Friday... the last day of the week and the most infuriating when trying to teach 4th block. My class of 16 (yes, every teacher's dream size small class) has an interesting dynamic to it. Last year, my first year, I taught 10 out of those 16 students. This has made things interesting as I have tried to be more strict and on top of things in the classroom. In addition to that I have at least one student who may drive me insane before January with his incessant talking and refusal to do anything productive.
This particular student was not here today, leading me to believe that class would run smoothly and efficiently; I would have time to review homework in depth, give a quiz, notes and hand out homework. Ahhh but the best laid plans are always destroyed. 40 minutes later, we were still reviewing homework with students adding in side comments on every question they got wrong! My 11th grade students cannot solve an equation for y!!! I am happy to say that most of them got the concept I was teaching... how to use the information they were given, but they couldn't complete the problems properly. Solving equations is taught in about 7th or 8th grade, done again in 9th grade, and used again in 10th. How am I supposed to move on to things like parabolas with squared variables if my students can't solve 2x-4y=8 for y? This is so very infuriating. Consequently, the quiz took about 30 minutes and I didn't have time to do the notes justice and give the students all the examples they should have seen for their homework.
On my drive home, I have decided to try to tackle this problem. Most of the students in this class refuse to stay after school for additional help. So, I will provide them with notes and they will be given weekly take-home quizzes on solving equations and solving for a variable. In addition, to cut down on the constant chatter amongst the students, I will be increasing their weekly quizzes to daily quizzes. These ideas are still formulating, so I have yet to totally develop them. All I can hope is that this works--that it helps the students be stronger in math and that it helps me in my classroom management.