Though I understand the need to have students pass the Integrated Algebra Regent, it would be far better if the students learned mathematics rather than calculator answers. I have taught the MAT 002 Introduction to Algebra (remedial algebra) course for 19 years at Nassau Community College. Students are not permitted (department guidelines) to use graphing calculators during the course nor on the exit exam. They may use scientific calculators such as the TI30.
From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] On Behalf Of Jonathan Sent: Sunday, September 01, 2013 9:20 AM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: IA / Geo Combo Platter Class
A couple of thoughts:
They need about 40% of the material, so teaching 60 - 80% should be fine.
The "course" (cough cough) is about 50% algebra, 50% other stuff. Most of the hard stuff, for kids, is in the algebra portion. I might want to teach half the algebra and all the other stuff....
Diagnose. I hate that diagnostics are part of the reform package in every classroom, but you have a special case. I like to give a test where the answers are 1, 2, 3, and 4. 1 - "I never learned this" 2 - "I learned this, but forgot it" 3 - "I think I know this, but I'm not sure. I might need a hint or reminder" 4 - "I know this. Here's the work and the answer" (Choices 2 and 3 let them say "I don't know" without making them feel dumb - it really helps. And Choice 1 implicitly blames someone else) And because it is low stakes, they might take a short version in class, I can make sure they get they 1, 2, 3, 4 thing. And then they can do a more complete one at home.
Time spent shoring up topics that they already know is valuable.
I might pick out what most of them already know, and spend some time bringing them up to speed. I would let them practice where they are usually right. I would test them where they are usually right. And then give them a test where "their questions" are embedded among harder stuff, train them to find their questions.
And then teach a unit. I might pick statistics. It's fresh, so they don't need to unlearn bad habits. But for each unit, I'd make the unit small, break it into halves if I had to, and then add those few questions to the list of what they know. And again I'd let them practice. Let them take tests where they get most of the stuff right.
Finally, when I do this sort of thing, I let the kids know exactly what we are doing, and why.
Jonathan Halabi the Bronx
On Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 9:56 PM, Evelyne Stalzer <email@example.com<mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>> wrote: So I have just been told that I am teaching a new high school class for our recidivist algebra students. The goal of the course is to push them through the IA regents on January 20, 2014, and then give them some nebulous amount of geometry preparation for the second half of the year, with the idea that it will enable these weaker students* to go into a regular one year geometry class (the only kind we offer) next year with a greater hope of success. It's a bit of a departure for us as a school, because we function on an annualized calendar - no three semester courses here. This is a way of getting around that without having to put students in a full one year remedial algebra class. Well, there are good and bad points about any choice we could make for this population, but ultimately that choice has been made and now I am going to do my best for them, although I would have wished for more time to prepare. I am predominantly a geometry teacher, with some other electives. I've taught IA once, and then Math A before that. I'll be looking at jmap and old regents, of course, and going through the Prentice Hall Algebra I text book. But what I would like to ask of the more experienced algebra teachers on this list is the following question: If you had to teach this one semester class, what are the top choices for topics you would cover? Remember, there is a good chance that there will not be time to cover even half the normal curriculum with this group. So where would you concentrate your attention? Thank you for any help you can give me as I gear up to help these kids.
* some are weaker for cognitive reasons, some for work habit reasons, some for attendance reasons - it's quite a stew.
Evelyne Stalzer Riverdale / Kingsbridge Academy Bronx NY