Sample Materials

I pride myself on giving students clear pathways to successful learning and maintaining an organized course structure. Please feel free to peruse the proposed syllabus below that I put together for a future high school Algebra 2 class, as well as the links on the right which lead to sample materials that I have used in the past while teaching high school physics and college chemistry.

Proposed Algebra 2 Syllabus

For the next step of my career (Fall 2022), I am interested in teaching high school math. Towards this end, I have constructed an example syllabus below for a standard-level Algebra 2 course at the fictional Knottareal High School (pronounced “not a real high school”). However, I of course realize that this syllabus will have to be adapted to the local contexts and rules of a real school district, such as the bell schedule, alignment with other teachers, and department standards. Below the syllabus, I highlight some of the features of this syllabus that I would like to incorporate into the next classes I teach in some form.

Respect & Teamwork

My top goal in the classroom is to foster an environment of respect and tolerance, which I explicitly lay out in Part 2 of the syllabus. Teamwork is closely related to the concept of respect, as working together fosters a spirit of collegiality and a recognition that everyone is an important and valued member of the school community. I also reiterate that respect is important via my expectations for all members of my students’ learning support team (including other teachers, myself, administrators, and parents/guardians) in Part 3.

Clear Expectations

I strive to be thorough yet cogent in my communications with students and parents. Since they may be referring back to the syllabus throughout the year, I try my best to clearly lay out my policies in addition to keeping an updated website. For example, I include a rubric for how the Math Portfolio (classwork/homework) will be graded in Part 4 and provide clear definitions of what on-task means in Part 2. I also explicitly tell students that I do not expect them to do more than 10 or so minutes of homework a night, since we will be doing lots of problem solving in class. By using selective bold and italics, I make sure that the most important aspects of the course are highlighted. Finally, students would complete an open-syllabus, group quiz about the syllabus on the first day, as this will reinforce the policies of the class in their mind as I circle around answering questions about how the class will work.

Guided Independence

As students rise through the years of high school, they are transitioning towards becoming independent adults. The classwork and homework policy of this syllabus balances rigid requirements and flexibility to allow students to take charge of their educational journey. Specifically, after completing the Foundational exercises of the homework (which should be able to be finished about 60% of the way through the class block), I allow students to choose which Growth Exercise Sets they continue to work on based on their own self-assessment of their learning needs. (Students will have access to all of the answers to check their work as they go.) As maturing adolescents, they are given the responsibility to differentiate their learning based on how they are feeling about the material. Struggling students can pick more fundamental exercises, students who are on pace can work on tougher exercises, and students that are breezing ahead of the class can explore more complex topics and challenge exercises.

Active Participation

Throughout the syllabus, I set the expectation that students will be actively participating in class. At the start of the year, I would also give students an informal attitudinal survey asking how they typically study for math and what their experiences with math were in the past. Then, the next day in class, we would discuss how active problem-solving is a more effective study tool than passively reading notes or listening to lectures, setting expectations for lots of problem-solving in class. Overall, my grading rubric for Math Portfolios shows students that productive, on-task work is more important to me than how many problems are completed.

Focus on Growth

I believe that students should be given more than one chance to showcase their growth and learning on each of the course’s learning objectives. By making the math portfolio a core part of the class, I allow students to compile a record of their growth and learning that I can check weekly as a formative assessment, so that I can intervene and support struggling students before a summative assessment. Cumulative (open-note, short) quizzes and regularly included review exercises will give students more opportunities to crystallize their learning into long-term memory. Finally, earning credit back on tests via the test postmortem and the ability to retake each cumulative open-note quiz make the course more accessible for students who do not test well, de-emphasize cramming, and ensure that a bad test day doesn’t ruin a student’s grade.


In Part 2 (and my learning goals in Part 1), I mention to students that they will be reflecting on their progress throughout the course. Specifically, all students will reflect on their learning during the test postmortem which I detail in Part 4. I hope this will allow students to analyze their past classwork and study habits and map this to their test performance and overall confidence in the material, allowing for metacognition on their learning and ultimate growth as a mathematical thinker.

More Sample Materials: