Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Two days in...

I should be working on something for school, or maybe just flat out heading to bed, but I did want to do a quick post on how things are going.

We have moved into our new building and opening day yesterday went as smooth as any of the ones that were in an existing building. Dismissal was a bit glitchy - though we got that straightened out today I think. Now if they can just get the PA situation settled so that we aren't hearing the Middle School or Elementary announcements...

Day One yesterday in my classes for the most part went well. I did not have time to get into the problem I wanted to with my first and last class. What bothered me a bit is that students didn't know where to start (and in some cases, didn't know what "multiple of __" meant). I had one student figure out the answer. I was happy that I did get to some math Day One.

Today in my Algebra 2 and Advanced Algebra 2 classes, they took a diagnostic test on Operations and Equations. I want to have an idea as to what they know. My Advanced Algebra 2 kids did about what I had hoped and expected. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of them knew order of operations pretty well - only 3 or so kids out of 17 had errors and they weren't major ones. My Algebra 2 kids did pretty poorly. I could not believe how many of them did not show work on solving simple equations and how many of them had no real idea how to solve even a simple two-step equation. I already knew from their Algebra 1 teacher that this was a low group, but this is worse than I expected. I will have to reteach a lot of Algebra 1 I think.

On top of that, I already had a discipline issue to deal with today - day two. Four students in one of my classes not only did not put in much effort to the diagnostic test, they chose to talk and be disruptive while everyone else was still working. On day two of class. I had already talked to one of the four of them on the way into class today since this particular student chose to talk to his neighbor at several points as I was talking. I had to yell at them while others were working. Held all four after class and flat out told them I wasn't going to tolerate this and if things continued, they could expect calls home and office referrals. Ended up talking to the principal at the end of the day I was so mad about this and she suggested I call home. I was able to reach 2 of the 4 parents (fortunately one was the worst offender - the one I had talked to at the beginning of class) and Mom understood what I was going through with the student and was supportive. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. I had not intended to assign seats until Friday (I haven't had a chance to get to it yet) but I believe I will be assigning them in that class at least tomorrow.

Tomorrow starts the real teaching for me. I still have some beginning of the year stuff to go through, but for the most part, class will be more normal. I am still working on pulling together some plans - at the moment I am working about a day ahead. I am starting with what I did last year and modifying from there.

I am using an activity with Math 1 based on this post from Math Tales from the Spring. I am a little stuck at the moment with what to do about my Algebra 2's. We are going to have to spend some time on solving equations in one variable. Any suggestions on how to handle this review/reteaching would be welcome!

1 comment:

Dean said...

Hi Lisa,
You might be interested in the results of the diagnostic test I gave my algebra II kids - it is the latest post at

Pretty sad and I would love to know about systemic solutions to this lack of preparation/retention