We really shouldn't need all that time to teach a course in a year that colleges teach in a semster.
I'd like to hear what other teachers do to complete the whole course...I'm sure if we pool our best practices, we can get all the kids to understand more and raise the whole country's level of learning. We, as teachers, shouldn't be hoarding methods that work well....which I've seen happen too often. I'll start, but I'm sure there are teachers out there who really succeed!
My best practices:
My main goal is to prepare the students for the levels they will be working on in college as soon as possible, so more students will succeed there and remain in college to graduate. I tell them that if they try college level courses in high school while they have their parents and lifelong friends for moral support, it won't be as difficult in college, because they'll have one less new thing to learn,and they'll work at a higher level when they begin.
Yes, they complain that we go to fast, some only do homework at first when I check it, but I tell them they are capable of it....and build them up all year. (I also tell them they need a "cheerleader". Someone whom they can count on when they are down.(Of course, they tease about this.)For me it was my grandmother..who can they count on for inspiration and support..))
but first, I send a letter home to parents telling them what they can do to help. Mainly it's to encourage their teenagers to persevere, but stop working if they haven't solved all their homework so they get enough rest.
I have the kids look at an unsolved problem (or vocab words) right before they go to sleep..their minds will work on it while they are sleeping.
And questioning (homework solutions, presentations, the teacher) so that all kids learn from the mistakes of one person works!!! Check on Deborah Ball's methods for fifth graders