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An Open Letter to My New Students and Parents!

Hello Moms, Dads, and Guardians!  Greeting Students!

I want to let you know how excited I am that I will be your PreAP Precalculus or Calculus teacher this year.  I have been hard at work all summer planning out the super great things that we are going to do and learn.  I attended several conferences, created a calculus class website, recorded new video, this list goes on and on.  

Why

Because I want to be the best teacher that you could ever have.  I want to have such a strong impact on you that it changes the way you feel about math.  I want you to leave my class in May feeling like you can conquer the world.  I want you to look back on this class and think “I just had the best math class ever!”

What To Expect

My classroom is a flipclass – please do not be intimidated or immediately think bad thoughts.  It simply means that the lecture part of the school day is now at home and the actual math part of the school day is now with me.  Students will still have homework, but it should only be about 20 minutes each night.  However, each day is an hour with me, answering the questions and guiding them on the journey.

It will be difficult – I am sorry, but there is nothing easy about PreAP Precalculus or Calculus!  Be sure to be persistent, never give up on your work.  When struggles happen, write your question down and ask someone in your group or ask me!  Most importantly hang in there!

You Will Create

All year long, students will be creating artifacts of their learning. It could be Prezi, PowToon, YouTube, Knowmia, PowerPoint, who knows?  The things that they create will be on the internet for parents and guardians to see at any time!  We will share what we do with the world!  This can be be intimidating at first, but once students start working and creating – they will have a great time.  Again, it will not be super easy – super easy does not allow for learning.  If it was super easy, everyone would be an astronaut.  Learning, creating, and teaching the world is when the real learning occurs, and that is exactly what we will be doing this year!

None of us are perfect

You are expected to make mistakes and fail along the way.  I expect anyone taking higher math to have struggles along the way.  The goal is to demonstrate knowledge by the end of the unit – NOT THE FIRST EXPOSURE TO MATERIAL!  Learning is hard work and mistakes need to be made to learn from them.  

Fail on a problem, a quiz, be stumped on a question, try something and see if it works, do something and learn from that action.  When failure happens learning occurs, look no further than Thomas Edison and the light bulb.  The goal is to demonstrate your growth of knowledge on the unit test.

I will also find myself struggling and making mistakes at different times – these are opportunities for me to learn as well.  I would ask that you give me your patience and encourage me during those times.  I am always trying out new things in my classroom, some of them work out really great, some have vast room for improvement.  Your constructive feedback for those items is very important for my learning!

Gamification

In my Calculus classes this year, we will be using game mechanics in class, for example-anything done above and beyond the normal will be rewarded with credits to spend at the market.  The market is stocked up with some really cool loot that can be used in class.  You can even earn a little store credit for doing what you are supposed to do everyday.  

Along the way students will have the opportunity to “level up” and have some choice in how they participate in class.  The higher the level, the more the autonomy.  The main thing here is that students continue to learn!  

I am really excited about this aspect of class and have spent a considerable amount of time this summer developing everything that we will be using.

Stay Informed

I get really busy during the school year and sometimes contacting parents can fall down my list of immediate todo’s.  Please take just a few minutes each week and look at my Twitter feed: @haselwoodmath.  This will let you know what I am doing, what my plans are, and what my thinking is.  You will also see my interaction with other educators and get a sense of exactly what I am trying to do in class.

Follow this blog – it will be frequently updated with all of the thoughts that are running through my mind.  I do not just leave school at school when I get home.  Things rattle my brain and blogging helps me to get those ideas and thoughts organized.  This blog is what my perfect world would represent – sometimes real life turns things around a bit.  But if you want to know what makes me tick – stay tuned.

Students and parents can also follow my Facebook Community Page.  I will post pictures from class, important reminders, and other things that are going on or coming up.  Please take a few minutes each week and take a peek at what we have been up to!

My YouTube page is another resource.  All lessons that we do in class have their start as an online lesson. Whether you are trying to help your student at home, or wanting to brush up on your skills, this is a great place to see exactly what we are working on. 

Calculus students and parents, check out this cool wiki that I have been working on this summer – please make sure to check on this website regularly!

I Love Teaching

I love what I do and I want it to show!  I have been teaching math in high school for over 15 years and have enjoyed every single one of them.  The interactions between the students and the relationships that I develop with the students have been amazing, and I am sure that this year will be no different!

Contact Info

There are several ways to contact me and here they are:

  • Email: scott.haselwood@edmondschools.net
  • Twitter: @Haselwoodmath (you will also need a Twitter account)
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/haselwoodmath
  • Phone: 405.726.6886

I look forward to all of the cool things that are going to happen this year!

Mr. Scott Haselwood

Edmond Memorial High School

National Board Certified Young Adult Mathematics Teacher

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About Scott

My name is Scott. After 18.5 years as a high school math teacher in public education I have made the move to become a full time PhD student. This decisions was difficult, but has been one of the most rewarding things that I have ever done. Teaching in high school was an incredible experience for me, so leaving an environment that I loved for the unknown was a challenge. As I high school teacher, I taught almost every math course that could be offered. I was able to earn National Board Certification in Young Adult Math. I was honored as my building Teacher of the Year, no mean feat at Edmond Memorial High School!! My career changed as I became fascinated with educational technology and all of the things that it can do for teachers. I flipped my class. I used iPads and blogging (in high school math!!). I started using gamification and mastery learning. I changed my practice. I chose to go back to school to learn as much as I could. To bring that knowledge from academia and research to the teacher on the front line. I have had the opportunity to present at several conferences and share what I have learned with others. Its through these connections that we can be the best teachers we can for our students. They deserve it and we sell ourselves short when we don't give it. I love talking with teachers about change. About incorporating educational technology. About the power that they have to change lives. My blog space is me, it shares my passions and frustrations, my joys and my learnings. If you are interested in what I am studying, please visit my graduate school pages. If you are interested in the flipped classroom, I have some links to get your started. I would love to meet you! Do not hesitate to reach out! I would enjoy the opportunity to work with your staff or trade ideas with your teachers - let me know! Have a great day! #BeBrilliant

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