Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Day 2

I over-planned for today. We were only able to complete two of the three things I had hoped for today. I'm trying to tell myself that it's good to over-plan, but now I'm worried about my expectations for how much I can get done in a given class period.

Today we started with an opener (pdf) that was designed to both introduce the class to how we're going to do openers, and to give them a quick review before they took the Math Skills Assessment. When they walked into class I gave them a sample notebook page to show them how I wanted them to organize their notebooks, but I also said that if they wanted to use a different organization system they could, but they had to talk to me first and explain why they think it would work better.

After they worked the openers, we then went over them as a class. I worked out the first one (conveniently the most difficult one), let Vic (my special services cooperating teacher) work out the second one, then invited students up to work out the third and fourth before I finished the fifth one. Lots of silence when I asked for volunteers, but eventually someone did both times. This took about twice as long as I had planned for (probably 16-18 minutes).

Then they took the Math Department Skills Assessment, which all of the Algebra teachers at my school give in the first couple of days. They worked on that for about 20-25 minutes (I had anticipated more like 15-18), I collected them and then, because we were short on time, I worked out the key (pdf). I had intended on alternating on the key just like the opener, I'd do one, then a student, and so on, but I could tell I was going to run out of time so I just did them all.

At the end of class I quickly told them their homework for the night (as always, posted to the class blog):
  1. Check our online portal to see their grades on today's assessment. I broke the assessment down into the four skill areas (Adding & Subtracting Fractions, Multiplying & Dividing Fractions, Integer Operations, and Order of Operations), and they are responsible for getting help and then re-assessing on any one they scored less than a 4.5 on (on my 5-point scale).

  2. While they're on the portal, they should look up their Google Apps account info. This just got turned on, so I gave them instructions for how to look it up, and then they need to login, get to their email, and reply with a "got it" to a message that's there waiting for them.
Overall, the day was okay, but not what I was hoping for. Hopefully tomorrow, when we actually get to do some mathematics, will be better.

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