Classroom Norms & Course FAQs

Classroom Norms

Ithaca High School has four core values:

  • Compassion: the quality of being respectful of another’s feelings and showing kindness and a willingness to help others
  • Integrity: the quality of being honest, fair, and doing the right thing in a reliable way
  • Tenacity: the quality of being determined to do or achieve something; firmness of purpose
  • Ownership: the quality of being responsible for yourself and taking accountability for what you say and do

Using these core values as inspiration, I have the following Norms of Behavior for different aspects of our work in class:

Norms for Working in Groups:

  • We are better when we work together
  • Nobody is finished until everybody is finished
  • Same problem, same time
  • Explain, don’t show
  • Notice when someone needs help
  • Be open to offering and receiving help from others

Norms for Mathematical Work:

  • We are all mathematical thinkers
  • Making mistakes are how our brains grow
  • Mistakes are expected, respected, inspected, and corrected
  • Speed isn’t important
  • Check with a partner before asking the teacher
  • Be prepared to explain your thinking

Norms for Class Discussions:

  • We all have something of value to add to the conversation
  • Listen to each other
  • Don’t be afraid to try out an idea
  • Disagree with ideas, not people
  • Be open to new ways of thinking about a question
  • Ask each other (or the teacher) what you wonder

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is your test corrections policy?
    • In Intro to College Algebra, students are allowed to complete corrections for quizzes and tests.
    • For quizzes, you must complete the corrections within one week of getting the quiz back. You can receive up to half the lost points back, and the new grade will be based on those regained points.
    • For tests, you may complete one test retake per marking period. You must complete corrections first and turn them in for review. After corrections have been completed satisfactorily, we will schedule a time for a test retake.
    • There are no corrections/retakes for AP Statistics.
  • What are your homework expectations?
    • In Intro to College Algebra, I will generally assign you homework every day. Sometimes I will check it the next day for a homework credit, but more often I will not. Once a week or so, I will give a short, timed quiz featuring questions taken from that week’s homework assignments. You’ll be allowed to refer to those assignments as you take your quiz. Your performance on these quizzes will make up your homework grade.
    • In AP Statistics, I will assign daily reading assignments and textbook problems. I encourage you to complete the textbook problems, and will occasionally check them and/or ask for questions, but I expect you will read the assigned sections. There is often content your textbook dives into that we will not discuss in class, yet you are still expected to know for tests and assessments.
  • How do I log in to IXL?
    • Go to and click “Log in as a student”
    • Search for “ITHACA SHS” and select “Log in With Google”
    • The system will connect to your ICSD Google account and you’ll be taken to a “homeroom” page. From there, you can click the IXL icon to log in.
      • If you get an error in the log-in process, make sure you’ve chosen the correct Ithaca from this district list (there’s an Ithaca High School in Michigan!). Look specifically for “ITHACA SHS”

Assignments and Mathematical Musings from Mr. Kirk

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