Rookie Year: Day 11

Sorry, no clever alternate title today.

Currently I am teaching One-Step equations. For my non-math teacher readers, these are equations like

x + 10 = -3                   5x = 45

x – 5 = 8                       x/7 = 9

x + -1/2 = 5/4             6/7 x = 2/3

So essentially equations where only one thing is being done to the variable and you only have one thing to do in order to find the solution. My students did really well with the addition and subtraction ones. Although they still struggle with signed integer addition and it took a little prompting for them to complete problems where they needed to add or subtract fractions. But mostly they did well.

Addition and subtraction equations were yesterday and today we did multiplication and division equations, which were more of a challenge for them. There is still only one step to do, but the concepts concerning how multiplication and division are related are very fuzzy. When I asked them “dividing by  5 is the same as multiplying by what number”? I confused a great many of them and I am not sure that I ever brought some of them back from that confusion. My pedagogy is weak here. I am not sure how to effectively scaffold the relational understanding needed because I have not often had to teach this particular topic. If anyone has some resources I would appreciate it.

My first block fought me tooth and nail today. No one wanted to be on task. Every time I redirected another group stopped working. They really wore me out. My other blocks generally were very engaged today, but this has been two days in a row for that first block. I called a few parents during lunch to ask for some help. (I am taking Gary Rubenstein’s advice here: he says to not to threaten to call parents but to simply do it unexpectedly. I hope it works. We’re in the second full week and it feels like I am fighting to win back a class a little already.) I told them today that I have an infinite amount of patience. That isn’t quite true, but I have enough to not give up on them. I told them I’m just going to keep asking and expecting work from them. I can do it until they are sick of me. I will keep doing it. But talk is cheap. I’ll have to show them I mean it by doing exactly that tomorrow.

And the day after that.

And the day after that.

And the day after that.

All the way to day 180.

I hope it doesn’t take that long.


(This ending inspired by my favorite poem, i went fishing with my family when i was five by Tao Lin. I just realized that “And the day after that” should have been my alternate title, but I’m just stream-of-consciousnessing this posts mostly. I do some minor editing after and a little organization in my head before. Sorry.)


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