a huge success! this time i wrote up my own scaffolded worksheet. day 2 was awesome. the kids practiced at the board, then practiced on the worksheet. they were competing to get right answers and helping each other out. and those that were done quickly tried to tackle the next group of problems on the page. only 2 kids in the whole school were able to figure out the advanced problems before we got to them as a class, but most of them were on the right track.
by day 3, the advanced problems threw my most advanced class off. so i will have to readdress them tomorrow, but they will have officially finished a unit in 4 days. i realized with 5 minutes to go that my teaching was way too complicated. i was being too conceptual and nearly all of them lost me. but i did figure out how to take it down a notch and i'm sure they'll get it tomorrow.
i am finishing the unit with all of the classes tomorrow. this has been my fastest unit ever. we beat algebra equations to death for a month and it paid off big time. absolute value inequalities and equations have been a breeze. next week we will do one day of review for the test, have a test day, and then have two review days for the final (more worksheets, but in groups where they can pick their topics.)
this week started off terribly, but since tuesday, it has been the best week of my teaching career to date. my classroom management has been much more effective. i put the students in rows and haven't even allowed pair work. i know that student collaboration is important, but i felt my classes were out of control for the past 2 months. they need to relearn how to behave properly before we move on. i have been a lot more authoritative, too. i have revoked board privelages from 3 students this week. i realized i was putting up with way too much. now if a student does something stupid at the board, they're out for 2 days-1week, depending on the offense. i still allow them to share from their seats to keep them involved, but no more board till monday.
also, today i stopped the entire lesson because 3 students walked in late and started rearranging my desks. i made an example of them, and no one else thought to move a desk for the entire period. i have stopped putting up with their bullshit, and it's so much better! and that's part of the reason we raced through the unit. i have had to spend far less time trying to get the class to quiet down.
tomorrow might be challenging because it's the last day of the week, we're all sick and tired of school, and i have the largest class load. but i'm very happy with what's been going on. the groupwork will resume with the finals review. and then we'll start off next semester back in rows with worksheets until i know they can behave appropriately. (which i hope is soon because i have some great groupwork ideas that i want to implement for the next unit.)