Saturday, April 2, 2011

Hi ho! Hi ho! It's back to work I go.

Don't you think that the week of spring break is the quickest one all year?  (Unless it's winter break, anyway.)

I didn't have a whole lot planned for break except for a 2-day vacation from my children.  Unfortunately, my mom got sick and sent the kids home early.  (She's actually still in the hospital but is expected to go home on Monday, thank goodness.)

I did a little bit of work while I was home.  In my Integrated Algebra 1 class we're going to start factoring soon... and I'm not looking forward to it.  At this point, the only thing I'm looking forward to in that class is June 3rd.  Is that horrible?  I'll keep going and try to keep as peppy as I can and find stuff that they might actually enjoy doing, but they're dragging me down....

In precalc we're going to do a little bit of sequences and series then jump into limits.  It's been several years since I've had the opportunity to get to limits, so I was doing some searching the other day to see if I could find anything interesting to at least intro them.  (They'll get the boring version next year.  Oops.  Did I say that?)  I had some help from @mrhodotnet, @samjshah, and @dansmath (in my comments here).  Still trying to piece things together.

There was a conversation (on twitter, of course) about what you expect students to know when they take a certain class.  For instance, I would expect anyone entering Algebra 1 to be able to add, subtract, multiply, and divide numbers (like fractions, negatives, etc).  With my class this year that was a dumb dumb dumb assumption.  At this point in the year I make sure they all have calculators; they can usually do the algebra, it's the adding and subtracting that messes them up.  Julie put a request on her blog for topics that she called "Math's Greatest Hits".... what do you think they should know?

After my frustration in precalc earlier this year about them not being able to factor (see here and here) I made up a list of all of the skills I would expect my students to have when starting out the year.  I gave a copy to the Honors Algebra 2 teachers who would be sending kids my way.  My plan is to quiz them in the first week of school on some of those skills and if need be, get them reviewing on their own.  Here's my version (if you have any suggestions, please let me know!):

Precalc skills

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Hi there,
I was reading your blog post, and I am trying to teach my algebra I students to factor which they have not completely mastered. They just finished a quiz on the quadratic formula, and I would say that they can start the formula, but they can't quite finish it "all the way" without making a mistake with negative integers. Anyway, I think starting off with clear expectations helps you to teach what you need to teach rather than reteaching prerequisite skills while you are teaching new material. However, students do learn the materials, and it does evaporate sometimes.
Good luck.
lisa, @nussder
(not quite blogging yet)