Wednesday, March 25, 2009

On Success, Part 2: New Games & Projects

This is part of a two-week series on my five biggest successes and failures as a teacher this year. This week is focused solely on success.

I'll be the first to admit that I abandoned many successful elements of my past classrooms this year. I also didn't have much experience teaching Algebra II beyond a stint at an alternative school, so I didn't have the wealth of resources as I did for Algebra I. Yet despite these setbacks, I've created a number of new lesson ideas, games and projects this year in both courses.

Algebra I
I'm a near-perfectionist. That is, I am rarely satisfied with my ideas and tweak them every year, no matter how successful they might have been before. Of course, I still go forward and use my unfinished strategies to teach out of necessity. I'm happy that not only did I improve many good lessons, I created new ones to cover a wide range of topics:
  1. New Version of "Students Become The Teacher", 9/27/08 (Idea #8 in my book Ten Cheap Lessons)
  2. How to Improve the Combining Like Terms Game, 9/27/08
  3. 2008 version of the Math in the Real World project, 10/9/08 (Idea #4 from TCL)
  4. Basic Geometry Formula Book project, 10/26/08
  5. Coordinate Plane Battleship Game: 2008 edition, 11/21/08
  6. Linear Functions Mini-Poster project, 12/14/08 (Remix of Idea #1 from TCL)
  7. Linear Equations Formula Book project, 1/12/09
  8. Multiplying Polynomials and FOIL review games, 3/4/09
Algebra II
I had a much harder time coming up with ideas for Algebra II, as I have not deconstructed and planned out the clearest explanations for the much more complex concepts I have to teach. I'm starting to feel comfortable in breaking things down now, and building interesting projects and games around the topics.
  1. See #1 & #3 above.
  2. Transformations of Exponential and Logarithmic Functions project, 1/27/09
  3. Transforming Logarithmic Functions Bingo, 2/8/09
  4. Straightforward Example Posters, 3/10/09
There's still much more to come in both subjects, as I feel my creative juices are flowing quite well these days. I get so much satisfaction when I hear from readers that they used my idea in class or that it inspired them to create something.

In a Sentence
Keep improving your teaching, no matter how long you've been doing it.