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Friday, June 28, 2013

Algebra 2 first trimester thoughts

My school is set up around trimesters.  The original goal of doing this was to more easily allow students to recover credit (during a third trimester) for a class which they had not passed.  Strangely enough, this has proven to be problematic in the mathematics department.  (for reasons I am not planning on getting into in this post).

During the past couple years we have been working on curriculum with the assistance of a math and a technology coach.  We, the math coach and I, have been carefully watching how common core was developed and then how it correlated with the standards we've already been required to use.  Given that Michigan has reworked the (high school) math standards 3-4 times (including CCSS, now) since 2000, its very much been a work in progress and the final reworking wasn't as difficult as it might have been.

My first trimester in 2013-2014 in traditional (3 trimester course) Algebra 2 will be Univariate/Data Analysis, Probability and Sequences and Series.  Just 3 units (in about 11 weeks of study).  This is the order we did them last year (written to CCSS) and the unit descriptions were given to me by the math coach (who got them from the work done by a local Intermediate School District (ISD) on the CCSS standards).

The timeline (including assessment) from last year was Univariate (etc) 14 days, Probability 17 days and Sequence and Series 23 days.  The remainder of the trimester will be used for final exam review and final exams themselves (yes, finals are given all 3 trimesters and no they are not comprehensive between trimesters).

I'm tempted to switch the order, and I still might, but as things sit right now I am not going to.  Univariate Data Analysis (which includes all the S-ID.#1-6 standards) seems like a good place to start their Interactive Notebooks.  I dug out paper and started coming up with a foldable for measures of central tendency (on Father's day, 3 days after school let out)   Next I started on making a pretty complicated box and whisker foldable (still am not happy with it).  My notes list distribution (general), standard deviation, z-scores, normal curve (I know what this one will look like, and haven't found one online already) as topics to prepare for as well.  Here's where I got lazy smarter and began looking for foldables relating to these topics on pinterest and online.

During this first unit, I also plan on having discussions with the students about remediation (as prescribed by their scores on the evaluation I described on their previous posting).  I am willing to bet that there will be very few (if any) students who need no remediation.  I plan to then use that data in relation to this unit.

I can imagine that with remediation lessons that this unit will likely take a couple more days than it did last year, which I am ok with as I know that Sequences and Series was dragged out a little to fit into the trimesters timeline.

My hope is to have an IN fully created (or at least fully mapped out) for each of these first 3 units well before school starts again in September. I also plan on taking pictures of each student created foldable and/or notebook page during the school year (so they can be chronicled on my Weebly site, for absent students)

concerns:  all math teachers must use Common Assessments (tests and quizzes, though I will be making changes to the quizzes as I will be trying SBG).  Also, because student schedules change each trimester we need to be at the same point in the curriculum by that point.  As I am planning on making the IN a requirement, what do I do with students who don't have me the previous trimester?  How do I make SBG work given the scheduling issue I've previously mentioned?  Also, the department has a required percentage break-down for grading purposes, I will need to describe to the administration (parents and the department chair) the reasons why I will not be using it and what exactly my breakdown will be and how it should benefit students (and be convertible to a grade for progress report and trimester grading purposes).  I do plan on posting my thoughts about SBG (of which I admit to being a novice) during a posting later in the summer.

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