Frank .fixesMiddle School Mathematics

Brian Frank, with Da Vinci Academy since 2013

Contact
Phone: 847-841-7532 ext 224
Email: bfrank@dvacademy.org

Mr. Frank's Degrees Held
B.S. in Mathematics, Illinois State University
(graduated summa cum laude)
B.S. in Computer Science, Illinois State University
M.A. in Education, Roosevelt University

Professional Associations
NATM: National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
PMI:  Project Management Institute
TLA:  Technology Leaders Association

Other Teaching Experience & Training
Prior to teaching middle school mathematics, I was a technology executive for over 25 years.  During that time I taught software development, technology architecture, leadership and project management classes.  I was also tutoring students in middle school, high school and college mathematics.

Philosophy
I believe in preparing students for the types of employment opportunities that will be available to them when they complete their educational journey.  I incorporate current technologies and real-life scenarios into my classroom to ensure that we're using 21st century tools to solve 21st century problems.  I expect my students to go beyond the mastery of the mechanics of math by developing an appreciation for math history and events that led up to these groundbreaking discoveries.  I place a strong emphasis on math vocabulary and align all of my classes to the Common Core standards.  In addition to mathematics, I teach students management skills that will serve them well in the future such as time management, note taking, study skills and research techniques.

What to Expect in Mathematics
Students should be prepared for an exciting and interactive immersion into new math concepts, history and application.  I encourage student participation in class including deep discussion and thoughtful debate.  Through a variety of tools I encourage students to explore and practice the new techniques discussed in class while leveraging a variety of team and group activities to support peer mentoring.  The students use Khan Academy online to help them explore new ideas, learn new techniques and practice the topics discussed in class.  Through Khan Academy I am able to assign specific topics to the students and monitor their success and challenges, allowing me to make student-specific adjustments to the curriculum to address identified gaps.   I create a safe and fun learning environment where students feel comfortable exploring new topics, asking questions and supporting each other as we discover new uses for mathematics in their lives.

Curriculum
Students are placed into the appropriate mathematics class based on ability.  This means that in any of the math classes there may be up to three different grade levels of students.  All of my math classes cover content one to two grade levels beyond a student's academic grade.  

Course 2 is a 7th grade-aligned course that develops the necessary mathematical foundation required for future Algebra and Geometry classes.  This course moves beyond number manipulation and begins covering characteristics of rational numbers, equations, inequalities, ratios and percents.  There is a strong emphasis on math vocabulary and real-life application.

Pre-Algebra is an 8th-grade aligned course that expands our understanding of mathematics by covering the more advanced concepts required for real-life problem solving.  We expand our scope to real numbers while covering topics such as linear equations, functions, exponents and basic geometry.

Algebra 1 is a high school freshman level course designed to cover the skills required to solve more complex equations and inequalities.  We will discuss systems of equations, exponential functions, polynomial factoring and quadratic equations in this class.  During the last trimester we will integrate Physics to explore motion, force and energy by using experiments and our newly mastered Algebra techniques to make predictions and test our hypothesis.

Geometry is taught every other year (alternates with Algebra 2)  as a high school sophomore level course.  This course will focus on proofs that include similar triangles,  area and volume.  We will explore the properties of circles, polygons and quadrilaterals including transformations.    

Algebra 2 is taught every other year (alternates with Geometry) as a high school junior level course.  The class will work with linear systems, polynomial functions, radical functions, logarithmic functions and rational functions.  We will also spend time identifying and practicing sequences and series, probability and trigonometry

Assessment
There are daily homework assignments in all of my classes to ensure students can demonstrate mastery of the material on their own.  We walk through and discuss the answers to these assignments the following day and I encourage questions and student responses during this time.  Sometimes the homework consists of practice problems on Khan Academy which allows students to ask for hints or get video help if they are having difficulty.  Labs and projects allow students to demonstrate their ability to apply recently learned material to solve real world problems.  Tests and quizzes emphasize an ability to understand and use the vocabulary, solve problems and present logical arguments supported by mathematical properties.

How to Help Your Child Be Successful
All of my lessons are developed in PowerPoint and are posted nightly on our school website for secure student access.  All of the handouts and homework assignments are also posted nightly.  Our class calendar is constantly updated, allowing both students and parents to see when assignments are due and assessments are planned.  I keep my students fully informed of their progress and welcome communication with parents.