I talked too much today. Or at least it felt like it.
All of my classes went like this:
Bellringer (With attendance and me passing out notes)
Asking if anyone needs help with the bellringer (yes all three block)
Homework questions (We did two questions in every block)
Notes on Substitution Method (25 slides but most of that was pre-made examples–we worked through them as a class and the slides were meant to be a permanent copy) For me, notes usually mean I introduce or review a few definitions or ideas and then we are working through problems with me calling on students, asking them to justify or explain next steps. So by notes I really mean some direct instruction. I gave them a copy of my powerpoint and half-sheets to tape into their composition books.
In-class practice of substitution method of solving systems of equations.
My notes were too long I think. I only left 20-40 minutes for each class, depending on how quickly they were able to answer my questions during notes. All of my classes worked on the problems once I released them to do so (I did have to put some kids in a middle block back on task repeatedly) but no one finished because they didn’t have enough time. I realized this during lunch and tried to adjust for final block, but instead of taking out a few examples I tried to go through the same amount faster, which was stupid. I don’t know why I did that. But on the bright side 3rd block seemed to get it the most so I didn’t mess up too badly.
Tomorrow we will just spend the entire block practicing solving systems of equations with graphing and substitution. I probably won’t introduce elimination until Thursday and the quiz on Friday will only be on graphing and substitution.
I am concerned that I am not getting enough cycles of quiz, feedback, re-quiz in before department wide Unit Tests, but it’s hard on me to grade more than one quiz a week. I need to do more informal quizzes with the students where we have the atmosphere of a quiz–do this, by yourself, no talking, and no notes–but without the pressure–no grade and we talk about it as a class afterwards. This is the only solution I can think of currently but if anyone has some other suggestions I am open to them. The problem is that I simply can’t give enough individualized feedback in enough time before the curriculum and pace dictate a more summative assessment. (Keep in mind that the course I teach is HEAVILY regulated by the South Carolina department of education, there’s a state written exam at the end, and the district has a pacing guide for maximum numbers of days that should be spent on a topic.)
I also haven’t written a list of standards for this course for Standards Based Grading. I probably just need to steal some from another SBG teacher. I need standards for essentially a typical Algebra I curriculum, but from systems of equations on. I’m probably just go browse Dan Meyer’s site.
Thanks for reading.