After today, I am pretty sure there are few greater sounds. Today, was day 2 of adding and subtracting rational expressions. Yesterday was a bit of a scare as most students were very lost and I was unsure of how to deal with the situation. The full story can be found here, but in short: I decided to assign the full homework assignment even though I had not adequately addressed all the topics in the assignment. This was something that I stressed over for the rest of the day. Was this a good decision? How am I going to answer all of their questions tomorrow?
I decided that the best way to address class for day 2 would be to start with questions only on the stuff that I covered and then go on to better teach the new information. I figured there would be a ton of homework questions. When I asked who had questions, nearly everyone raised their hand. When I asked who had questions on the LCM section from the homework, all the hands went down except for one. I went over that problem on the overhead. Next, I put the class into learning teams of 4 and had them sit in their groups. I explicitly went through the steps for solving an addition problem and then had them work in teams on some example problems. I randomly picked students to come up to the overhead with their team and teach the class the problem. After this, I told them to work together in their teams to answer any other homework problems. After about five minutes, I asked the class if they still had questions. No one did!
At this point, I knew that I had made some good decisions. I walked around the room while they worked with their teams and I heard a ton of math related conversations. They were truly engaged and they were doing a great job of supporting each other. This is what I mean by, "I heard lightbulbs." I heard a ton of, "Oh!" "I get it" "Oh, so that's where I went wrong." "Wait, I can do this." It was awesome. Also, the fact that no one had questions by the end spoke to the productivity that occurred in the groups. True, a few students worked individually and some did ask me questions as I walked around, but in general they worked really well and I was grateful to have chosen this collaborative approach.
Following the group work, I asked the class to tell me the steps for subtraction problems. They were confident in answering my questions, they worked well on the example problem, and then I gave them their homework assignment. The assignment included addition and subtraction problems and I added a few LCM problems to keep them sharp. This time, I was fully confident that the class was in a good place. I was so excited that my lesson plan was a success.
Originally, I intended to include a worksheet activity where rational expressions and geometry are combined. This did not work out as we did not have time. I feel as though this "running out of time" phenomenon is going to be a common theme as my teaching career progresses. However, I showed the substitute my activity, she loved it, and she told me she is going to assign it for homework over the weekend so that I can collect it on Monday and see how the students do. Check it out:
|Students use these dimensions to answer questions |
about the perimeter, area, or circumference of different shapes on the house
|Students receive this worksheet (mine were black and white and they got to color if they wanted)|