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Mark Sparks
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United States - Arkansas - Batesville
Mark Sparks
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"If for no other reason, studying mathematics teaches one to think logically".
 
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Are you frustrated by traditional textbooks? I sure am!! I do not issue my students a traditional textbook anymore in any of my classes. This ...
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This book contains a collection of 138 free response items that can be used in Pre-AP* mathematics classrooms in Algebra I, Algebra II, and Pre-c...
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This book contains interactive learning activities that can be used as exploratory lessons and class discussions to develop topics in Algebra II ...
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Are you frustrated by traditional textbooks? I sure am!! I do not issue my students a traditional textbook anymore in any of my classes. This ...
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This book contains student centered learning activities that are targeted as students' rich and deep understanding of graphs of quadratic and squ...
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Are you frustrated by traditional textbooks? I sure am!! I do not issue my students a traditional textbook anymore in any of my classes. This ...
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Are you frustrated by traditional textbooks? I sure am!! I do not issue my students a traditional textbook anymore in any of my classes. This ...
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Are you frustrated by traditional textbooks? I sure am!! I do not issue my students a traditional textbook anymore in any of my classes. This ...
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Are you frustrated by traditional textbooks? I sure am!! I do not issue my students a traditional textbook anymore in any of my classes. This ...
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Are you frustrated by traditional textbooks? I sure am!! I do not issue my students a traditional textbook anymore in any of my classes. This ...
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This lesson is designed to introduce students to the concept that a function can be discontinuous. In Algebra I, students are exposed mostly to ...
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TEACHING EXPERIENCE

I have taught for 17 years in the Arkansas Public School System with 16 of those years being in the Batesville Public School System. I have taught every level of mathematics from 7th grade to AP* Calculus AB during my tenure at Batesville. Currently, I teach Algebra 3, Pre-AP Precalculus, and AP Calculus AB. Much of my work has been in the Pre-AP* and AP classrooms and have perfected the style of teaching necessary for success in the AP math program supported by the College Board. Over the years, I have compiled Learning Activities that foster student centered learning in my classroom. Additionally, I have written and compiled approximately 500 multiple choice items and 150 free response items that fit the AP style of testing. Students who have finished the AP math program at my school have experienced great success over the past 11 years, with a 85%+ pass rate of the AP exam, with several years of 100% pass rate of the exam. My first two years of teaching AP mathematics were disasters. I finally realized that the reason was because I was trying to teach both a way of thinking and calculus concepts at the same time. Students need the thinking skills before they learn calculus. *AP and Pre-AP are registered trademarks of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, my products.

MY TEACHING STYLE

In my classroom, students mostly discover concepts through investigation rather than me telling them. To be successful AP math students, they must be able to think independently, analyze a problem situation and make inferences, and convey those inferences in writing. My student centered learning activities foster these things in my students. Students are expected to speak as much, if not more, than myself in my classes. Students are active learners in the classroom. The least successful students are those who are quiet and uninvolved in classroom discussions. My approach to teaching mathematics is very different from most people. I know it sounds odd, but the majority of what I want students to learn from my classes is not the actual mathematics itself. In my classroom, mathematics just happens to be the tool that I use to teach students to become better analyzers of information, higher level thinkers, complex problem solvers, and efficient writers of the English language.

HONORS/AWARDS/SHINING TEACHER MOMENT

Independence County Teacher of the Year Finalist, 2002, Awarded by Citizens Bank of Batesville; Arkansas Most Outstanding Middle School Mathematics Teacher, 2003, Awarded by the Arkansas/Oklahoma Chapter of the Mathematical Association of America; Friend of Education, 2003, Awarded by Lyon College to an individual who has made significant contributions to education in the Batesville Community; Optimist Educator of the Year, 2004, Awarded by the Batesville Optimist Club; Sieman's Award for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching Nominee for the state of Arkansas, 2008; Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics & Science Teaching Nominee, 2009; Most Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award, Univeristy of Arkansas Community College at Batesville, 2008 – 2009

MY OWN EDUCATIONAL HISTORY

1993 thru 1997 Lyon College Batesville, AR B.S., Mathematics Graduated cum laude; Awarded Most Outstanding Secondary Education Student; Presented a paper entitled The Effects of Part-Time Jobs on High School Students' Academic Performance at the 1997 Conference for Undergraduate Research at the University of North Carolina in Asheville, NC; 2004 thru 2005 Arkansas State University Jonesboro, AR Worked on M.S.E. degree in Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction; Presented a paper entitled How Views of Community Members Can Help Shape Local Education at the 2004 Fall Conference for Graduate Research at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR; Presented a paper entitled Effects of Student Centered Learning Activity on Student Performance at the 2005 Spring Conference for Graduate Reasearch at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro, AR;

ADDITIONAL BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

Professionally, I have committed myself to preparing students to be great thinkers. The AP* math program does just that. In order for students to be successful AP math students, they must be prepared. The College Board has made a great push in the last few years to encourage schools to provide Pre-AP* courses and have developed workshops to inform teachers of Pre-AP classes of the AP program. However, there are very few printed materials of resources to aid teachers. I have developed hundreds of pages of student centered learning activities that foster indendent and high level thinking as well as multiple choice and free response items that can be used to assess that thinking in the Pre-AP mathematics classroom. These are the products that I present here. *AP and Pre-AP are registered trademarks of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse, my products.