Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekly Class Summary: Dec. 9-13

SOLs Covered:  SOL 7.13, 7.14, 7.15 & 8.15 Algebra
Math Dictionary Sections:  19 Algebraic Concepts; 20 Inequalities
Upcoming Assessments:  Proportions Quiz TBA; Bay PBL Project (Jan. 2014)

I've got this week's test piled up on my desk waiting to be graded along with some errands I have to run before heading home, so this WCS will be on the shorter side (I know I say that often and then write an exposition, but I mean it this time).  We started the week with the inequalities quiz.  While grades weren't great, the kids predominantly made minor mistakes (ex. forgetting to flip the inequality symbol when dividing by a negative, drawing the arrow in the wrong direction for the graph, etc.) that they should be able to easily fix.  When the quiz was given back, most students immediately caught their mistakes (which is when I reminded them of the necessity to check their work before turning it in) and they've already turned in their error analysis.  Students had made their own Smart Charts but many had left off parts that would have helped them catch their mistakes sooner.  Others had papers that were just a bit too messy to be helpful, so I decided to give all the kids a new updated copy of my own Smart Chart (after I played around with my ActivInspire's settings to have the PDF save and print the way I wanted).  Students should be study the chart and practice making it at home as well as using it for all their homework.  They'll also be allowed to use it in class for most things as well, so they need to remember to bring it back to school each day.

The rest of the week was spent reviewing for the test (Tuesday and Wednesday) or actually taking the test (Thursday and Friday).  During the review, I made a few changes to how we show some of our work, which seemed to really help get the information to start clicking with the kids.  For example, when combining like terms, I previously had the students highlight the like terms in different colors.  We now just circle the like terms in the different colors and then scratch them out as we go along.  We now refer to our variables as divas who don't want to share the stage, so we spotlight the diva and set the stage (which is drawing a highlight line down from our equal or inequality symbol) before we try to clear the stage of "everyone" but the diva.  These little things have made a world of difference for the kids and I think that while they don't love algebra the way I do, they at least no longer loath and despise it!  When students finished their tests, they worked on some seasonal Cartesian cartoons, which are now hanging in the hall, adding a bit of color and life (there are some really interesting colors on those snowmen!).

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