• Survival guide to algebra 1

    Survival Guide for Mr. Olivas’s Algebra 1 Class     1/3 + 1/3 + 1/3



    This course is a standards-based high school mathematics curriculum equivalent to Algebra 1. Students will work with a variety of functions, including linear, exponential and quadratic, systems of equations and inequalities, complicated equations, and statistical analysis. Algebra 1 is an honors class, therefore we will be challenging our students at a higher level than a regular class.  It is important for us to maintain very high expectations, so students that choose to move on to Honors and AP/IB classes in high school will be well prepared. If they want to succeed in the class, it is imperative that students complete all of their homework, as this is both an advanced level and accelerated mathematics class.


    Students will be taught curriculum based on Arizona’s College and Career Readiness Standards.


    Most of the students who attend ACP-Oakland are hard-working students who have earned A’s in math but with our rigorous curriculum and pacing, A’s may be more difficult for students. Grades are based on assessments showing mastery of the standards - there is neither extra credit nor grade inflation with “fluff” assignments. Junior high is a time to “learn how to learn” and rather than focusing on grades students should work on success strategies they ultimately control like motivation, effort, homework completion, using agenda, organization, positive study habits and behavior.


    Homework time expectations and guidelines are based off of the average student.  Students will be working about 30-45 minutes nightly on math homework; if your child struggles in mathematics then you can expect they will spend additional time.  Studying for assessments is additional to time spent on homework.


    Rounding grades is based on student effort. Some behaviors that are considered are: regular attendance; retaking quizzes when possible; completing all homework thoroughly; coming in for additional help; and positive classroom attitude and behavior.




    What should students be doing to be successful?

    Students will…

    In-Person Learning:

    • Be prepared
      • Be on time & in your seat when bell rings
      • At the start of class, have warm-up sheet, agenda and homework out
      • Copy the agenda weekly and be responsible to check the math website for homework assignments and assessments
      • Bring ALL materials to class and be prepared for learning every day which means having required materials at school including: homework, agenda, graph paper, pencils, colored pens to make homework corrections, erasers, small ruler, Texas Instruments TI-30XIIB scientific calculator, highlighter and dry erase marker
      • This is especially important this year as we will not have supplies available for borrowing due to COVI-19.

    Online Learning:

    • Log in and be ready for class to start
    • Have lesson packet printed (optional). If not, have plenty of paper available to take notes and work out every problem assigned
    • Make sure your agenda is up to date
    • Have your homework out and ready to correct

    In-Person Learning:

    • Be an active participant in class
      • Pay attention, take good notes, (if Mr. O writes it down, you write it down), write neatly, use the strategies that Mr. O suggests, showing all steps and ask questions!
      • Work Completion/Quality- You should not just be getting the homework done; you should be working to master each concept. You are expected to complete your homework showing all steps, work and graphs (with graph grid attached – no sketches are allowed), writing a complete explanation when needed. You are expected to complete your homework each day it is assigned, finishing each problem completely, showing all work.
      • When checking homework, you should be writing correct answers in a colored pen. If there are errors you should go back and resolve the problems again until you have mastered them.
      • If absent, it is your job to find out what you missed, including completing the warm up, copying notes, completing class lessons, and completing homework and scheduling make-up tests/quizzes. Make-up work is given one class period for each day a student is gone from class. If you miss the day of a test or quiz, you will take it upon your return before school or during conference periods.

    If you or your parent requests work in advance due to travel, you are expected to have it completed upon your return.

    Online Learning:

    • Start working on your warm up right away. The warm ups are review so you should know how to do all the problems. If you’ve forgotten, be prepared to open another tab and search for help online. As soon as you are done, post your answers to Google Classroom.
    • As soon as you are done with the warm up, begin correcting your homework. Write down correct answers. Re-work your incorrect problems and try to get the correct answer. Be prepared for full-group online time.
    • Ask questions if you need help. This is especially important while online!
    • Work through all parts of the video lessons, solving all assigned problems and correcting answers if needed. This is where you will show me your work ethic and effort!
    • If you are done with the video lessons before it’s time to meet again as a class, start on your homework. Use this time wisely.
    • If you have questions from the lesson or homework, return to class group sessions and seek help!

    In-Person and Online:

    • Prepare for assessments
      • Math must be learned by doing. Studying for a math test doesn’t start the night before the test. Each day you should make sure you know how to complete every problem during the lesson and from the homework. Start each homework session by looking over the previous day’s homework. Rework any problems you got wrong and check it against the correct answer. If you still can’t figure out how to do it, then get help right away. The skills build so if you get behind, it will become harder to catch up.
      • Use your study guide. Start by working out each problem on the study guide without looking at the answers. If you can’t remember how to solve a problem, circle it. Check your answers, if you got it wrong, circle it. Go back to your “resources” to find problems like the ones you don’t know how to do or got wrong. Check your notes to see “how” and try again. If you still can’t do it, it’s time for additional help – call a friend, ask an older sibling, ask a parent, go online, etc. If you still need additional help, see Mr O.
      • You can’t just look the problems over and think that you know how to do them…you have to actually solve them and get the right answer!
      • When assessments are handed back, make sure you write the problem and correct answer on paper. Later rework any missed problems in order to master the curriculum.
    • Seek extra help if needed
      • Use the group meeting time to ask for help. Reach out to Mr. O during office hours.
      • When you don’t understand something in math -smart people do the following:
        • Ask questions. If you still don’t understand ask again until you know how to do it.
        • Look over your notes and the examples – this is why note taking is so important!
        • Come in at conference time for help
        • Go to Q and A
    • I feel strongly about helping each of my students succeed. Please ask questions during class when you don’t understand something.  You are responsible to come in for homework help. I don’t offer individual tutoring, but am available most days before school to answer homework questions. When you come in for help, have all of your notes, work and questions that need to be answered. 
        • Go online (You tube, Kuta math, Kahn academy, other math sites)
        • Find a peer tutor
        • Ask for help at home
        • Call a friend
        • Get a private tutor
        • Don’t give up!
    • Be Respectful
      • Follow all School Policies
      • Everyone has the right to learn – do not interfere with this right by distracting your peers

    What should parents be doing to help their child be successful?

    Parents will…

    • Provide materials and a work area for your student to complete homework and study.
    • Help him or her to be more organized and take responsibility for being prepared daily.
    • Encourage your child to do his or her homework completely, neatly and in an organized way. Your child will be most successful if he or she concentrates on mastering the concept, not just getting it done.
    • Have your child show you his or her work and explain to you what he or she has been doing in class. Have your child explain the vocabulary from a lesson or the solution to a problem.
    • Make sure your child completes all reviews, checking answers online before review day.
    • Encourage your child by explaining you believe that he or she can succeed through trying and working hard. Ensure success by making sure student receives extra support if necessary, by providing transportation for homework help, or arranging for outside private tutoring
    • Help your child with regular attendance. Encourage your child to attend school unless they are actually ill. Please schedule non-emergency appointments outside of the regular school day. Missing school for vacations, out-of-town tournaments, or extended weekend trips puts your child at a disadvantage.
    • If your child is struggling, it may be necessary to take a more hands-on approach including giving consequences for poor attitude or lack of effort. 


    I want all students to be successful – that is why I am here! At Arizona College Preparatory, our expectations for your student are high, the curriculum is challenging, and the pace is fast. Our most successful students are self-motivated and hard-working learners whose goal is to be the best they can be.



    In closing, your student will find more success if we work together as a team, mindful of our individual expectations.



    Teacher Expectations    1/3

    • Teach to the standards in the curriculum
    • Post objectives, homework, upcoming assessment schedule and help hours in the room
    • Be available for homework help and questions
    • Send weekly parent email communication
    • Keep website up to date
    • Communicate with parents
    • Set high yet attainable expectations




    Student Expectations    1/3

    • Be prepared for learning
    • Be an active participant including using tools given
    • Prepare for assessments
    • Seek extra help if needed
    • Be respectful
    • Follow school and math department policies




    Parent Expectations     1/3

    • Understand that there are high expectations, along with advanced and accelerated curriculum
    • Read Mr. Olivas’s weekly emails
    • Check grades weekly
    • Use Mr. Olivas’s website to answer questions and support your child
    • Support positive study habits
    • Encourage active learning
    • If your child struggles, your role may have to be greater including checking homework and agenda, and seeking extra support outside of school



    If we all do our 1/3, our student will have success with a minimal amount of stress!!


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Last Modified on July 31, 2020