For lots of reasons, I’ve decided that my algebra support classes need a change.

In semester 2, I will get quite a few new students, and some students will move out based on grades (both good and bad).

I usually tend toward ‘No-time-like-the-present’ when making changes to my classes, but since we only have 2 1/2 regular weeks left, and this plan requires a bit of work…I think I’m going to take it slow to maximize success.

This semester, Algebra Support consisted of me and 20ish students, and even though the goal of the class is to help students pass algebra, quiz and test scores were not as good as they could have been. I chalk it up to me spending most of my time trying to get them to do late homework.

In theory, I was supposed to offer students a 10-15 minute recap lesson every day. That didn’t always happen. On days when they had homework, students were loud and cranky and would do their best to ignore whatever I had planned because getting the homework done had taken priority over learning the material. I’ve had a few discussions with the Algebra and other Algebra Support teachers and we agreed that it’s ok to make changes to help our students.

My big change stems from the fact that I’m sick of being the homework monster. I don’t assign homework in my other classes, and I’ve learned that chasing homework is a losing game when quizzes and tests make up a majority of the grade. So since I really want support to make a difference, I’m going to attack the problem from a study skills and quiz/test performance angle.

I want to make this group into awesome quiz/test takers and students who know how to advocate for themselves and use resources.

I found some cool study skills resources from the Larson Algebra within Reach program, and I think I’m going to use their suggestions as the basis for a math study skills boot camp.

I want to give students credit for trying new things, applying new skills and learning what works for them as a math student. We have also been given access to Odysseyware, which I think I will use as a supplement to help me remediate specific skills, rather than trying to tailor one lesson to fit all 20 students.

We’ll see how this goes!