Breaking radio silence

In six days I will begin teaching an entire year’s worth of math crammed into four weeks.  I am oscillating wildly between looking forward to the challenge and wondering how in the world to do this such that the kids actually learn this stuff for reals.  This is compounded by the fact that most if not all of these kids will be there specifically because they tried this Math 9 thing once and weren’t successful at it.

Yesterday I wrote up a draft of my SBG concepts for the course. Today I will go hunting for textbooks and course notes from other teachers I know in the area.  I don’t know if I’ll want to use someone else’s notes – I don’t even know if I like premade notes right now. But if I want the option available I’d better find them now.

Before the end of the week I want to have a final exam for the course so I know where I’m headed.  I’ll be doing a common final with the other teacher covering the course at summer school, and I want us to have the same target in mind right from the start.

I want that first day to be something special that sets these kids into an expectation of showing up ready to think and share ideas.  I am formulating a plan; I’ll let you all know if it works when I get there.

In the meantime, if anyone has a favorite WCYDWT or other great opener on any of the following topics, please share the wealth!

  • linear functions (solving, graphing, defining them from a situation)
  • polynomials (ie. what the heck are they)
  • order of operations
  • powers and exponent “laws”
  • square roots (defn’ of, and estimating roots of non-perfect squares)

I may post my whole concept list once it’s in its mostly-final form, but these are the big ones that could use something to break through the “OH geez those are EQUATIONS WHAT DO I DO” panic thinking that my students will probably have a well-established pattern of falling into.


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