Mr. James Kunz

Phone: 208 - 350 - 4458

Email:

Degrees and Certifications:

Bachelor of Science, Mathematics Graduate Certificate in Secondary Education

Mr. James Kunz

Welcome to a new adventure at Star Middle School!

 My name is Mr. Kunz, but you can call me Mr. K.  I taught and tutored university math students for several years, and then decided to return to Boise State University to certify for public school education.  I spent the last four years teaching math at Eagle Middle School and I'm excited to be part of the new Star Middle School staff this year!  I'm interested in nearly everything - from music to games, sports to science, literature to history.  Math is a subject inherently connected to all of these topics, and I enjoy building connections with students every day.  
 
Our world is changing quickly.  While many math and education ideas are fundamental, the way we communicate has been revolutionized by the digital age - in the classroom, just as in real life.  This year, West Ada School District has adopted a new textbook, but it's likely that students will use an online version to do homework, just as they use online resources when they need help outside of school.  In the digital age, with such a wide variety of resources available, it's more essential than ever that students take responsibility for their own learning.  Ask questions when you need help.  Keep a record of your homework assignments, notes and activities for your own benefit.  Google and Youtube can be helpful aids, but they can't take the place of classroom interactions!
 
I teach two courses at Star Middle School:
 
Math 7 is a course that might have been called pre-algebra a decade ago.  Today, this unified course includes algebraic concepts as well as ratios, probability, statistics and some geometry.  This course forms a bridge to extensive formula-based algebra next year, taking every concept that was introduced in 6th grade and expanding on it.  Our focus will be on maturing our problem-solving and making sure we can communicate our models, methods and solutions clearly.  It's no longer enough to "know the answer in our heads."  Although students may correctly remember some concepts, they'll now be challenged to systematize their approaches, translate complex situations to abstract formulas, and recognize patterns or key information in equations before solving numerically.  We'll emphasize math as a language of persuasion - if another person isn't convinced by your methods and solution, your "answer" has no value!
 
Honors Math 7 is a significantly accelerated course that propels advanced students through 7th and 8th grade math topics in a single year.  Students in this course should have a mastery of basic number sense and rational number operations in advance, and must practice every day to stay at mastery level throughout the year.  We'll reference text materials from both 7th and 8th grades, as well as use purpose-built materials to learn more quickly.  To succeed in this challenge, students should expect more homework every day and/or fewer days of homework practice on a topic to reach mastery.  Students on the advanced track will experience their first highschool-level course next year, with permanent transcript effects.  With that goal in mind, students will experience a classroom with heightened expectations of personal responsibility.  We'll emphasize the importance of habits and organization every day.
 
Throughout the year, I will be posting online resources and links that support our classwork.  Never hesitate to ask questions in class, after school, or by email.  I look forward to working with you this year!