Success with polynomials

A flurry of short updates today:

1. Algebra 1 class seemed to go well today. By the end of class, I was able to observe almost every student correctly adding and subtracting polynomials, even when there were negative numbers involved. I didn’t see much of 3x2+2x=5x2 today, and I think the algebra tiles had much to do with that. Most students were on task a good part of the time, and I’m starting to build more rapport with some of them.

2. I co-teach third period Algebra 1 class with a resource teacher. He has 9 students in the class, I have about 19. We are working together to fully include all of his students with learning disabilities. I absolutely love working with this teacher. It is so incredibly helpful to have another adult in the room.

3. In my geometry class, I asked students to design a parking lot to maximize the number of parking spots given a number of constraints. Students were on task most of the time and did well given the difficulty of the task, but I noticed that some students who had previously been diligent in class before were now goofing off because of the individuals in their group. Peer pressure is such a powerful force, I’m noticing. Also, small details such as how many copies of instructions are handed out, how the copies are distributed, how instructions are conveyed have such a huge impact on students’ products and learning. Complex instruction, indeed.

4. I now have textbooks for nearly all of my Algebra 1 students, but still no textbooks for my geometry students.

5. It seems weird to me that teachers don’t have keys to the office where we make copies. The office is locked during certain parts of the day. I guess we’re not supposed to make copies during those times (for example, during lunch).

6. High school kids are so filthy! It’s hard to imagine how they are able to get so much dirt, markings, pieces of trash everywhere so quickly. The classrooms get cleaned every three days, but we have to sweep the floor ourselves more frequently if we want the room to be presentable.

7. My class enrollments have been pretty stable for the last few days. Hooray!

One thought on “Success with polynomials

  1. Very well said: “small details such as how many copies of instructions are handed out, how the copies are distributed, how instructions are conveyed have such a huge impact on students’ products and learning. Complex instruction, indeed.” — You have to plan EVERYTHING.

    6. Yes, and freshmen have a smell. In any case, if you train students to use procedural roles (TC, F, RR, RM) then you can help students learn how to take on this responsibility. The RMs are in charge of managing resources, meaning that they are in charge of making sure the groups pick up after themselves, among other things. Students have to be taught how to be successful in “playing their roles”, though, so I wouldn’t use them unless you are ready to train them. Remember, there is one of you and many of them. I often ask myself: How can I rethink my work so that I am primarily doing the work of teaching — a broad job that involves designing & implementing instruction and managing & assessing learning — and shift some of the other responsibilities to my students? They are perfectly capable of owning the responsibility if I teach them how and give them the tools and support to do it.

    7. yahoo! transiency is so hard.

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