The shortest month...

...seems the longest. February.
Will spring ever be here? Will the days ever be longer? Will we ever all be cheerful again? I just get exhausted by this month, and it surprises me every time. Well... so we're on to March. Lions and Lambs. Spring break. Renewal. The final third of the year.

Right now I'm waiting on some huge transitions. I have students ready to run with Algebra- quadratics, multi-step equations, systems, and such. I have other students still unsure how to graph a linear function or what a variable is. In the last third of the year we will split classes and group students according to the skills they still need to be ready for their high school classes.
Up until now, my school does not track students. We do not split up math classes according to ability. The idea is that all students have access to all the math, but we provide scaffolding for students that need it. As mentioned in my last post, I love this system. Students that might struggle with adding fractions still have a chance to learn the Pythagorean theorem.
But in 8th grade, we have to split students eventually. Not all students go to the same high school class. So, each student has a different set of needs. And I'm feeling it. I'm looking forward to taking my group that seems so lost right now and working with them, creatively and carefully to find the key to their math learning success. I'm looking forward to racing through the big scary Algebra book with the other group.

Yup, it's February and things are getting stale. Time to start new with a new term and the joy of spring. I'm ready.


Reaching higher.

Today one of my lowest and slowest and most confused students combined like terms.

On his own.

With the distributive property.

This sums up why I believe so strongly in my school's decision not to groups student by ability or math level groups, but instead to differentiate the material to all students. Every student of mine has a chance to work with variables and and algebraic patterns. Some master it. Others struggle. But they all get to try. And sometimes, for even the lowest, some amazingly difficult topics become accessible.

So I watched my student, with his little white board, puzzle through the distributive property and combine like terms and make equivalent expressions. Will he know it after the weekend? I doubt it. But for a moment, he had it. And if we split up students by level, he never even would have had the chance to try it. He may not master it this year, but he will be all that much closer when it comes around again in Algebra next year.

And now, as I'm finally writing again, I feel why I need to write every day. I'm suddenly flooded with things to write about and topics I've let slide.

So let the blogging begin again. It may not always be poetry, but it's something.