## Special Message from the Teacher

**Special Message from the Teacher:**

Welcome to the TabletClass Math **STAAR Algebra 1** **Prep course!** First, I want to say that I’m very excited to have you as a student. My goal is to give you an enjoyable and high quality learning experience, but most importantly my goal is to have you do great on the STAAR Algebra 1 Exam so you can advance as a student in your school. I want you to know that you can master this material if you work hard and never give up. __The secret to being successful in mathematics is your approach to studying the topic- i.e. your study habits__. From years of teaching math I can say that people with the best study habits almost always earn the top test scores. As such, you must focus on the quality of your work and the effort you put into studying.

**Special Note Before Starting: **

1. **This course has 10 chapters**- this is a huge amount of material; however, if you don't have a lot of time to study for the STAAR Algebra 1 Exam than try to complete as much of the course as possible.

2. If **you already have strong math skills,** feel free to quickly review material you already think you know.

3. Do your best to **review all chapters** - even if you can only spend a little time per chapter. Each chapter topic could very well be tested on the STAAR Algebra 1 Exam.

4. **Do not get stuck in any one chapter**- learn as much as you can in a reasonable time then move forward; you can always go back and review. However, it's more important that you cover all the topics in the course even if you don't understand everything perfectly.

5. **Doing practice problems** is the most important part of learning math.

**Calculators:** In this course you will learn how to use a calculator for a variety of problems. Even though your exam may or may not allow the use of calculators, knowing how to use a calculator is a critical part of learning mathematics. Nevertheless, if you are not allowed to use a calculator you would still perform the same operations just by hand calculations/arithmetic. Exam policies on calculators and formula sheets can change so it’s suggested that you check the most current directions for your exam.

**Below are critical guidelines to follow as you take the course**:

1. **Never give up**- especially when a topic is not understood easily or immediately.

2. Strive to be as **neat and organized** as possible.

3. Excellent **note taking** is a must to succeed in math.

4. **Show all steps** when working problems.

5. **Double check** your work as you write your solution steps.

6. Always **go back and review** incorrect problems and discover where the error was made.

Remember, the course material builds on itself so you want to ensure that you don’t skip chapters and sections unless you feel like you have a good grasp on the concepts. Furthermore, you want to try to correct your weak areas before moving onto the next topic. Lastly, I want to stress that you can be great in math if you work hard. Even if you have struggled with math before I want you to look at this course as a fresh start in your mathematics journey- I know in my heart you can ace this course and excel on the STAAR Algebra 1 Exam!

Best of luck!

John Zimmerman

TabletClass Math Teacher