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Re: Algebra 1  How is it going?
Posted:
Oct 27, 2013 5:20 PM



Nick, Yes I feel positive about the modules. Yes the first unit that I was dreading like crazy over the summer was a lot of fun. I enjoyed the lessons and so did the kids. The homework was a challenge to say the least. To think my students come with mastery is ridiculous. The current state of middle school practice we don't even require basic skill level before moving to the next grade level. So if we have never done common core, done it for a year or have done it for ten years I'm still going to have students in ninth grade algebra who can not multiply by negative one in their head. I have found that the homework assignments ask them to do a lot of thinking on their own and use skills from previous courses. I've added my own homework assignments and review many days when I felt like the problem sets were going to be more challenging than the lesson itself. Then in my own homework I can add in more practice which yes I agree I feel as if the modules are lacking. I'm probably also going "too slow" although I feel as if I'm going at an appropriate pace for my students. I have also created all of my own assessments materials. The lessons are hard. They are hard for the students and they are difficult for me to implement. I don't know that I would say that's a negative. It is a significant change for me and my students. For my classes and my students it really asks them to think conceptually about the material at a level that has never been asked of them. I think that's great. My students have far to often wanted to memorize a process or wanted a quick easy answer. This is not a quick easy fix but I feel like the modules are a step in the right direction for creating students who can thinking about math logically and will be able to apply the skills to new situations. The hard part for both students and teachers is this is not something we will be able to see next week. There won't be a wow look at all this hard work and now my students persevere and are problem solvers.. this is going to take longer. But.... if we want real change it's not going to come easy. The state exam. If I thought that this year's common core exam scores were going to matter for anything I might be freaked out. We have the option to take the Integrated Algebra regents and so I can't imagine not taking it. This way I can say I know my students will graduate and I know that there scores on their transcripts will not be dreadful because at the end of the year I can prepare them for the "old" regents exam. The common core regents is just a trial run. No one has to do well. If every single one of my students fail it, oh well. The vast majority of my students will pass the Integrated algebra regents including more than a handful that shouldn't pass a state final. I think that using the modules verbatim is ridiculous. But then, to think I could use my own lessons from the past ten years exactly as they are is equally ridiculous. I can plan the same lesson and teach it three different ways in one day. I have to modify all of my own lessons on the spot every day why wouldn't I have to modify a text? Michelle Van Etten Moravia High School
On Sun, Oct 27, 2013 at 11:11 AM, Nick B <nbiancul@ic.sunysb.edu> wrote:
> This thread is specifically about Algebra 1. Are there any teachers who > feel positively about the Algebra 1 modules or curriculum? I have read very > few or no posts that have alluded to victories in Algebra 1, with possibly > the exception of the graphing story topics. I personally have seen > students become frustrated and alienated by this curriculum. I would love > to hear from teachers who have a positive view of how their classes have > gone this year. These teachers should share what they have thought the > positives have been and share their implementation strategies. > > One of the core issues here (no pun intended) is that the algebra 1 > curriculum has too many topics. The writers of the modules, > wellintentioned, had to contend with a curriculum that moves forward > assuming mastery of past grades because that's the only way to fit in all > of the topics that are covered in this course. The modules sacrificed > practice and flow in favor of coverage and modeling, violating the shifts > of coherence, deep understanding, and dual intensity. Could anyone really > describe the theme of Algebra 1 module 1 in one sentence? Two sentences? A > paragraph? > > Unless you are teaching the Algebra 1 course or are carefully monitoring > the situation, this can be perceived as whining or shirking the hard work > that needs to be done. However, I can assure you that teachers are working > as hard as they can, but are feeling (rightly so) intense frustration. > > My middle school colleagues report that the number and complexity of the > standards in their grades are much more manageable. And 6570% of the > students in those courses still scored 1 or 2 on the state assessments. I > shudder to think what the Regents will show in June. > > I support the promise of the Common Core. It's unfortunate that the > promise of the Common Core will be obfuscated by faulty and visionless > implementation, namely: > > 1. No trial or grace period to see how the standards will work in > classrooms. > 2. Standardized tests that teachers will have little knowledge of before > the test is given. > 3. (This is specific to Algebra 1) The assumption that students will be > ready for ninth grade Common Core Algebra 1 coming from just one year of > indoctrination in Common Core. > 3. Standards that can be interpreted in many ways and taught at many > different levels of depth. > 4. Modules that need to be edited due to errors and feedback from the > field. > 5. The conflation of student assessment, teacher assessment, and a > changing curriculum; it will be extremely difficult looking back after 5 > years or so to decide which reforms are working and which aren't. > 6. Lack of true leadership in the field regarding what to teach and at > what depth to teach it, due to standards that do not specify this. > 7. No contingency for students with disabilities or students coming to us > with abilities several grades below their chronological age. > 8. Lack of truly Common Core Aligned resources (most textbooks are old > texts with a Common Core sticker appended to the front.) > > All of these concerns should have been either solved or made clear that > they would be solved before the rollout of the CC with highstakes testing. > It's a shame that a reform with ideals many teachers support would be > implemented in such a terrible way that puts the reform movement at grave > risk of being rejected by teachers, administrators, parents and, most of > all, students. > > Take away the highstakes testing for a few years and replace it with > informational testing so that teachers and students alike can use the > assessments for learning, as opposed as assessments of learning. Create > alternate forms of assessment for students who are underassessed by > paperandpencil tests. Address the concerns above before implementation, > rather than "building the airplane as we're flying it". Then the Common > Core will see its full potential. > ******************************************************************* > * To unsubscribe from this mailing list, email the message > * "unsubscribe nyshsmath" to majordomo@mathforum.org > * > * Read prior posts and download attachments from the web archives at > * http://mathforum.org/kb/forum.jspa?forumID=671 > ******************************************************************* >



