We started school last week, and then you may have heard we had some weather issues. A low lying road near my brother's house:

I'm fine, people I know are fine. As you read this the rains will be subsiding and things will start to drain. I've been stuck in the house for days. At first we canceled school Friday, then Friday became Monday and Tuesday, then it moved to we'll try again after Labor Day. If they let us have a work day on Labor Day I'd welcome it. Any reason to have something to do.

Let's talk about what I was able to glean from four days of school, shall we?

Calculus

Seems like a good group of kids. I can definitely feel how big the program has gotten. I have about 90 between AB and BC. When it comes to assessment I'm going to make it up as I go along. I've realized that I just need opportunities to see what kids think. No variation on SBG or whatever has been able to facilitate that well. I'm just going to scrap it and say "alright, here are some problems, let's see what happens." More on that later in the week (I certainly have the time to think about these things). Something motivating this move is that in my transition from athletics I have more time to dedicate to looking at papers. Also:

More time and fewer kids presents a good opportunity to give more feedback.

Given the fast pace of the first semester (and especially now that we've lost at a minimum 5 days), I'm modifying my AP benchmark system. I think early on some more project type work might be more appropriate. They don't really have enough material under their belt to make a judgement call until February.

To the BC crowd I openly admitted I had no idea what I was doing really and that we'll just play around and see. There's only 16 of them, so opportunities abound. Though with the lost time what was already a condensed curriculum will be more constrained.

College Algebra

Nice groups, 30 kids between two classes. There is a lot of variability in their current working knowledge. All of them are fine, but I can tell others would appreciate a challenge. Working towards some differentiation options is going to need to happen quickly. All of them demonstrate an eagerness to work. I'm hoping the small environment they've been given will work to their benefit.

I made a decision to start with linear systems over linear equations and that was a smart move. They would've been bored. Treading the line between challenging and boring is going to the be an issue.

Conclusion

While it was four days, technically I really only had two with all the groups. We have a modified block schedule that kicked in immediately (in previous years we've waited a few weeks to deploy it), so I got the first day, a second day for instruction, and a 90 minute block for instruction. We were oh so close to finishing all the opening procedural stuff (setting up notebooks, assigning computers, schedules getting fixed, etc). When we return it's all going to be a big reset button.

And the other glaring question is what kind of modification is coming to the rest of the school year. We just started, so technically we have bad weather days to cash in. But in situations of great calamity (which would be an understatement if you've been watching the news), the state has granted reprieves for large block of time.

Posted
AuthorJonathan Claydon