Teaching Tips to Try Newsletter

November 15, 2009 From Linda The Math Coach Go Beyond the Theory. Apply the Research. Make it work! MEET THE EXPERTS! Next up! December 14th 7:00PM CST Motivating Black Males to Achieve in School and in Life


This Week’s Theme: Learning Progression for Algebra I Break Out Of The Teach -Test - Reteach Cycle Not everyone comes to Algebra I with the same skill set. You discover this when you present your lesson and 63% of your students stare blankly and then say “I don’t get it.” So do you just plug ahead and hope for the best. Reteach those who fail the first test? Last week we looked at why reteaching does not work. So now let’s look at how to apply a learning progression to “Get er done.” Let’s begin with the end in mind. Suppose that students must master the following benchmark objective: I can simplify expressions using the properties of addition and multiplication, combining like terms, absolute value, and positive exponents. Step 1 Begin with the end in mind. How will this be assessed? Here are four typical exam questions:
1. 2. 3.

Evaluate −1 + n4 ∙ 3 for n = 3 Simplify the expression
5 + 52 + │3 – 18 │ 5

Simplify by combining like terms 4y3 + 9x – 3y3 – 8x – 5y2

Ask yourself these two questions:

What do students have to know to solve these problems? What do students have to be able to do to solve these problems?

What students have to know Rules or method of operating with integers Correct order of operations Fractions mean division Like terms have same variable to the same degree “Combine” means to add Meaning of exponents Absolute value is positive

What students have to be able to do Operate with integers Apply order of operations Combine like terms Determine absolute values Operate with exponents

Now we map these into a diagram to organize a teaching sequence. The ovals represent the enabling knowledge, and the rectangles represent the subskills. Starting at the bottom, begin the progression and follow the arrows. You will need to design a formative assessment at each knowledge and or subskill point. If students demonstrate proficiency, move on. If not, then stop and teach before moving on. When you begin to plan using this kind of progression model, you will find that your instruction is much more focused and easier for students to make day to day connections between lessons. Posting the progression or giving students a blank progression map to fill in with notes will maximize this benefit! Stopping to do formative assessments at critical points helps identify students who need “fill in” and will quickly catch many students before they fail. You will notice that students become more confident and engaged when they have this kind of support. Don’t spend hours trying to get a perfectly mapped out progression. You will often find that just getting something down on paper is a good start and you can always modify it as you go to fit your students’ needs.

Benchmark: I can simplify expressions using the properties of addition and multiplication, combining like terms, absolute value, and positive exponents

Apply order of operations with rational numbers, including integers.

PEMDAS fractions = divide

Combine Like Terms

Determine Absolute Values

Operate With Exponents

Meaning of like terms and combining them

Meaning of absolute value

Meaning of exponents

Operate with Integers

Rules or method for operating with integers

Next week we’ll look at some quick easy ways to do formative assessments and how to design instruction to address multiple learning styles.

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