"I never learned that. Nope. Nevahhhhh. Haven't seen it."
Geez, those 8th grade teachers don't do anything anymore.
After marching down the hall and preparing to confront last year's teacher for completely cutting out Pythagoras and his super-useful theorem, you realize that she did teach it, and spent two weeks on it. Damn.
Look, this happens for a lot of things in math class. Part of the blame is on the kids for not remembering; part of the blame is on the teachers for not creating an experience worth remembering; a bigger part of the blame, though, is that we don't spiral nearly enough. I mean, how can we? With all the standards to teach, things to cover, tests to administer...
It came to us that we can help by building a natural progression series. Take this handout:
In Integrated Math I, the students would be handed this sheet of paper. As a group, or in teams, they would complete the function table. This would help them practice completing the table, apply the Order of Operations, and it would also allow them to see what will be coming up next in their academic career. Because, after they are done and the class has gone over correct answers, the teacher collects the handouts and sets them aside.
At the end of the year, the Integrated Math I teacher hands over a giant stack of student papers to the Integrated Math II teacher. When they get to their unit on graphing quadratics, the teacher hands out the document that students completed section 1 for from last year. This way, they will be reminded through student work that they completed function tables last year. Even if it isn't their own writing on the page, our hope is that it will trigger a memory. The students work as a group or in teams to complete the bottom section of the handout, then go over the correct answers before having the teacher collect all handouts and set them aside, handing them off to the Integrated Math III teacher for the following year.
On the other side of the handout is this:
Students would work through the examples at the top of the page as a group or in small teams, then work on the bottom piece of the second half as a way of tying it all together.
This is the first example that we have come up with, and we want to make more. Ideally, we have one for each unit and students get accustomed to creating something that they know will serve as a bridge to something else, either forward, backward, or both. Also ideally, the students would have a place in their folder or notebook to keep all of these, then use them from year to year so that the teacher doesn't need to hold on to work for extended periods of time.
If that doesn't sit well, you could also take your favorite 35 (or however many students you have) and make copies of them for the following year. Either way, the goal is for students to see that they have seen this stuff before and get them to the content quicker than we currently do.
So now, my question to you: How do you see this being used in your grade level, if at all? How can I make this better?
Happy "Progress" Fishing