Amber Merrill Staff Photo


Tutoring Schedule  

Please note the changes to the tutoring schedule:

Monday AM Pahman (Green Pod-111)

Tuesday AM Roberts (Yellow Pod - 213)

Wednesday AM Schieler (Green Pod - 115)

Thursday PM Curry (Yellow Pod - 210)

Friday AM Merrill (Yellow Pod- 207)

Morning Tutoring is from 7:30-8:00

Afternoon Tutoring is from 3:15-3:45

Welcome Email  

I sent the following email to by distribution list. If you did not receive it, please sign up for emails at the following link! 


Good morning!


I have enjoyed getting to know your children this week. We are looking forward to an exciting year, focusing on growth and confidence-building to better prepare your child for high school!


Our main objective this week was to learn procedures, particularly with the change to indicator-based tests. The parent presentation on the changes can be found at the Liberty website,


There are two main portals of information for class; Google Classroom and Khan Academy. 


Google Classroom ( is used district-wide for all subjects. Many teachers use it to post information for their classes. There is not currently a parent login, but you may use your child’s login to see it. We have requested parent access, and improvements from Google are being made continuously! Some students new to the district were having difficulty logging in early in the week, but by the end of the day on Friday it seemed to be working. 



Password: firstinitiallastinitiallunchnumber


There are two courses, one for Math 8 (join code: ckril6) and Algebra 1 (join code: y8616). These are shared between ALL math students at Liberty. I spoke to the students about etiquette for a public online forum. Private questions should be emailed to the teachers. This would include anything about a grade or missing assignments. General questions that would be asked in class could be posted to the “Stream.” This would include questions such as “What is the homework tonight?” or “Can anyone help me with number 2?” I also reminded them that they should never say anything online that they wouldn’t say to a person’s face, posts and comments should be on topic and appropriate, and any behavior issues online will be handled just as they would in class. 


Khan Academy ( is a resource to practice math skills. Students will create and keep up with their own login information, but if they are creating a new account they may use their school login (see above). It is vital that they do not create a new login if they forget their password, because all of their previous progress will be lost! You can set up and link a parent account on KA ( and receive (or turn off) weekly emails to track your child’s progress. You may also turn on and off restrictions on their account. We had some hiccups this week with students who used their school email to create an account. Because it’s a school account, restrictions are automatically turned on and they could not add me as a coach! If that happened to your child, I posted the instructions on how to turn on “add new coach” under the to both my website and Google Classroom. Several students were able to join after making that fix. I apologize for the extra step, but do appreciate that there are safety measures in place. 


Khan login codes are separated by block.

Block A: Q3WC8M

Block C: 86HK6R

Block D: VK933K

Block E: UP4SUG


Students will be assigned a skill to master for each indicator. They will have at least one week to master the skill. The skill will be assigned as a “coach recommendation” at the beginning of the week. It will be checked for completion the following Monday.


A daily grade will be given as follows:

Mastered (100%), Level 1 or 2 (90%), Practiced (80%). If they are on Needs Practice or Struggling, a grade will be given based on how much progress they made. 


The ONLY time a zero will be given is if they never attempt the skill. I always say “Zero means zero effort.” Teachers will be monitoring students who are struggling to pull for extra instruction. 


The eighth grade teachers have an open-door tutoring policy for all students. Morning tutoring is from 7:30 - 8:00 and afternoons are 3:15 - 3:45. Please drop off or pick up at the front (carline) doors. 


I know this is a lot of information, but I thank you for your support. Don’t hesitate to email me with questions!

Logging in to Google Classroom and Khan Academy  

If you are a new student having difficulty logging in to Google Classroom with your school account, please keep me updated on it. I will contact the help desk for you if it doesn't work by Friday!

If you are unable to add me as a coach in Khan Academy because of restricted domains, please add your parent and then follow these instructions:  

"Parents can take the following steps on their children's accounts if they want them to be able to add coaches outside of their domain:

1. Go to to view the children attached to your account.

2. Click on "View Summary" for the child in question.

3. Click on "View Settings" from the next page.

4. Scroll down to "Coaches" and enable your child to add coaches to their account.

5. Once this is enabled, your child will be able to approve coach requests themselves."


It's hard to believe we are starting a new year already! Please remember to sign up for the email distribution list to receive announcements.

I know math is not everyone's favorite subject. In fact, it tends to bring out strong emotions one way or another in most everyone I meet. My goal is to make sure your child has confidence in their ability to persevere in learning difficult concepts and solving challenging problems. I like to compare math to basketball; not everyone can be Lebron James, but anyone can learn to shoot a free throw through coaching and practice.

Your child may come home and tell you we use the flipped classroom model. I have been using this model for several years and have seen its popularity rise in those years. The term "flipped classroom" is very trendy right now, but it's been in use for years. Anyone who took a college class and did the prep work before class so as to be prepared for class discussion has some experience with this model. It started to filter down into secondary schools around 2007. Two teachers, Bergmann and Sams, are often credited for starting this movement. There's a great infographic here that explains the movement.

So what does this specifically mean in my class? The typical format is this- The night before a new topic, the students will watch a 2-10 minute video covering the main idea of the topic. They are expected to record the notes in their interactive notebook (INB). The next day, we will begin class either with a discussion of the video using math circles or a group challenge to try a problem based on that topic. During this group discussion time, I am circulating, listening for misconceptions, and looking for students who are struggling. Then I give direct instruction to the whole class, making sure I hit the main idea again, as well as delve deeper into the topic. Then the students will practice the skill, with me pulling students in small groups to help them when they are struggling, as well as following up on the "problem-problems," (i.e. the more difficult concepts) that most of the class needs help on. This whole process takes one to two class periods, depending on the prior knowledge of the students and complexity of the skill. Students prove mastery by completing online modules that I can track through the website. Typically homework is either watching a video or finishing up practice skills that they may not have competed in class. 

During instruction, I am trying to hit several learning styles. The videos and traditional practice problems are popular with students who enjoy working alone and get a sense of accomplishment from completing difficult tasks. Students who are more social enjoy the discussions and group challenges. They learn through talking with one another. Students who learn by doing enjoy doing problem-problems on the board or making videos that we post on Google Classroom. And students who are competitive enjoy setting goals and accomplishment them enjoy earning badges on Khan Academy and completing mastery skills there.

I hope your child will learn more about his or her own learning style and develop study habits to complement that this year. I'm looking forward to a wonderful year!

Blended Classroom login info  

We will utilize two online resources on a daily basis- Khan Academy and Google Classroom. It is imperative you keep up with your login and password information! Your login and password for Google Classroom are provided by the school; Khan Academy is set up individually. I do not have access to your password and cannot reset it! If you have a Khan account from a previous class, please use it! All the progress you've made so far will follow you.


If you are in Math 8, please use these login codes:

Khan Academy

Block A: Q3WC8M

Block C: 86HK6R

Block D: VK933K

Google Classroom

(everyone) ckril6


If you are in Algebra 1, please use these login codes:

Khan Academy

Block E: UP4SUG

Google Classroom


Supply Donations  

Donations of classroom supplies are appreciated throughout the year! The items we go through the most are:

Expo markers

Glue sticks

AAA batteries (for calcualtors)

Lysol wipes

Page protectors

Laminated pouches (for 8.5" x 11" pages)

Online Textbook access  

Just a reminder that every student has online access to textbooks. The links to both the Math 8 and Algebra books are on the LMS website. Username: MCSFirstnameMiddleinitialLastinitial

Password: firstinitiallastinitiallunchnumber