August 20, 2013

PreCalc Curriculum

Unlike Geometry, last year was my first time teaching a full PreCalculus course.  I didn't go in with a plan and instead chatted with the AP Calculus teacher every time I was gearing up to do some long term planning.  Given all that, I'm pleased with how the course went last year.  And I'm excited to have the opportunity to rework things this year.  Like I did in Geometry, I dropped in the number of quizzes/tests I gave fourth quarter, though this time it can be at least partially attributed to the conics unit which I approached in a "let's study all the functions at once" direction, so I assessed them all at once (and gave them plenty of time to master them in any order they desired).  Next year I think I'll break that standard down into identify the conic section, sketch/describe the graph and write the equation.  We did all of those things but the distinction didn't make it into the grade book.

An explanation of the categories:

Investigations: tasks that students spend class time working on and sometimes finish for homework (this is an honors class so a couple were done entirely outside of class). Basically they're interesting problems or projects that I consider worthy of grading.

Standards: at the beginning of most classes I give a 3 question quiz on one recent standard. Every 2-4 standards there is a test. So each standard is assessed twice; old standards only cycle back in the way that shifting and stretching a graph works the same in trig as it does with polynomials, or exponentials, or logs, or any function. Students can retake quizzes and sections of a test throughout the quarter.

Vocabulary: I didn't use flappers with this (honors, juniors) class.  I introduced the note taking method in the fall and left it up to them.  However, the "word wall" fad seems to be a lasting one in my district, so I thought it would be worthwhile to make a vocab list for this course as well.  This one was off the top of my head so pretty please read through and let me know what terms I missed!

  • Talk explicitly about my thought process and the math practice standards.  This class is filled with students who have found math easy thus far, hopefully this class isn't easy, which means they need models of strategies in perseverance and problem solving.
  • Actually use a grade record chart so they know what their strengths are and what to retake (we tried at least two, maybe three, but I never remembered to remind them to use it)
  • Be better about checking that students went back to learn the material before retaking, this crew is eager to retake but they don't know how to study (see first bullet point) The problem here is - I don't want to collect their corrections or extra practice problems.  Although, I could have them staple the original test/quiz, the corrections/extra practice and the new assessment all together.  I only need to grade the new thing but then it's all together to discuss if they haven't mastered the new material.  (Sounds like a plan, good talk.) 
  • Have fun!

No comments:

Post a Comment