Trying to formulate a plan for my 3rd quarter math class feels like trying to solve a huge simultaneous equation. I am struggling to say the least. I am having little success incorporating daily practice problems, standardized test prep problems, covering the curriculum, differentiating instructional strategies, utilizing my class website for practice or utilizing the textbook when appropriate while finding supplemental resources when the text fails. Nevermind trying to research the best practice articles associated with my content standards and indicators.
Probably most of my trouble lies with the fact that I am an island. Not by my choice. But I feel as if I am in a sea of apathy. I have great difficulty in getting any colleagues to try and figure out how to juggle the whole mess. They are so frustrated that they avoid. Well, I just can't do that. I know this will be easier after I teach through the whole thing once...but that doesn't solve this year's problem. ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
I have great math colleagues in other places and in other grade levels. They are wonderful and try to help. And I think they bring a wonderful insight....fresh eyes. I'm sure I don't see the forest for the trees as I get more emeshed in the day-to-day stuff. The fact that we use lessons that suppose to be 60 minutes long in a 43 minute period does make this inherently frustrating. I can't help but believe the kids feel the rush and pressure to finish like I do.
Therefore I've read through what I can and have just taken the plunge. We'll do computational practice Tuesday-Thursday as the kids come in and I've constructed enough sets of practice problems to last the quarter. This took quite a bit of cut and paste to make sure I went back and reviewed past topics and the mixed review was targeted to my curriculum. On Mondays, we'll cover practice problems that I just finished writing in the style of our state assessments. Friday, we'll just take a break and use a game format as the warmup. I constructed these from online exercises I'll do with the SmartBoard or Nimble With Numbers. Or maybe we'll just rest from this frentic attempt to do it ALL.
Then we'll grade homework .
Hoping there will still be some time to start adding to the knowledge base with new topics, is my plan. I can't figure out if I just need to believe that the small time increment is actually better because they're going to get this really strong foundation. Or am I fooling myself into rationalizing that smaller new pieces is really better.
I don't really know. I haven't even begun to figure out how to think about at-home practice. How can I make sure that everyone gets the practice time if I can't be assured that everyone will do their homework? By definition I know I can't, so do I even try? Won't that just make the gap between those that get it or have helping families wider?
Too many questions for right now. I need to go soak in the tub until my heads stops throbbing.