No student is “dumb” and that language will not be tolerated. 

     

     

    CLASSROOM ENVIRONMENT

    I like music, sports (GO BEARS AND SOX), movies, and art. I incorporate those interests into my classroom with wall decor and designs that connect to math, motivate my students, or create a comforting “home-like” environment. We will have some fun class incentives and also track the numerical data of our Chicago sports teams throughout the school year. The classroom is pretty cool (I hope you think so too)!

     

     

    GOOGLE CLASSROOM

    I use Google Classroom to post lesson plans, weekly outlines, homework assignments, review guides, video links, and absent work. That’s the “go-to” for anything related to math class. Please check there before emailing with questions. Our class page and the classwork is updated daily by 3pm (occasionally by 3:30pm if I have a meeting or tutoring session). 

     

     

    RULES AND POLICIES

    Respect: Aretha Franklin spelled it out for all of us: R-E-S-P-E-C-T. I’m pretty flexible and reasonable; but respect is of utmost importance. I welcome fun, classroom-appropriate humor, and creativity. With that being said, I will always make sure that the foundation of our classroom experience is centered on “respect.” That’s the main “rule” of Room 207. Be kind, be cool, be respectful. 

    Absent Work: If you/your child is absent and misses class, he/she will have additional time to make up the missing work. The number of days that you/your child is absent is what will be allotted for the make-up work. That number of days will be counted upon the date of his/her return to school. 

    Missing an Assessment: Students are responsible for scheduling time with me to make up a missed quiz or test. I have availability before and after school but minimal time during the school day. While other teachers may allow students to take a test during another class, I will never pull a student from another teacher’s class time to do something for my subject. Make sure you talk to me if you miss an assessment and we’ll schedule a time to take it! 

    iReady Emailing: Okay...technology can be a pain. I am more than understanding of that. Occasionally, iReady will glitch and give students a tough time during their attempts at completing a lesson. iReady lessons are due by 11pm on the nights that they are assigned. In the event that you/your child experiences technical difficulties, an email must be sent to me at a reasonable hour with a screenshot/photo evidence of the issue. Emailing me at 10:57pm from your cell phone and telling me that your Internet connection is out is neither believable nor acceptable. PLEASE check your technological needs immediately after school on iReady nights! 

    Disciplinary Actions: I follow the school guidelines of “three behavior slips = detention” and “three homework slips = detention.” With that being said, I like to think that I am more than fair and reasonable when it comes to junior high student behavior. Be respectful and do the work! If you need help, I’m here to help you.

     

     

    COMMUNICATION AND CONTACT

    Email is the best way to reach me. I do my best to check my work email every hour or so (even on weekends and after school hours). Feel free to email me at mfricks@cajetan.org whenever something comes up. Parents, if it is an urgent matter during school hours, please call the office and they will buzz my room or text me any emergency updates. In junior high, students are encouraged to use their school email to communicate with their teachers. Keep in mind the respect level when writing emails to your teachers. Please… no emojis or “YOOOOO, MR. FRICKS! What up dude?!” 

     

    That’s it. I’m excited and I hope you are too. Let’s have a fantastic year!