Back in the classroom with blanchetBlog

School has been back in session for only a month, and I already feel like I have a million things going on in my classroom!  I am only teaching two classes in the fall semester- GEE Prep Math, a remediation course for students who struggle with math and need to pass the state test to graduate, and AP Calculus.  I have been doing lots of hands-on activities with my GEE class using some great manipulatives I bought from EAI while at NCTM in San Diego last year. We started the year with every math student’s kryptonite–fractions. My motto is “fractions are our friends”, but I have yet to get many students to agree. Nevertheless, we used fraction pattern tiles to explore the meaning of fractions, and I think having the concrete examples really helped.  In the photo above, you see students working with algebra tiles to express polynomial expressions. Although I sprung for the “quietshape” foam tiles from EAI, you can print your own and have the students cut them out. Check this link out for your own algebra tiles, and here is a place where you can get some activity ideas.

In my calculus class,we began with a review of Advanced Math and a project I have done before in Calculus—Function Family Trees. This year, since I have the model technology classroom, I had the students make a Glog (online poster) for their function families. Here is an example of their work:

Go to Glogster EDU to set up your own classes with this awesome tool!  I can already see that this is going to be a super-busy year for me and my students.  I love having the opportunity to teach AP Calculus again.  It was great experience when I taught it the year before last.   I now get the chance to revisit my tried and true strategies and refresh things with some new activities and projects.  My GEE Prep class is a chance for me to really learn how to use data to move students forward.  I have been crunching a lot of numbers trying to figure out what my kids’ strengths and weaknesses are.  I have also been asked to do some additional small group tutoring with these students.  I plan on using my data to provide targeted assistance in each student’s weakest areas.  I will also track practice test scores to see if my efforts are working.  My goal is to have a 100% passing rate for my students after they take my test prep course.  Wish me luck!  I wish you luck in the coming months, as well. Stay tuned for more!