Well, today I tried our modified "Shapes of Algebra" in my only Algebra I class. I never knew we had so many coming in unprepared. My class of 27 understood as I went through y=x as an example, or so I thought. They are good at copying what I say or write, but when they had to do their own on y = -2x + 2, they couldn't even produce an accurate table of values. Then, the graphing was another issue as they were picking random points or inverting the x and y axis.or making everything into a line. We are still muddling through, but this class is going to need some serious work...I am curious to see if my A4A collegues here in Dowagiac have similar problems.

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Comment by Keith Klann on October 25, 2010 at 11:36am
Here we are winding up the last week of the 1st MP. We have all struggled with the lack of content knowledge coming in to the 9th grade. We have spent a lot of time on just the basics to get them to th point wherethey can now solve multi step equations and inequalities with variables on both sides. Now that we have the basics down, we can try to dive into the deeper content as to what it all means and "what good is it?" I think as we get into the whole slope concept, I am going to pull out the "4 Sisters Race" and maybe wind up with another look at the "Shapes of Algebra" to end the unit to see if what we've done has made any difference.
Comment by Keith Klann on September 12, 2010 at 8:40pm
We had a trimester up till this year in Dowagiac. We had both the 3 and 2 trimester class for both Geom and Alg. 1. The difference was if you didn't pass the first tri, you didn't go on. It made for all kinds of scheduling nightmares, but it allowed for those kids to go at a slower pace. The last 2 years, we were told that we had to do only 2 tri's for Alg. 1. What we did was to make sure all 1 step equation solving was covered in 8th grade. It freed up some time. Then we also moved a few content items to Alg. 2 since the slower ones would take it over 2 years.
Comment by Sean Karsten on September 12, 2010 at 9:05am
That is a very interesting idea. I have a trimester schedule and have been running a 2-semester class, with the last trimester open for remediation. The problem became because I was the only one teaching math, those who passed were on a different schedule and in the 3rd semester I was teaching algebra to those who failed and geometry to those who passed. At that point everyone is on a different track and I am all over the place in the same classroom.

Do you have a schedule for this class? I tend to go pretty fast in my classes and I don't know if I'd be able to spread Algebra 1 out for 3 semesters.
Comment by Barbara Assenmacher on September 11, 2010 at 9:52am
We offer a two-trimester class as well. For the three trimester classes they earn 1.5 credits total for the year (1 algebra credit and 0.5 math elective credit). The algebra credit is earned in the last two trimesters. The rationale for this is that as the year progresses the material is more difficult. Also, in the past if they fail the first trimester, they are pulled from the three trimester program and have to do it in the traditional two trimester class. With all the cuts that we had this year and class sizes the way that they are, I am unsure how they will handle it this year.
Comment by Sean Karsten on September 10, 2010 at 7:53pm
Barbara, how do students earn credit in the 3-trimester course? Do you do 1/3 credits, and if so, how does that work with students who transfer in or out of the district?
Comment by Keith Klann on September 9, 2010 at 6:13am
Thanks Barbara. That sounds like a better plan. Since they are coming in not knowing 2x means 2 times the value for x, the SOA is over their head as a first week activity.
Comment by Barbara Assenmacher on September 8, 2010 at 9:57pm
We in Monroe ran into similar trouble when we tried the SOA last year. So this year we decided to do a calculator introduction and a review of how to make a table and graph from an equation and to make observations about them BEFORE starting the SOA activity this year. I just started the Calculator Basics WS with my students today and feel that it went fairly well. I teach our three-trimester Algebra 1 classes which has the students that have struggled with math in the past. You can find the worksheets that my colleague and I created in the forum section.

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