We are taking courses at Stanford! Math Course!!


Yes, you will be taking a course at Stanford (it’s just one of the most premier colleges in the country)…. How to Learn Math: For Students (click this link for access).  This is called a MOOC….Massive Online Open Course.  The purpose is designed to help you develop some different ideas about math.  The course is managed by Jo Boaler, a renowned math education professor.   You should have already registered for the course in class….you will register and then look for courses and make sure to click on How to Learn Math:  For Students.  Then once you are in, click on Courseware and it will take to the course.

What will you do?  It has a table of contents or menu at the top….see here:

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You will click on the first topic “Lesson 1” and then watch the videos, read and write a response when prompted.  At the end of each major chapter, you will be asked to write a longer reflection.  When you finish the reflection, copy and paste what you wrote into a Google Doc entitled  “Name Stanford Math”  and share with me.    You will have approximately 4 weeks due Friday, Sept. 25th to complete the course.  But, you need to do at least a topic per week to stay on track.

I hope this helps and we will discuss some topics throughout in the interim.

Good Luck!

Mr. Holmes

The Yellow Scroll has been Unleashed!


It is full swing into week 2 with the start of your first Yellow Belt Scroll:  The Basics.  You will be covering the essentials of numbers and operations including Rational and Irrational, operations, square roots, and simplifying algebraic equations.  Today, you received 1/2 of the scroll and you need to have completed up to page 5 by WEDNESDAY!  Remember, you only have to complete the EVENS! (the odds are for extra practice, if you so desire it or if you don’t pass your first advancement).

We are talking norms for math learning and I hope you are seeing that we will be interacting, taking notes, sharing thinking and having whole class discussions to make sense of all this.

For your brain training, work on the Yellow Belt Scroll and you should start working through the Stanford course How to Learn Math.  We will start working on our Problem of the Week tomorrow plus jumping into our first project:  The Eye of the Beholder.

Do your training Grasshopper,

Mr. Holmes

Cranking it up….Our first Homework (or Brain Training)

Ok Students,


Let’s crank this up!  You have your first Homework assignment due tomorrow.  It is the Syllabus Grade Calculation.  Homework is really just practice or training for your Brain which is why I call it Brain Training.  In each of your assignments and in our projects, you do have the option of taking on the Deeper Dive.  You have one on the grade calculation and I gave out the St. Ives problem on Wednesday.  The Deeper Dive pushes your thinking more on the concepts we are studying.

You also are now logged onto computers and your Gmail account.  Now, that you have that going; check your email and register for the Stanford University Account called How to Learn Math I gave you some directions in your email about how to register.

You should have also seen the email on how to register for Google Classroom where I will send out assignments, and helpful hints on how to do the Homework.  Please join google classroom.

There will be more digital learning resources to come so be prepared to check your email daily and use it as a resource to complete work, push your thinking and learn.

**Remember, Friday is P90X Workout…..”Do your Best & Forget the Rest”  X-treme Team!

Welcome Back! “Is this Math?”

Welcome Back and Welcome to 8th grade!

The first day back is always filled with nervous anticipation both for students and teachers.  Today was an indication of great things to come.  We have an incredible team of talented, driven and most of all engaged students.  We started the day with a game of Rock, Paper Scissors “Evolution” style and the tone is set that the 8th grade year is a time of transition to a young adult where independence, freedom go hand in hand with meeting your responsibilities.

We jumped right into the work of math/science by reviewing the essential expectations and students tackled some tough problems right on Day 1….in fact, noting from some student’s observations: “Is this Math?”  The question was prompted from some intriguing problems that pushed their critical thinking and problem solving skills.  It is indeed the essence of math- a combination of critical thinking, sharing thoughts with others with some essential mathematical know-how.  There will lots of challenging problems and the point is to make your brain work, think and sort out things.  Students immediately saw the benefit at making math visual, communicating with others and collaborating in order to “make sense” of the math.  Making sense is the bedrock of all higher-order thinking and I was glad to see all jumping into the work immediately.

The syllabus was sent home for student and parental review so please make sure you look through it.  It outlines the coursework, grades (yes, we do have grades), key expectations and course materials needed.  I am asking that each student have a scientific calculator as well to support their computational skills…..See below…just a basic one…NOT GRAPHING!  This is about $10 at a local wal-mart or target or office supply store.

Above all else….students must have at least a pencil and a spiral for class!!  That is essential!!


Looking forward to a great year….and I have office hours after school if you ever need to see me or feel free to email me for further questions!