Between needing to recharge my battery and having nothing extraordinary to share, my desire to blog has been limited.
From Lizzie Nichols Concept Design
Most of my energy has been depleted by reteaching a small group of at-grade-level students. This group cannot remember integer rules and the numerous steps involved with multi-step equations. I thought continual practice would help, but for these students something else is blocking their progress. Earlier in the week I spoke with our school psychologist who said, “They’re just not ready for the concepts. Have them make note cards, or use their notes.” So on Friday they made color coded note cards.
We’ve moved on to inequalities, but the group that needs to reassess two step equations will be using their note cards when they reassess.
The kids have been learning slope. I used a couple of Dan’s Graphing Stories to pique interest and launch the unit. They’ll be assessing this week.
In my previous post, Monday, I noted the results of a formative assessment on one step equations (adding and subtracting) and shared how I differentiated for the students. I’m sorry to report that for my A day class (the class with the widest disparity) the same students who struggle continue to be baffled. It’s clear these students lack conceptual understanding. For many, I wonder if a contributing factor is inattention. It seems to be getting in the way of moving concepts into long term memory. When they are focused, they dwell on procedure without regards to whether their process and answer make mathematical sense.
Here, one student combines like terms, then combines unlike terms, then maybe divides by 10? However the work from that point on is unclear.
I thought I had been breaking down the lessons into manageable parts, but something’s amiss.
I’m hoping my other standard class will have a better conceptual understanding.
Students in my “A” day standard class have MAP scores ranging from the 15th to 90th percentile. My “B” class has a narrower distribution. After reviewing the formative assessment on adding and subtracting one step equations, I wasn’t surprised to discover that I need to address the concepts again in the following way:
After I returned the assessments I sent the 6 enrichment students out in the hall to work on a set of problems from our pre-algebra series. The rest of the class stayed with me for another mini-lesson. I chose to begin with the distributive property because all of those students needed to see it again. Plus, those who already got one-step shouldn’t have to sit in on another one step mini-lesson. After reviewing the distributive property, those six students received additional practice problems I made using Kuta software. They stayed in the classroom and periodically checked their answers against some keys I had posted in the room. As they finished they worked on the enrichment.
The final 10 were with me as I once again walked through adding and subtracting one-step equations. I got them going on their one step worksheets (again Kuta software generated) and had keys posted for them as well. As they finished, they moved on to practicing the distributive property.
This took about 40 minutes. Four of the 10 students who had the most remediation came to see me in math lab today. The rest is homework.
The rest of the block was devoted to multiplying and dividing one step equations.
My “B” day standard class will experience the same lesson format tomorrow. Though fewer students will need remediation.
In Pre-algebra we continued discovering the distance formula. Yesterday I stretched the students a bit too much, thinking they would catch on quicker than what they did. It’s my first time teaching the topic and today was much better. While their discovery of the formula was more teacher led, it was to their benefit.
I created a SMART board lesson and walked them through this problem:
I then gave them four problems as a handout and guided them through the first problem.
Some were still confused by which coordinates to use so I added a table with headers for them to keep track.
By the last problem the kids were sailing on their own, without the aid of the coordinate plane. Their ticket out the door was to find the distance of (1, 3) (5, 8). Only one student struggled.
The standard classes today reviewed their one step equations (add/subtract) assessment. I was pleased with the results for most of the students, but I want to add more problems with simplifying and solving. I’m looking forward to next week where we’ll be doing more complex problems.
We had two snow days on Monday and Tuesday.
My standard classes on Wednesday and Thursday had an assessment on one-step equations. In pre-algebra students students explored the distance formula using this resource along with help from portions of this video. The students had some difficulty getting started so I showed the first few minutes to get them thinking about using x coordinates to find the length of the parallel line segment along the x axis.
When I gave them snippets from the video, it was just enough to get them going. Then they would get stuck. I showed a bit more of the video and they would be able to continue. We’ll keep working at it.