Friday, August 28, 2015

Adventures in Algebra I

This is my 17th year as a high school math teacher, and my 11th at my current school.  Before I came to this school, I had never been on a campus with freshmen (both of my prior schools were 10-12 campuses).  My first year here, I taught Algebra I and AP Calculus AB.  The next year I traded my Algebra I classes for Pre-AP Pre-Calculus classes and that's what I taught for the next nine years.  Late last year, my principal, informed asked me to teach Algebra I this year.  Algebra I is the only math class with an end of course exam in Texas, so he wanted to buck the tradition of the most senior teachers teaching the upper level classes while the newest teachers taught the lower level (and often more high stakes) classes.  So here I am, teaching Algebra I for only the second time in my career.  We have new standards, new curriculum, new textbooks, and all three of us teaching Algebra I have limited or no experience with the subject.
Since I got my Master's degree in Curriculum & Instruction last December and would eventually like to move out of the classroom and into an instructional support role, I am embracing this new challenge!  So expect to see a mix of Calculus and Algebra I resources on this blog.....
Today I'm going to share an Algebra I foldable I made and used today.  It gives a simple review of Integer Operations.  I gave it to my students to put in their interactive notebooks and then gave them 18 problems out of our new textbook to practice using the foldable.

Integer Operations Foldable
Integer Operations Assignment

Saturday, August 22, 2015

I'm Baaaaaaack :)

Last year was a crazy year.  Finishing up my Master's Degree in Curriculum & Instruction took more of my time than I had anticipated, so my blog didn't get updated as I had planned for it to.  But hopefully this year will be a different story!  I enjoy the self-reflection that blogging provides, and I love sharing things with my fellow educators!  It's very cathartic!
I've had a change in my teaching assignment this year.  I'm still teaching AP Calculus, but I'm no longer teaching Pre-AP Pre-Calculus.  I'm now teaching Algebra I.  In Texas, students are required to take five End of Course exams in high school in order to graduate.  The only math EOC they must take is Algebra I.  My principal decided last year that he wanted the most experienced teachers in each department to teach those courses that have an EOC and I fit that bill :)  So here I am, starting my 17th year of teaching and I'll be teaching a course I've only taught one other time.  While I'm sad to no longer be teaching Pre-Calculus, I have to admit I'm excited about getting to mix things up and get out of my comfort zone a little bit!
I wanted to kick off my renewed blogging efforts by sharing a resource that a colleague of mine told me about and that I think will prove to be invaluable this year.  It's  It's an online lesson planning book.  It costs $12 a year and you can try it out for a month before you have to pay.  You can set up what components you want to have in your lesson plans, which is nice because we have to include vocabulary, an open and close, and our state standards in our lesson plans.  It's very easy to make changes by copying and pasting, deleting, or even shifting your lessons forward or backward a day as needed.  You can even share your lesson plans with administrators, parents and students using a link or you can even embed your lesson plans directly into your website!  How your lesson plan book looks and how much information you share are highly customizable.  Probably my favorite feature though is how easy it is to document and keep track of your standards.  National and state standards are embedded into the program.  All you have to do is select the standards you're using and then check the ones associated with your lesson that day.  The program even keeps track of how many times you teach each standard and on what days it was taught.  You can then print this list to a pdf document to share with a supervisor if you need to.  I definitely recommend checking it out!