I think I may actually be getting worse at this. While not horrible, today didn't go at all how I wanted it to. It started with us getting a late start primarily because they forget to reset the bells after Back to School Night last night (and partially because our Link Crew brought doughnuts for the freshmen and they met in the cafeteria, but mostly the bells). So we started a few minutes late and, well, you know how I'm doing on my timing, so that didn't help.
We started with an opener (pdf), as usual, and I really liked the problems on this one (my age in seconds, but without the units; converting Deepwater Horizon daily oil spill into number of 2 liter bottles per second). Unfortunately, they didn't really know how to approach problems 1 and 2, which are the ones I liked. That's partially because we ran out of time yesterday, but it's also partially because they seem hesitant to dive into anything they don't already know how to do. I wrote on the whiteboards next to the smart board where the problems were projected some hints to get them started, but they didn't even seem to be interested in writing that down. I think I'm not doing a very good job of communicating with them about how I want them to approach mathematics, or perhaps it's not so much communicating but I'm not convincing/encouraging/selling them.
We then moved on to the lesson (pdf), where I pulled data from The Biggest Loser to explore direct variation. The wheels really fell off here because it took them an inordinate amount of time to graph four points on graph paper. (Obviously, inordinate is in the eye of the beholder, in this case me.) Not only did it take a long time, but many of them didn't graph the points correctly. I had made the assumption, obviously a bad one, that graphing was something they had done enough of that asking them to graph four points, with a decent amount of scaffolding in terms of the how to construct and label the axes, would not be a difficult task. So, again, I'm left wondering if my expectations are too high, if my assumptions about their background knowledge are incorrect, or if I'm close to being right on and just haven't managed to get them to buy in. (And I think I showed some frustration for the first time today. I'm chalking that up at least partially to being tired from Back to School Night last night, but that's still not a very good excuse. I need to be more patient.)
I again had to cut my lesson short of where I had anticipated getting, but at least this time I cut it at the right point so that I didn't talk through the bell (perhaps 15 seconds to spare). So I asked them to finish parts a-f on the second page for homework (we did part a, and started on part b). In addition, their homework includes watching the video on solving one-step equations. This is the second instructional video I've asked them to watch, but I'm still unsure about how many of them are actually watching it. (As an aside, I've debated with myself about how much to "check up on them," and I'm still in the stage of letting them learn the ropes. I'm thinking we're at about the end of that stage, though.)
So, tomorrow is another day, but I'm pretty sure I have too much planned again. This weekend will give me a chance to redo my plans yet again, and perhaps I'll get closer to the sweet spot next week.