Hard to believe that the first midterm is here already (and PT conferences!). Balancing the new carpet commando and my classes is proving challenging, particularly in getting things graded in a timely manner or slurring my speech while presenting a lesson, but the students are rolling with it like champs. Here's where we stand across all fronts:
Algebra II had a a true shock-and-awe first test reviewing material from Algebra 1/2. Results were not good at all, but we learned the value of retests! Half the class retested, having learned to slow down, check answers, use their notes, and read directions, for an average improvement of 16% (two letters!). They just took the next test on systems today and it went much better. Now most of the class is sitting at high C to B range, with a little more confidence and maturity under their belts.
Applied Math, our new intervention class prior to Algebra II, has come miles already. Our select juniors and seniors (who have voiced their collective hatred for all things math) have begun to see confidence in their work, learning to slow down and pick apart problems. I have heard plenty of independently-driven critical thinking questions and problem solving from these kids that are the true mark of success. We even had the opportunity to make and caption our own word problems last week, an activity that most had waaaayyy too much fun with (There was a chop-saw involved somehow).
PreCalc had trouble sloughing off that summer Alzheimer's during our review unit, but found their stride and absolutely wrecked the first test. The true measure will be Tuesday's test on chapter one, a unit all about heavy-duty graph analysis. We've spent nearly three weeks in this unit, so it will be a whopper. All around, students seem to be ready for it. I'm always happy to see the students really step up to the challenge of their first upper/AP-level course.
Game Club has been off to a great start, too. We received a generous grant from the Spearfish Foundation for Public Education and were able to add 52 new games to our stash! We have also partnered with Dice-to-Mice for a new Magic: The Gathering pre-release event and our own lunch tournament (winners shown). Some of the kids even entered an impromptu contest to make their own custom Magic cards. Anyone interested in joining, for a day or the year, can wander down to my room any Thursday after school.