AIS

What Have I Gotten Myself Into?

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I have posted previously that I am teaching 1 section of Calculus and 8 heterogeneous sections (4 each day) of Math AIS.  I am personally hitting the wall in Math AIS.  Here are my thoughts:

  • I like the students.
  • I like that I can pick and choose what I do (or don’t do) in the class.
  • I like that I don’t have to “grade” the students.
  • I dislike that there isn’t a grade or any extrinsic motivation for them to do ANYTHING in Math AIS.
  • I dislike that because I am creative and unwilling to bow down to drill and kill that Math AIS is eating up all of my plan time for Calculus.
  • I dislike that the classes are VERY heterogeneous and that I don’t feel I am doing any population well. (On paper, I have mostly Algebra 1 and Fundamentals of Algebra.  In reality I have students from 2 different Algebra 1 teachers and 3 different Fundamentals of Algebra teachers.  So they are all at different places in the curriculum.  Then I also have 5 Geometry and 2 Algebra 2 students thrown in the mix.  Sink or swim, suckahs!!)
  • I dislike that I have nothing to “follow”…no curriculum, no end goals….just go in and teach your angle-sinde-angle off…
  • I dislike that I don’t have anyone to collaborate with in my building…to bounce ideas off of…to build this course.
  • I like the idea of flipping the classroom a bit….
  • I dislike knowing that I don’t even have any real idea of how to start to do that or what it would like…
  • I like to see students “doing” math.
  • I like to seeing students doing relevant math and making connections.
  • I like to see students “get it”.

So….there are my thoughts as they stand right now.  I had a long talk with my content specialist over lunch today and discussed these thoughts.  He listened, but he doesn’t really have an answer. (Not that I really expected one.)  Is there anyone else out there who is teaching Math AIS? Particularly with mixed classes?  If you do, or know someone who does, could you pass this post on to them?  Thanks!

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Feelings Check

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I started this post two weeks ago and just had time to finish it:

In less that two weeks I will be starting an entirely new and unique teaching course Ioad. I have been reluctant to share this because I have been coming to grips with how I really feel about it.

I have taught Algebra 2 for my entire 11 year teaching career. I feel like it is my baby. I really enjoy the curriculum. My students have not always done as well as I have wanted them to, but I tried to remedy this by imploring new strategies frequently. Therefore, when I got my teaching assignment I was surprised. I would be teaching Calculus (which I have taught for the past 6 years) and four sections of Math AIS.

In the past, no one has had more than one or two AIS classes, so to have 4 was a shock! Also, these classes are not homogeneous so I could have students from Fundamentals of Algebra all the way through Algebra 2 in the same AIS class. I met with my department chair and the principal and they outlined how they want AIS to take a new direction. They do not want it to be just homework help or test prep. They foresee me doing mini-lessons with small groups while others are working on applications on their own. We have bought in to Study Island so I do have that tool. They want me to set up a “math lab” where students want to come to help better understand the concepts that are being presented in class. In some ways this is an exciting new opportunity that could really allow me to group. In many other ways, however, it is a scary new endeavour….especially being the first year of the new APPR process.

Does anyone have experience setting up a lab like this? Experience teaching hetergeneous AIS classes? Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!