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Algebra Made Easy, Issue #001 -- Are You Ready for a Successful Year?
August 04, 2009

My name is Karin Hutchinson and I am the creator of Algebra-class.com and the editor of this e-zine. As you may or may not know, Algebra-class.com is a very new website. In fact, I first launched my homepage at the beginning of May. So, really it's only 3 months old!

Therefore, new content will be added weekly, for a long time! So please visit often!

My ultimate goal in this whole adventure is to provide you with an Algebra resource that is helpful and easy to understand. We all know that text books are sometimes so technical that you get lost within the first paragraph. Although there are other helpful Algebra sites out there, I wanted to create a site that was easy to navigate and that provided in depth, easy to understand examples. I hope that you find this to be a helpful resource throughout your studies!

With each issue of Algebra Made Easy, you will find articles that contain tips or information that will help you be successful not only in Algebra, but in school in general! In order to make sure that I write articles that will be beneficial for you, I need to know more about you!

If you haven't done so already, please complete my 30 second survey that just tells me who you are! Are you a teacher who needs lesson plans, or a parent who needs tips on how to prepare for a conference with a Math teacher? Or.. maybe you are a student who needs tips on how to study for an Algebra test! If you let me know who you are, then I can make sure that I write articles that you will find helpful!

As always, please feel free to contact me if you have a question or comment!

I wish you well in your Algebra studies!

All the best,

Karin

### What's New on Algebra-class.com?

I just finished the 6th Algebra unit, Solving Inequalities. This is about the mid-point of a year of Algebra 1. There's more to come, don't worry!

I've also added an Online Resources Directory . I know how much time you can spend just surfing the web for the right website, so when I come across really great websites related to Algebra, I will list them here. So, far all of the resources are free. Most of them are interactive games, that fit in well with one of the units of study. If you come across any great Algebra sites, please let me know and I will add them to the list!

I've also added the Algebra Survey so that I can find out more about my visitors! Again, please complete this 3 question survey, if you haven't already!

Just added! An Algebra Formula Guide I just started this section and so far I have basic math (geometry) formulas that may be needed for future real world problems! These are always handy to have and should be memorized at some point! I will be continuing to add Algebra Formulas that we learn in each unit. This will eventually be a quick resource for Algebra Formulas!

### Looking Forward To ...

My next unit will be on relations and functions. We will investigate linear and quadratic functions in this unit! Following the Functions Unit we will explore Probability! That's always a fun unit!

Bear with me! It takes a lot of time to format and type "mathematically". I'm trying to stay one step ahead of you for this coming school year!

### Are You Ready For Algebra?

Are you starting Algebra 1 this year, or do you have a child who is starting Algebra 1? If so, are you ready? How will you know if you are ready? My first question is, "Have you done ANY Math practice this summer?" If your answer is "No", you might want to review the topics below or take the algebra readiness test!

In order to get started on the right foot this year, you will need to come to Algebra class with the following skills:

• Basic Math - Can you add, subtract, multiply and divide? Can you perform a "reasonable" amount of mental math? Do you know how to perform these operations with fractions and decimals? Do you remember the order of operations?

• Integers- Do you remember the rules for adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing integers? This is a necessity! Memorize the rules - you will need them!

• Simplifying and Evaluating Algebraic Expressions Can you identify and combine like terms?
• Formulas - Do you remember the distance formula or the formula for finding the circumference of a circle? It really becomes handy if you can remember the basic formulas!

• Graphs - Can you create and analyze a bar graph, circle graph or line graph? Can you plot points on a coordinate grid? This is a MUST! Please go back and review if you don't remember how to plot x and y coordinates!

• Word Problems Can you solve basic word problems? Do you know what key words to look for to help you solve longer, complex problems?

• One-step Equations In Pre-Algebra you should have solved one-step equations. Although, this will most likely be reviewed at the beginning of Algebra 1, you should have a general knowledge about how to solve equations.

• Take the Algebra Readiness Test to see if you truly are ready? The test is divided into sections to help you analyze your results so that you can study the appropriate skills before school starts! You have at least a few weeks to get the head start that you need to be successful! You can do it!

### Tips For Success in Middle or High School Math

Middle and High School can be a terrifying time for students and a very trying time for parents! No doubt, this age is one of the hardest for students and parents to adjust to! Between friends, social circles, extra-curricular activities, and now social networking on the internet, sometimes our students don't have the focus that they need to have on academics! What can you do as a parent to help your child stay focused? Here are some tips that you can use to help your child have a successful year in Algebra. Use these tips with every subject, to ensure that your child stays on the right track!

• Stay in Touch! - Adolescents of this age continue to want more and more freedom! And... we should continue to give them more freedom as they get older, but don't lose touch completely! Yes... the days are gone where you sit down together to do homework, but there's nothing wrong with talking with your child about what they are learning in school and then asking if you could see some of their work. I would require that you at least look at the results of every test or quiz that is taken. It's too late to help once the report cards are distributed!

• Stay in Touch with the Teacher - With just about everyone having access to the internet, many teachers are posting grades and assignments online. Check with the teacher at the beginning of the school year. If grades are posted, check on a weekly basis to make sure that your child is turning in assignments and getting acceptable grades on those assignments. There is nothing wrong with being active in your child's education (No matter what they say!)

• Schedule Conferences - As a middle school teacher, if I had five parents on Conference night, it was a lot! It's very frustrating for the teachers because you want to share the good news if the student is doing well and you want to help the students who are struggling. Education is only successful if parents and teachers work together! If you suspect that your child is struggling in math, definitely schedule a conference!

• Get Help Early - As soon as your child experiences difficulty with math concepts, get help immediately! They will get farther and farther behind if you don't. In many schools, teachers will offer after school help sessions and free tutoring. Take advantage of the resources that your school offers! Math has a spiral effect where one skill builds on another. If your child struggled with solving one-step equations, then chances are they will have difficulty with two-step equations!

• Stay Positive - This can be a difficult time for all! Follow these tips and hopefully you will have a successful year in Algebra and a better year in Algebra 2 and Geometry! Best of Luck!

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