A hypothetical welcome letter

One of the assignments for my Instruction in Inclusive Schools class is a welcome letter to students and parents which lays out my class expectations and instructional goals for the class.

I should note that this was more a though-experiment as to what might be possible for teaching an inclusive classroom and flipping the classroom rather than a real blueprint for how I approach math instruction.

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Grade 10 Mathematics (Science Option)

Welcome to all students!

Welcome to Mr. McCarthy’s Grade 10 math class! If I taught you previously, then you know what you’re getting into—so welcome back. If not, then you’re in for a great time as we explore some exciting and challenging math together.

My goal is that you all gain something meaningful from this class. To do this, we will try to understand and connect concepts, rather than just taking a formulaic approach. With effort from all of us, you will end up prepared for the test as a by-product of your meaningful learning in the course.

My classroom is a safe space for all students where we celebrate differences. I will not tolerate bullying or other derogatory or abusive behaviour in any form.

3 + 3 Expectations

I expect you:

  • To work hard, whether you are usually sail through or struggle in math.
  • To think of the class as a team where we work together to learn, not a competition.
  • To respect your peers and the classroom space that we learn in. I will work to earn your respect.

You should expect:

  • To be doing a variety of things in class—you won’t be doing much sitting at your desk listening to me. I will assign difficult but hopefully rewarding work.
  • That different students will be doing different things in class. You’ll all learn the material (and get prepared for the test), but you will take slightly different routes to get there.
  • A degree of independence from me that reflects your effort and progress in class. (If you don’t like your time micromanaged, make sure to keep up with your work!)


You may be used to math classes where the teacher stands at the front lecturing. If so, you’ll have to adjust your expectations for my class! The table below is a sample of what a sample unit may look like.

Assignment Description
Online videos and practice from Khan Academy

Most of the practice work will be completed online at Khan Academy. You will be responsible for watching the explanatory videos and working through practice activities until you master each topic. You can work at your own pace, though I will provide a pacing guide to help you set goals.

I will monitor your online work and use it to tailor what we do in class. For example, if we’re working on quadrilaterals, I may notice that several students are struggling with completing the square, and offer a lesson to those students. If everyone is progressing well, we may use the class period to do a fun math activity.

If we determine that your learning style really doesn’t fit with the online work, we can discuss and figure out an equivalent way for you to learn and be assessed.

Extension project

You will work individually or in a small group on a self-directed project extending the material in the unit. You will go beyond the scope of the unit and draw in knowledge from outside the class. You can work on it in class if you are ahead of the pacing guide.

Example projects could include:

  • (Any unit) Creating a situational problem
  • (Geometry) Measuring the school using its shadows
  • (Systems of equations) Modeling a business problem
Unit test

To help prepare you for the final exam, the unit test will be styled after the year-end exam.

A note on computers

You will need to work independently on the internet. For those without regular computer or internet access at home, I will set up a regular weekly schedule before and after school and at lunch when you can work here. For special considerations, make an appointment with me.

Course content and assessment

For the first week, we will review material from Secondary 3 so I can assess where you are and you can get used to my teaching style. At the end of the week, I will distribute a specific course outline that lists the units we will cover and the way they will be assessed.

I look forward to a great year of math together! Please let me know if you have any questions.

Mr. McCarthy