September 28, 2014

Algebra Units 1 and 2

One of my goals this year is to have more balanced units. I am trying to achieve this by making a unit plan ahead of time and updating it throughout the unit. My school uses Atlas to share curriculum so when I start each unit I can open that site to find the list of standards we are supposed to address in a certain time frame. I reviewed that list as well as the skill and vocabulary lists. Then I try to organize all the information, along with all the resources I have from my past years of teaching the course and the MTBoS. Somehow I failed to include an assignment that I graded in this unit, despite all that planning. Kids had a balanced experience of investigating, notes (on flappers), practice and quizzing but I didn't grade anything but quizzes and the test. Hm... Goals for next unit! Here is what I ended up doing for my first unit of Algebra 1:

The descriptions are brief since they reference materials I have elsewhere, but the next time I teach this course they will be sufficient to jog my memory. I have all my card sorts and stations neatly organized in coupon holders so the next time I teach this course it won't be nearly so much work! I'll also know what the kids need a bit better so there may be less cycling back. You'll notice I have a "Next year" note to self. I am also using the comment feature, but apparently Scribd doesn't display those.

At the beginning of the unit my plan looks much messier:

I have some skills I need kids to develop and some activities I know I want to use. I'll build the rest in and figure out what the timing has to be as I go. I haven't taught Algebra 1 in 5 years (pre-MTBoS!) and so there's plenty of learning on the fly going on. Ideally I would develop these plans with my colleagues teaching the same course to kids who came from the same middle schools, but when I asked "What activities do you use for the next unit?" I got a lot of blank stares. Thank goodness for all of you! I would love ideas for teaching solving equations and inequalities.

My other goal is to mix in review. I've been doing that by assigning 5 homework problems each night and at least one of them is a review problem. Since in unit 1 the review was still all from that unit I didn't think to record how I was doing that. For the next unit I want to choose the review topic for the week and include that in the unit outline.

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