Algebra 1

Algebra 1 – Syllabus 2010/2011
Textbook:  Algebra 1, Holt 2011

“Whatever your difficulties in mathematics, I can assure you mine are far greater” 
Albert Einstein

Welcome to the wonderful world of Algebra!!!!  Algebra 1 is the first course in the math program at La Conner High School.  The state of Washington requires that 3 years of math be completed while at high school – Algebra 1, Geometry, and Algebra 2.  Even though you may not want to hear this, Algebra 1 is one of the most important courses you will study in high school.  Algebra skills are required for success in future math, science, computer, economics, or business courses you will take.  Algebra problems are a large portion of the tests (SAT and ACT), which are required before being admitted into a college. So, even if you aren’t interested in a career in math or science, you still need to know your algebra.  Also, while it is true that you “have to” learn algebra, I would also encourage you to think of all of your math courses as a road to becoming a better thinker and problem solver. 
La Conner High School has a great math department and you will learn a lot more than just math IF you challenge yourself.  So set high standards for your work this year.  Learn all the algebra you can and keep all of your college and career options open!

Course Objectives:
•    The student will learn to think critically and analytically.
•    The student will achieve mastery in use of algebraic techniques.
•    The student will learn how to apply mathematics to real world applications.
•    The student will gain a greater understanding of algebraic concepts needed for future mathematics work.

Topics of Study:  1) Numerical Expressions 2) Properties of Real Numbers 3) Ratio, Percents and Applications 4) Solving Linear Equations 5) Introduction to Functions 6) Systems of Linear and Quadratic Equations 7) Polynomials and factoring 8) Working with Inequalities 9) Complex Fractions 10) Square Roots 11) Applying and Graphing Quadratics.

Required Materials:
•    Textbook – the textbook needs to have a cover on it.
•    2 College Ruled Composition books (dedicated solely to math notes)
•    Pencils and erasers
•    Lined notebook paper
•    Graph paper
•    Recommended:  Graphing calculator (Ti-84 Plus or Silver)
•    Different colored markers or highlighters.  These are used for highlighting and/or showing different math steps to help make your notes more interesting/fun.

Grading System:
Your grade will be based on the percentage of the total possible points you have earned.  There are three different categories that are used when figuring your overall percentage. Total points are accumulated throughout each semester and you start over again at the start of semester two.  I will give you a computer printout of your grade standing after each chapter test and of course you can check your grades on Skyward. 

A 100-94        B+ 88-89        C+ 78-79
A- 93-90        B 87-84        C 77-74
            B- 83-80        C-73-70

A 70% average is required in order to move on to geometry.  Any student receiving a D or an F will need to repeat algebra 1.

D+ 68-69        F below 60
D 67-60

Grade Breakdown:  Daily work 35%, Homework 15%, Tests/Quizzes 50%

Homework:  Homework will be assigned every class day with very few exceptions.  Students are expected to write down the assignments in their math notebooks.  You will also receive a weekly math calendar or you can check the homework calendar on the class website. 
Specific homework guidelines:

Homework is due at the beginning of class. Homework should be in pencil only.  Show all your work – every step!!  Don’t just copy down answers – you won’t receive credit for it.  Also, you need to copy the problem out of the book unless it is a word problem that is longer than 1 sentence.  Circle, box or highlight your answers.  Use graph paper when asked to graph.  Each day during the warm-up, I will go around the room checking that homework was completed, marking missed assignments on a clip board. Next, we will go over the answers (Each student is responsible for checking and correcting his/her own homework paper.) All homework will be collected after the class has had a chance to check their answers. Some mistakes on homework are okay.

Absent from class:
•    Absent for a test or quiz:  If you are absent the day of a test/quiz you MUST make it up within three days of returning to school.  This class is fast paced and it’s important to stay current with the material. Waiting more than a few days to take a test is not a good idea. (Missing tests can be completed during tutorial time or before school.)
•    Absent for a regular class:  If you are absent from a class you will need to complete the warm-up, notebook, guided practice and new material activity when you return to school.  On your weekly calendar (or on the class website) you can find the in-class assignments as well as the homework.  It’s best to try and complete as much class work (and homework) as possible before coming to the next algebra class.  That way you won’t fall behind the rest of the class.  If you are absent try to come in during tutorial time or before school as soon as possible and make up missing warm-ups and notes.
•    Absent for a homework assignment:  If you are absent from class you will need to complete the homework that was assigned.  Homework assignments can be found on your weekly calendar or on the class website. 

All class work and homework, which are missing due to absences, must be completed prior to the taking the chapter test in order to receive full credit for the assignment.  If you decide to wait until the end of the quarter to complete assignments that were due while you were absent you will receive 75% of the normal points. (Unless we are still on the same chapter.)

Late Work: Turning in work late is not a good idea.  All late work in automatically assessed a 25% late penalty. 

Retake Policy:  Since the ultimate goal of the course is have students understand and be fluent with the material, retakes are available on all tests.  Tests may be retaken one time for a grade improvement.  (The retake grade replaces the original grade if the student does better on the test.)  Generally, test retakes are on the Wednesday of the week following the original test. I strongly recommend that students who are planning on doing the retake come in prior to the retest time and go over the first test with me. 

Daily Schedule:  Our normal routine will consist of a 5-8 minute warm-up. It will be on the board by the time the bell rings.  This is followed by a discussion of the previous day’s homework. (Homework is then collected.)  New material will be presented (via a small group activity, interactive power point, game, whiteboards, notes, etc.) Guided practice of the new material is then done. On most days there will be some kind of summarizing activity at the end of class.  At the end of the period all math work is collected.

Being prepared for each class:  Everyone starts out with a test score of 100% for being prepared.  (This will get entered on the first day of school!)  Points for being unprepared are then deducted for being unprepared or for being disruptive.  Failing to bring pencils, notebook, paper and/or a textbook to class will result in 2 points being deducted from your test score.

Maintaining a positive learning environment:  Be respectful, communicative, kind and non-judgmental.  Specifically I expect the following:
•    Treat all people and property with respect.
•    Use appropriate and respectful language at all times.
•    No food, drinks or gum allowed.  Water is ok.
•    All electronics must be packed away and not out during class.
•    Be prepared for class.
•    Be involved with the math discussions. (Don’t be passive in your learning.  Participate fully in the learning experience.)

Thank you for reading the syllabus!  If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to call me at the school:  466-3173 or email: If you ever have questions about what homework has been assigned you can check on my web site. Once you are on the district web site ( click on the staff link at the top of the home page and then click on my name.