Today students estimated how many staples were in a single strip. Students reasoning was a lot of guessing. The most thoughtful one I heard was Yssa saying that she thinks a staple is 1 mm. A stapler is about 6 centimeters long, so she said 10 mm in 1 cm so the stapler is 60 mm or 60 staples long. One student talked about four chunks of 25 pencils.

Last Friday students took their first mastery assessment. For students in Common Core 8, they can download the skills sheet that I handed out to students. The link for CC 8/A Accelerated is here.

Basically last friday students took a 12 minute test with 3 skills on it: Adding and subtracting like and unlike fractions, graphing points on the coordinate plane, and calculating percent error. I assigned students 3 scores, 1 for each skill. They copied these down on to their skill sheet. The last 12 minutes of class today students took Skills 2, 3, and 4 after their first test had Skills 1, 2, and 3. So, students who improve after taking skills 2 or 3 again they will replace their old score. If their score is lower, they will get the lower score. I believe students most current understanding will be represented.

It's ok to fail at something at first, but do something about it before the next two weeks by working on the skills before retaking the skill by appointment. I honestly think students were happy with the new system. Time will tell! These skill assessments are 50% of a students grade, 25% classwork, 15% participation, and 10% final at the end of trimester made up of the skills.

Students who do not understand fractions will understand it after printing out and working to understand pages 2 through 4 at this link. It's a great visual way of looking at equivalent fractions and breaking them down. I actually believe reading this blog post about the multiple personalities of fractions. http://mrreddy.com/blog/2013/08/the-multiple-personalities-of-fractions/. This teacher Mr Reddy explains it more clearly than I currently can. I also like using graph paper to visually show adding fractions. http://wp.me/p4TRVf-1r

If students do not understanding graphing coordinates, they can practice on Khan Academy or re-do the classwork sheet on it. Mathisfun.com has an explanation for percent error, which is Skill 3. Skill 4 is examining situations and determining whether they are proportional relationships or not (pass through the origin when graphed, a straight line, constant rate of growth, you can double one quantity and double the other quantity and still be proportional). This is section 1.2.1 from CPM.org.

For accelerated students, skill 1 is simplifying absolute value expressions. Skill 2 is solving linear equations that may have no solution or infinite solutions while checking the solution. Skill 3 is evaluating algebraic expressions using the order of operations (exponents). Skill 4 is evaluating square root and cubic functions.

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