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Panic Mode

Last week was the official Mid-Quarter marker for my school. This meant that mid-quarter grades were due, as well as updates on all IEP goal progress. It made for a busy week for all at school, learning a new grading program (I <3 PowerTeacher) and keeping up with *all* of the IEPs. (For those of you that don't know, every student I teach has an IEP...though not all have math-specific goals).

At the mention of Mid-Quarter, my heart started fluttering a little. It means that the school year is 1/8 finished. It also means that my semester-long Algebra 2 class is 1/4 finished. When I was looking at the state Standards of Learning for that class (there are 20) and thinking about what my students know and are able to do at this point, I entered what we will call "Panic Mode".

Algebra 2 is a tough course. There is so much to cover that is built upon Algebra 1 skills, more indepth and some entirely new concepts. I'm trying to remediate skills from Algebra 1, and cover new skills from Algebra 2, but they aren't getting it! The days that I have had great success and the students "got it", are the concepts that on a quiz 2-3 days later, the students missed the boat completely.

This is my fault for assuming that because they "got it" the first day, it didn't need to be revisited the next day. The "one and done" approach is not effective, but it is so difficult for me to think that it can be different in such a packed course.

Questions for the PLN:
  • How do you handle the pressure of time and breadth of courses while still covering concepts rather than procedures? 
  • How much of your class time is spent allowing students to practice new skills/concepts on their own or with a partner as opposed to watching you demonstrate examples, group problem solving, or the like?

Comments

  1. 1. My goal is to make as much progress as possible while making sure students have a strong foundation with each concept. I don't want to rush through to meet every standard and have them walk away not really understanding anything.

    2. It varies. If I lecture most of the time then I give them anywhere from 5 to 15 minutes at the end to work with a partner or on their own on a classwork or homework assignment. Or, I spend the majority of class with them having a whiteboard and trying to solve problems. They can try more than once or get help from me or the students around them. Then at the end, they have something to complete on their own.

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