Q&A #4990

Teachers' Lounge Discussion: Teaching algebra in middle school

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From: Sandy Rea

To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2002041823:22:07
Subject: algebra for advanced 7th graders

Hi.  I'm a new teacher, and I'm new to these forums.  I have a
question that's related to this discussion.  I know most people seem
to be in favor of not teaching Algebra so early in middle school.  We
are trying to decide on a few math issues right now in our 5 year old
charter school.  We're trying to decide between keeping all 7th
graders in pre-algebra (tracked with advanced and regular), all 8th
graders in algebra I, and all 9th graders in geometry.  (We're using
the Singapore books for K-7 grade and the Bates Publishing, Weeks &
Adkins books for Algebra and Geometry).  However, we have lots of
parents who want their children to study the pre-algebra texts over
the summer (with proper assessments), then take algebra I as 7th
graders.  I could actually see this because I have a few students in
my pre-algebra and algebra I classes as 7th graders who are bored to
tears because they have already mastered all these concepts.  I
understand taking fewer topics and going deeper rather than shallowly
teaching more topics.  But for the cases where students have already
mastered these topics, I could see them advancing atleast one class
higher.  I don't think they should advance over 2 classes, but I could
see advancing one topic.  Anyway, I just wanted to get some feedback
 from people to see what other schools are doing in this area to help
challenge the advanced students.  Thanks for any help!

Sandy Rea
Liberty Common School
Fort Collins, CO

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