11.15.2009

Running headfirst into a brick wall...

...is what it felt like in my Algebra 1 class on Thursday. We had been making major progress Monday and Tuesday looking at function machines, finding outputs when given inputs and a rule, finding a rule and predicting outputs when given several input-output pairs. Then Wednesday we didn't have class because of standardized testing being done at school (Stanford Achievement Test-10...it has Deaf/Hard of Hearing norms so we use it every year to see how our students are improving with respect to their same aged d/hh peers). Thursday it was as if Monday and Tuesday had never happened.

While one student was trying to figure out the rule (2-step) for the table he had completed, two other students were struggling trying to complete the table. I had felt confident after Monday and Tuesday because this year I was actually talking about the functions and talking about the rates of change of the input and output, how they were related to the equation, how they related to each other, etc. (side note: last year I don't think I even talked about rate of change at all...I know that's terrible...but I didn't think the students had the grasp of the language *or* the concept, so we were in major survival mode when it came to slope, functions and graphing). Granted, the problem we were tackling on Thursday wasn't simple, but I was bamboozled when 2 students, half of my class, couldn't fill out a table given inputs and a rate of change!

The hardest thing to do in this class is differentiate. I have one very high student that needs to be challenged, and two fairly low students that need my support and guidance/hand-holding for much longer than other students need. Problem is, when I challenge the one student that is ahead, he needs my assistance to get going and to guide him along the way, then the other two are either lost or they go ahead and try their best to work independently and end up making errors along the way.

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