Phase 4 – Problematizing ImagineIT
Negotiating what I’m required to teach with what I’d like to teach has become my first dilemma: “A teacher . . . believes that a different . . . instructional plan would work better for the students” (Richert 64). In my Algebra 1 class, it has been difficult for me to be intentional about teaching the Real Number Line (RNL). Module 1 in our new curriculum is centered on solving equations, dimensional analysis and proportional reasoning. As we move through the curriculum, there may be occasions to discuss at length different types of numbers (e.g. integers, rational and irrational) in a thought-provoking, deliberate way. I have seen opportunities in my Algebra 2 class for carving out time for this discussion with complex numbers. The dilemma will be how much time to dedicate to the categorization of numbers, but at the very least I can envision a one day talk about the RNL and how it relates to complex numbers. I’ll work to extend a conversation about the RNL if possible and appropriate.
While the school year is only four weeks old, I see grading dilemmas have already arisen. A few Algebra 1 students have asked to retake the first quiz, on which they didn’t do well. I’m reluctant to open the door to “retakes” this early in the year because I feel it sends the message that I don’t have to study very hard; I can just retake the assessment later. On the other hand, allowing students the opportunity to demonstrate growth is central to assessment – and education. This early in the year, I think I’ll replace their quiz grade with their test grade if their test grade is higher. Moving forward, I need to give thought as to when to allow quiz and test retakes or corrections and how this will look.
(The second dilemma is bigger than my ImagineIT project, but I will need to consider this when assessing students on the RNL.)
Richert, A. (2012). What Should I Do? Confronting Dilemmas of Teaching in Urban Schools. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.