General Chemistry is the first year chemistry course in Visalia Unified School District. Pre-requisites include successful completion of Algebra 1, so it is possible for freshman and sophomores to enroll in the course. General Chemistry fulfills University of California requirements for a laboratory science. At El Diamante, we are recommending taking chemistry prior to biology if you passed Algebra in Middle School.
Resources for Chemistry
Chemistry resources include a current Chemistry Course Calendar, chapter notes, worksheets, review sheets, and labs for Chemistry. I have posted web versions of my PowerPoint presentations, which can be viewed as Flash movies within your browser or downloaded for offline viewing in the new .ppsx format. I've also added my own Interactive Practice Activities. Reviews and links to some of my favorite chemistry related freeware can be found on the Chemistry Freeware page. You can select and print a periodic table on the Printable Periodic Tables page. Several years ago I produced some Problem Solving Videos for common problem types in this course. I have a collection of Programs for the TI-83plus graphing calculator, most of which I have written myself, for solving various types of Chemistry problems. These also work on the TI-84 and TI-84plus. There is also more information on our Essential Standards and Benchmarks.
We have an online textbook, and at the beginning of the school year every student in my class will be required to sign up for access to the online book, regardless of whether or not you have Internet access at home. The online text can be accessed at PearsonSuccessnet.com. You will need to have gone through the registration process that I hand out in class.
Recommendations for Students and Parents
Chemistry can be a very challenging class for some of our students. We have a larger proportion of the student body taking chemistry than any other public school in the area. The instructors provide a lot of support for the students taking the class, and it is in the best interest of the parents and students to be aware of these support tools and to take advantage of them.
- Bookmark the Calendar. The calendar lets you know what is going on in class each day. If you are absent, you will not have to fall behind on homework.
- Every class period begins with warm-up problems that I call the "1st Five." These problems must be turned in with the homework packet at the end of each unit. You are held accountable for these even if you are absent, because you can access them anytime using my Wordpress 1st Five Archive.
- Make use of Office Hours. I am in my room most days at lunch to provide assistance to students. Very often students need help with the mathematics skills necessary to be successful. Your instuctor can help you with the math as well as the "facts" of chemisty. You can make arrangements to get help some days before school or after school as well. It is important to get help before failing a benchmark or test. In other words, it is easier to keep up than to get caught up.
- Take advantage of the Online Version of the Textbook. It offers hints and insights for solving the assigned homework problems, and can be accessed from any Internet connected computer or smart phone.
- Keep track of your grades! Students and parents can access grades using the school's Online Grades. I update the grades as quickly as I get assignments graded and recorded, which is always within a day or two of the due date. You will need a user ID and a password that is provided by the school. I cannot provide these to you.
I do appreciate hearing from users of this site. Let me know if you find mistakes, or if there are features that you think I might add. You may most easily contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will do my best to respond to you, but please understand that commitments to my family and my job come first. If you are one of my students, or the parent of one of my students, you can expect a response within 24 hours.