Week 1 Finished

Week one is in the books. It has been incredibly busy on all fronts here, but I wanted to update what has been going on in my classroom.

Math 1:

These students are freshmen who are not ready for Algebra 1 yet. We are doing interactive notebooks, so most of the first two days were spent setting up the interactive notebooks. On the first day, I showed them a clip of me working through the Traffic Jam applet and asked them what they noticed and wondered. For their first time doing noticing and wonderings, I felt they did a pretty good job. On the third day, I actually had them work on solving the Traffic Jam problem from the Math Forum. I did give them a baggie with 10 poker chips – 5 each in two different colors. The only other thing that I told them (other than what was on the paper) was that they may want to use their paper to keep track of their moves. I had students in groups of either 2 or 3. Here are some pictures of how they tried to solve it:

I had 2 groups in my first class successfully solve the problem and 1 group (with a little nudge) solve it in the second class. All groups pretty much tried to push through solving it with five people on a side – no one looked at smaller groups first. What was really powerful was the in the first class, the two groups got it at about the same time and we had time to show the whole class and the students could explain it. The second class group got it right as the bell rang.

They also had their benchmark exam on the last day of the week, so that pretty much sums up our week. I’ll be looking at their benchmarks and deciding where to head with them next.

Algebra 1:

This class has freshmen, sophomores, and juniors all mixed together. Like Math 1, they are doing Interactive Notebooks, so we spent a good part of the first two days doing that. We are working on Unit Conversions and Analysis first and I introduced them to a Math Forum Problem of the Week (Citius, Altius, Fortius if you have a subscription) about that and we did noticing and wondering with them on the first day. I had expected a little better set of wonderings than I got, but it is the first time, so we’ll see how they develop. Also, 2 of my 3 classes are kind of small and I don’t think they are used to contributing this way in math class, so we’ll have to make some adjustments I think to get them more active. The third day was spent getting an idea of what they already knew about unit conversions and explaining why they work they way they do. I left them with these problems for homework due Tuesday. I did some slight rewording changes so that the questions would make more sense. They also had their benchmark on the last day of the week.

Calculus:

This is my last class of the day. I have had the privilege to teach these students twice before and I am thrilled to have the privilege again. On the first day, my students and I pushed desks together to form a large table. All of us (including me), sat at the table and we spent the first two days discussing the syllabus and the review problems I had given them to complete when I saw them at Open House the week before. I am doing what Sam did with his Calculus students as far as review – we are doing Algebra Bootcamp. This one focuses on piecewise and rational functions. We have kept our desks together this way every day so far – the students come in and get the table formed, we have class, and then at the end of the period, they put the desks back where they belong. It has created a wonderful atmosphere in class. They will have an assessment Tuesday over the first bootcamp skills (their choice) and we’ll start into limits next week.

So, how did it go?

I am pleased with how this week went. It has been a full week – very little downtime at all. I am still trying to figure out timing with the Interactive Notebook stuff – how long does it take for students to cut, fold, tape in and fill out what we are doing. I am also still trying to think through what goes into the Interactive notebook – do I have to do a foldable or can we put notes in the notebook? What notes do I want in the INB? What do I want on the left hand page? How are we going to practice and in what form? Lots of thinking about how I want the lesson to go.

I will spend this week trying to get my planning groove back. I need to figure out where to start with my Math 1 students in getting them ready for Algebra 1. I just need to get back into the groove of planning and how it is going to work for me this year. It will come – but getting there can take a long time sometimes.

We’ll see how this year shakes out – there is a lot of time and it is very early. I am still optimistic, which is good.

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3 thoughts on “Week 1 Finished”

  1. Glenn says:

    Lisa,
    I am very glad to hear you had a great week. Here is to many more!

  2. Jenean Roberts says:

    I have just discovered your blog, and I love it! My classes are similar to yours, without the calculus. I am looking forward to watching your classes progress.

  3. Renee says:

    Hi Lisa, I would love to talk more with you about Calculus, especially the algebra bootcamp!

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