I’ve been thinking quite a bit about this semester, how it’s gone, how frustrated I’ve been with the learning that has been occurring in my classes, and what to do differently next semester. Honestly, so much of what has been happening is because of attempting to change the geometry course to be transformational, and trying to figure out what that might look like, and working with a group of students in algebra that are just determined not to learn. I hate to say that, because rarely do I believe that is what is happening with students, but honestly, this particular group is really going overboard to convince me of this. They have seen the algebra a minimum of 2 times, and some of them are taking it for their 4th time. I just can’t believe that they don’t know what an exponent is by this time.
Our district is changing to the Integrated Pathway for secondary mathematics next year, a complete change all at once. I was a little startled by this, thinking this might be a difficult thing to do, but it seems that it just may work. One of the gifts of this is that with my algebra students, I get to do the first part of geometry next semester. This could actually be a wonderful change. None of them have seen the geometry, and by working with the transformations, it can be so much more “hands on”. This might be just what they need to change their attitudes about learning, and math in general. I can only hope.
For geometry, I think I am going to have them work on a project, I’m thinking that they should investigate something they think their community needs, and design it. My ideas are learning toward a teen center, or something like that, but I don’t want to tell them what to design, I really want them to come up with something. We will be starting the semester with quadrilaterals, then going on to similarity and circles. I think this could really solidify the similarity, especially because it deals with the rigid motions (transformations) that we have been focusing on this first semester, and utilizing them in a design of something. I just know that something different has to occur, this has been one of the most frustrating semesters of my teaching career, since my first year of teaching. I’ll continue to think this through, I need to figure out assessment and scaffolding of information. Any suggestions or ideas will be gratefully accepted.