May 4, 2013

Geometry Units

Common Core aligned? Check! (If only it was that easy...) On Wednesday during PD time we started planning the geometry course for next year.  We are reorganizing our curriculum using Understanding by Design and the first step is deciding the units.  We've always taught approximately the same units in approximately the same order with common midterm and final exams.  Next year we will have common quarterly exams.  I'm not thrilled about this development (understatement of the year) as they will take up four of my precious 90 minute class periods, will be written by an outside company (with our "input") and will be used to judge me and my students.  However, ranting about testing won't solve anything.  What I am interested in sharing is our plan.  The six of us looked at examples from other schools and what we did this year (largely influenced by Rethink Geo ideas from last summer) and came up with this plan:

Plug for dropbox: I could pull up my outline for the year and my daily notebook files on my phone, which made it easy to figure out exactly how many days I spent on each unit this year.

There are topics on there I don't expect to get to this year.  There are topics on there I can't imagine getting to next year.  Sadly the topics will be dictated in part by the PARCC exam (and the emphasis of the exam may also flip some of the last 3 units because we don't end until late June and exams are in mid-May).  Perhaps since the middle school is now focusing on middle school topics rather than Algebra 1, students will arrive with more geometry skills and Law of Sines will be within the realm of possibility.  I am trying to keep an open mind, but I enjoyed taking the time to deeply explore those topics in PreCalculus so I really hope PARCC doesn't force it earlier.

Time is measured in class periods.  We see kids for 90 minutes every other day.  180 day school year, every other day means 90 class meetings, 4 days stolen entirely by testing, 86 days to work with.  3 flex days each semester for review and performance tasks.  The time for the unit includes regular assessments and needs to absorb the near constant interruptions of shortened days (every Wednesday next year, state testing, parent conferences...)

Our next step is essential questions and enduring understandings.  What do you think are the most important aspects of each unit?  Would you reorganize the units to better highlight something we're missing?  Share in the comments or the google doc.


  1. For what it's worth, I think you should move polygons (at least area) after trig and right before solids because you need trig into order to find the area of regular polygons. It also seems to flow a little better going from plane area to volume and surface area.

  2. i forgot to tell you that one of my fundamentals students had an 8th grade shadow today from the middle school and we were doing volume. and the shadow knew more than my students about it sooo possible good sign??