For this next year, I will be teaching two new preps and now that it is July, I guess I should start thinking about them!
Prep 1 - Intermediate Algebra
Over the past few years, my district has noticed more students struggling with Algebra 2 for various reasons. Our first intervention plan involved enrolling the students in an Algebra Lab class, which meant that weaker students were enrolled in 2 hours of math a day. This was good for some students, but with only 6 hours in a day, increased graduation requirements, and some really awesome elective options, many students that needed Algebra Lab were not enrolled in it.
To combat this issue, particularly as we transition to CCSS and increased rigor in the standards, our Math Curriculum Specialist pushed for an Intermediate Algebra class to replace the Algebra Lab program. The course is designed for sophomores and juniors who have completed Algebra 1 and Geometry, but are not ready for the rigors of Algebra 2 quite yet. The students are expected to enroll in Algebra 2 the following year.
We will be using the "Bridge to Algebra 2" textbook below:
Honestly, I'm really excited about teaching this course. The text we have chosen is very hands on and seems to be project/problem based. I have the freedom to build the course and there is no end-of-course standardized exam. (YAY!) I would like for the class to really help the students make connections, have fun with math, and really apply what they learn.
However, I'm also a tad nervous! I've never taught in a problem based setting. How will I adapt SBG to this course? How will I structure the class? I've searched for other schools doing something similar and have come up mostly empty. I'll be working with students that don't really like math, which is okay, those are the kids I love. But that can be another difficult hill to climb alone. :(
If you know of anyone teaching a similar course or using this text, PLEASE let me know, either in the comments or send me a tweet (@druinok). If you are just interested in helping me figure out it, that would be awesome too! :)
Prep 2 - Forensic Science and Data Analysis
You know that moment when you realize that you are piloting not one, but TWO brand new courses that no one has ever taught and then you think to yourself.. "Self - YOU ARE INSANE!!!" Yeah, that's where I am right now :)
My building was built to foster math/science collaboration, which means we alternate Math/Science in an effort to open lines of communication, etc. When they assigned us rooms, they tried to pair up people based on curriculum in order to help this collaboration. Of course, as a Statistics teacher, I had the luxury of being able to collaborate with just about anyone, but I already had established partnerships with the AP Environmental Science teacher and the AP Biology teacher, so I was placed near them in order to continue the collaboration.
So earlier this year, the APES teacher, who also pioneered our Biotechnology program, and I were talking about how cool it would be to team teach a class someday. She mentioned that often in their science classes, they gather some really cool data, but often times just tell the kids to "look! how cool!" and move on to the next unit. From that discussion, we brainstormed a Forensic Science and Data Analysis course. We presented it to our curriculum specialists, then to our principals, who helped it get approved by our district. It will be a one semester course, with a pre-req of Biotechnology and Algebra 2. The two of us will team teach it during the same hour with about 50 kids total. Thankfully, we have classrooms that open up to each other via a huge doorway in our shared wall, so that the management of 50 kids won't be too difficult (I hope!).
I should probably admit here that science is NOT my strong point and I'm terrified of teaching science, but I think the class will be awesome! Thankfully my district is sending me to a forensic science workshop next week, so hopefully some of my fears will be alleviated! :)
If you know of ANYONE that teaches courses like these, please send them my way! I need some major help getting things together before school starts! :)