So my co-teacher and I decided today that we will set aside some time to do Algebra, maybe at the beginning of each class (the glory of 90 minute blocks is we can do this and still have a rich Geometry lesson). In our conversation we thought a good first task would be to have kids practice matching equations to graphs, and then we can work up to writing equations and graphing. But then my last block class had kids in such different places that some kids will be ready to move on from matching after day one while others will need a lot more practice. I think this has to be individualized, each kid could get a chart listing all the skills, quiz on a topic (say 5 questions on a very specific skill) and they either test out of that skill or get assigned related practice problems. If each kid gets an individualized assignment do these have to come in a particular order or can kids choose? Which skills have prerequisites? Maybe I can have kids write practice problems after they master a skill so I'm not making a million?
I hate being so skill/test focused so I'm also hoping to mix in Fawn's awesome visual patterns and estimation problems. Possible plan: each week every student must complete 2 skill assessments, a pattern and an estimation problem (then I can skip estimation on my skill list!). Patterns and estimation should be written up with a partner, skill assessments must be completed individually (but feel free to discuss practice problems with a partner). If I plan 60 minute lessons then students can work on this at the end of class (plus about half the students - the ones with a math learning disability - have a second block with my co-teacher, she has been trying to set up similar things so this can carry through to the other class).
This afternoon I set out to see what skills are important according to the state test. And came up with a list (below) that I can work with. I'm really hoping part of this matches your curriculum, that you do SBG and you have assessments and skill practice sheets that you can share with me. Please??
Simplify algebraic expression (order of operations, exponent rules, factor/distribute)
Solving equations (rate, linear, one quadratic-multiple choice)
Solving system of linear equations, absolute value inequality
Writing linear equation, absolute value inequality
Writing and graphing inequalities (one variable)
Estimate percent, square root, with data (total, average, difference)
Angles of triangles, parallel lines with transversal, parallelogram
Similar and congruent triangles
Transformations on coordinate plane
Mean, Median, Mode, Range
Box and Whisker Plot, Scatter plot, Line Plot, Circle Graph
Area, Surface Area, Volume
I have a better sense of what I'm hoping to achieve after writing this post, but I still don't know how best to organize this all. It's overwhelming because it seems like an entire Algebra class running on top of my Geometry course. But I'm already overwhelmed so I'd rather be overwhelmed with a purpose and a plan than continue throwing up my hands in despair. Advice greatly appreciated!