Geometry Curriculum 2013-2014July 16, 2013
The Texas Geometry EOC exam is essentially kaput. The new guidelines (which only require Algebra I, English I, English II, US History, and Biology) don’t officially go into place until 2014-2015, but the bill says that any student who is a freshman before 2014-2015 (i.e. all of my students) can graduate under the new plan instead of needing to pass 15 EOC exams.
Because we will be getting new standards in a couple of years, I’m sure someone somewhere will come up with some sort of assessment that I will need to administer, but right now, I’m kind of basking in the idea that I can space out my curriculum over the entire year (and with the kids I will be teaching, they should have all passed the Algebra I EOC, so I don’t have to worry about reviewing for that).
As I wrote in an earlier post, M was going to be the other PAP Geometry teacher with me (she decided she’d rather live closer than 3-1/2 hours from her boyfriend–go figure). Before she got her new job, she and I sat down and worked on a new Geometry curriculum sequence. I liked it so much that I’m probably going to propose it for our regular Geometry sequence as well unless I get some serious pushback from the district.
When M and I started talking how we wanted to sequence things, we both agreed that starting the year off with geometric reasoning (inductive, deductive, conditionals, etc.) was not what we wanted. We ended up with what I think is a really great plan–review/practice solving equations while we introduce the idea of algebraic proofs. These kids should already be comfortable with the mechanics of solving equations, so we planned to start asking them to justify each step. From there, we move to reviewing/deepening their understanding of slope and equations of lines. From there we can move into actual Geometry with points, lines, and planes.
I’m thinking about adding a unit on at the end for PAP for non-Euclidean geometry, just to blow their minds.
Since my master plan for the year is to have the students (a) work harder than I am and (b) learn by problem-solving, I am going to flip the notetaking part of my class as much as possible. Since most of these kids should have some sort of internet connection, I am going to post my notes online (either on my school blog or a LiveBinder, I can’t decide). I will then usually have a short Khan Academy practice assignment on a purely mechanical, low-level skill, and I’m thinking 5-6 3-leaved problems to show mastery.
Once students come back to class, they will have a short quiz over the homework. That will then give us the rest of class to work on problems either extending the topic, tying the topic to previous topics, or totally unrelated because sometimes math just works that way. The unit tests will be written at a deeper level than the quizzes, but not as deep as the problems.
Part of me really just wanted to issue every student a copy of the Exeter Math 2 curriculum and say, “That’s it! Now go do.” Unfortunately, I think I’d spend the rest of the year fighting with parents to keep my head attached to my shoulders. I’ve also been concerned about how to supply the foundational instruction that some of these problems require, and how to supply that in an organized fashion. Maybe after I’ve taught this class for a year the way I’ve laid it out, I can feel more comfortable jettisoning the training wheels.