Math Corner


Math Pathway Chart:  CCSS Math pathway1.pdf


I forgot to write down the homework, what should I do?

·      Ask a buddy in class.  If you don’t already have one, tomorrow when you go to school find 2 students who will share their phone number with you so if you are absent or forgot to write down the homework, you can call them.

·      Check to see if your teacher has a website and it’s listed on the school webpage.

·      Email your teacher.

·      Don’t forget to write down your homework!


I didn’t do well on a test or I’m struggling in class, what should I do?

·      When the teacher hands back the test or quiz, look at your mistakes and ask yourself, was I rushing and forgot to do something?  Did I miss a step?  Did I just not understand the whole problem?

·      If you can’t figure out what you did wrong, or you keep getting marked down on the same type of problem, approach your teacher after class and ask them when would be a good time for you to come in and talk to them.  Most teachers are available to meet during lunch or after school, just talk to them so that they know you are coming.

·      Preparing for the time with your teacher: come in with questions, even if you aren’t sure what you are doing wrong.  Tell the teacher, “I looked over my homework and noticed BLANK” or “I looked over my test/quiz and noticed that I keep getting BLANK types of problems wrong” or “I really didn’t understand the concept we are going over in class right now.”

·      Once the teacher helps you, re-look over your mistakes and see if you can fix them on your own.






How to help your student:

These excerpt and tips below are taken from Diana Goldberg’s article that was on the PBS Parents webpage.  To read the full article, see the link at the bottom.

Before you can help your child, it’s important to understand what is happening (mathematically) to the adolescent brain. Middle school is an exciting time; adolescents’ brains are transitioning from reasoning in a concrete manner to understanding abstract concepts and ideas. According to the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, middle school math typically begins with concepts such as fractions and decimals, and by the time students’ move on to high school, they have learned pre-algebra concepts, such as manipulating variables and solving or writing equations to find unknown values—ideas that cannot easily be visualized or explained with physical objects. Keep in mind that this is particularly hard for students stuck in a concrete state of mind; they tend to rely on memorizing steps or procedures to solve problems, which can lead to more difficulties later on.

Here are some useful tips on how you can support your child in math:

·           Always have notes from class, a textbook or other resources right next to a homework paper. If your child gets stuck, she is likely to find a similar problem in one of these resources that can help her move forward.

·           Ensure the student takes responsibility for her own learning by finding assistance independently; the ability to access help on your own is essential for student success in all areas of academics.

·           Never give children the answers to problems! By giving away answers, you’re depriving your child of the chance to develop the mental processes required to learn a new concept. No parent enjoys seeing their child struggle, but providing answers could set them up for frustration when they have to tackle more difficult problems and might even stunt their progress as classmates move to more advanced lessons. Furthermore, your child’s teacher will not be able to address the misconceptions or areas of weakness that should be targeted in school if homework assignments do not reflect the student’s level of understanding.

·           Encourage your child to underline or highlight key words or phrases in situational problems, as these often help students set up a solution.

·           Realize that your child may struggle with abstract concepts if his or her brain is not quite ready to reason at an abstract level. Your child’s brain will mature in time, and success in math class is likely to accompany this development.

·           If your child is frustrated by mathematics, show him how to focus on concepts rather than procedural knowledge. This might help some students approach and solve problems in a different way—one that makes more sense to them. For instance, ask your child to explain one problem in their assignment each night. If possible, choose one that incorporates both words and computation. If your child is simply reciting step-by-step instructions, encourage her to elaborate by asking questions focusing on the “why” of the problem:

o   What is the goal of the problem?

o   Why does that step work?

o   Why would we want to do that next?

o   What does this step in the process accomplish?

o   How do I know if my answer is reasonable?

o   Can I check my work to make sure it makes sense to me?

·           After your child has completed an assignment, ask her to share what she believes was the most important idea:

o   What is the goal of the problem?

o   What did these problems have in common?

o   Where would I use this in “real life”?

o   Why do you think your teacher gave you this assignment? What did he or she want you to learn?

o   How is this assignment related to the homework you had yesterday? In what ways is it similar or different?

o   Now that you can solve these problems, what do you think you might be able to do next?

The most important thing to convey to your children is not to give up. Mathematical concepts are intricate and take time to fully grasp. Encouragement and patience go a long way. Read a book with your child while she works on homework or finish a Sudoku or crossword puzzle with her at the table while she studies to keep her company—just being in the same room and working on your own mind-stimulating puzzles might make them more comfortable with difficult homework. If your child continues to struggle and you’re becoming concerned, speak with the teacher or another administrative specialist.

                by Diana Goldberg (mother, middle school math teacher and tutor in New York).




Can I have a copy of the tests my student takes in math class?

Many of the tests that are given are district assessments, which teachers are not allowed to share copies of.  All of our math teachers go over the test with their students and allow them see their errors so students know what to work on.


Can my tutor communicate directly with the teacher?

Teachers are not allowed to communicate about a student’s progress to non-guardians.  Your student can let the tutor know what they are doing in class and by looking through the Springboard text, the learning targets are posted at the beginning of each lesson.


What is the criteria for Accelerated 6?

Placement is based on multiple data points, including 5th grade Math Assessment Data and SBAC scores that show that your student meets or exceeds standards.        


What is the criteria for Accelerated 7?

Placement is based on multiple data points, including 6th grade Performance Based Assessment Data (a score of 4 or 5 in both the Fall and Spring assessments) and SBAC scores that show that your student meets or exceeds standards.        


What if my student didn’t go to a San Jose Unified School for 5th grade, how will math placement be determined?

We will review your student’s transcript and we also have a placement exam that we can give that will determine where your student should be placed.  If your student is an incoming 6th grader for the 2017-2018 school year, the date for the placement exam will be announced towards the end of April 2017.



What does HE stand for?

HE stands for high school equivalent.  That means that the course grade will carry over to high school and if the student gets a C- or better, the course will count towards high school graduation requirements.


District Assessment Information:

The PBA is a district wide mathematics Performance Based Assessment.  All secondary math students in Grade 6 Math through Algebra 2 participate.  The exams are graded collaboratively by teachers throughout the district.  Teachers do not score their own exams.  Each course will have three PBA’s per year and the content aligns with different SpringBoard units.


What are some things I need to know about HE courses and UC requirements?

If your student takes Geometry without earning high school credit for Algebra 1, please see the information below.  Also note that Geometry is a graduation requirement for students who are interested in applying to UC.


By taking Geometry as an Eighth Grade Student without earning high school credit for Algebra 1 means that your student must earn high school equivalent credit for Geometry and successfully complete Accelerated Algebra 2 and Pre-Calculus to be able to meet high school graduation requirements.

If your student does not earn high school equivalent credit for Geometry, he or she must successfully complete a Geometry class, Algebra 2, and Pre-Calculus as a minimum requirement to graduate high school. Geometry is now required for entrance into the University of California system.


If your student decides to accelerate over the summer, please take into consideration high school graduation requirements and that moving forward in mathematics may prevent mastery of essential concepts required for successful completion of advanced mathematics courses and graduation requirements. Also take into consideration that to be competitive, many colleges/universities require that four (4) years of mathematics is taken while enrolled in High School.