Algebra 2 in a small coop
Moderators: Bob Hazen, Theodore, elliemaejune
Algebra 2 in a small coop
I will be teaching an Algebra 2 class in a small coop next fall and would like to hear your best advice on how to structure this class. First, we will be meeting once per week for 1 1/2 hours. I will have 3 10th grade boys who have all had Algebra 1 (different texts) and Geometry (same text). We will be using Saxon Algebra 2. We will meet for a full year (approx. 36 sessions).
Since the book is designed to be covered in 1 year, I plan to assign 4 lessons and a test each week but I'm trying to decide the best use of class time to make this a successful year for both the boys and me!
Should I
1)use the class time for instruction of new material from all 4 chapters (quite impossible to do a VERY good job in that limited time, in my opinion and leaves no time to go over homework problems where the boys got stumped!) OR
2)assign 4 sections that the boys read and work on their own before coming to class and then use the class time to work the problems that stumped them and give quizzes; OR
3) use 1/2 of the time to go over the problems that stumped them (as in #2 above) and 1/2 of the time to give brief intro and highlight of the next week's 4 lessons; OR
4) a completely different plan?
I'm willing to consider any possibilitiesjust want this to be a successful year that is enjoyed by all 4 of us! These boys are all collegebound and bright students so I know I can count on them to do their best but I'd like for it to be enjoyable as well as a completed class!!! Many thanks for all suggestions offered!Blessings, Suzanne
Since the book is designed to be covered in 1 year, I plan to assign 4 lessons and a test each week but I'm trying to decide the best use of class time to make this a successful year for both the boys and me!
Should I
1)use the class time for instruction of new material from all 4 chapters (quite impossible to do a VERY good job in that limited time, in my opinion and leaves no time to go over homework problems where the boys got stumped!) OR
2)assign 4 sections that the boys read and work on their own before coming to class and then use the class time to work the problems that stumped them and give quizzes; OR
3) use 1/2 of the time to go over the problems that stumped them (as in #2 above) and 1/2 of the time to give brief intro and highlight of the next week's 4 lessons; OR
4) a completely different plan?
I'm willing to consider any possibilitiesjust want this to be a successful year that is enjoyed by all 4 of us! These boys are all collegebound and bright students so I know I can count on them to do their best but I'd like for it to be enjoyable as well as a completed class!!! Many thanks for all suggestions offered!Blessings, Suzanne
Re: Algebra 2 in a small coop
You should go through the concepts from all four chapters, but only the concepts your students don't understand. They ought to be able to figure things out most of the time, so chances are you'll only need to cover one or two concepts each class, leaving you plenty of time per concept. Any leftover time can be used to cover individual problems.
What you have to realize is that you could theoretically spend several times the amount of class time on this. All you can do, given limited time, is focus on the items that you, as a teacher, are needed for most. I'm sure you'll do just fine.
What you have to realize is that you could theoretically spend several times the amount of class time on this. All you can do, given limited time, is focus on the items that you, as a teacher, are needed for most. I'm sure you'll do just fine.
Last edited by Theodore on Wed Apr 05, 2006 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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I would try not to assign lessons, at least in the begining... or you might ask each of them design a schedule of their own to complete the book in 36 weeks. They might surprise you.
Let them each go at their own pace and spend individual time with each boy, helping him with any problems he had trouble working out on his own. You may discover that a boy will spend a week on 1 lesson that's harder for him to grasp, then fly through several lessons because the proverbial light bulb came on and it suddenly seems so easy they whiz through it.
They will learn much better if they aren't tightly structured. I work on the principal of "letting the child learn" as opposed to "teaching the child." You might have to remind them that home school is not public school at home.
I also believe that it's better to complete most of the book and learn it well than it is to complete the full book and not have a good understanding of what they did.
Let them each go at their own pace and spend individual time with each boy, helping him with any problems he had trouble working out on his own. You may discover that a boy will spend a week on 1 lesson that's harder for him to grasp, then fly through several lessons because the proverbial light bulb came on and it suddenly seems so easy they whiz through it.
They will learn much better if they aren't tightly structured. I work on the principal of "letting the child learn" as opposed to "teaching the child." You might have to remind them that home school is not public school at home.
I also believe that it's better to complete most of the book and learn it well than it is to complete the full book and not have a good understanding of what they did.
Homeschool Mom
Re: Algebra 2 in a small coop
I don't know about that. While you may want to go through the book ahead of time and pick each week's schedule according to chapter complexity (difficult concepts take more time, and a week introducing a difficult concept should have fewer lessons), the overall schedule should remain the same for everyone. The alternative is not a class, but rather tutoring a number of students simultaneously, which is not an efficient use of time because you may end up explaining the same concept several times when only once is necessary. Less teaching will get done. Also, while some students are highly selfmotivated and can follow their own personal schedule without fail, others are not, and it's likely that these students are the ones who will be taking your class. They will need (and even want) a rigid class schedule to help them keep motivated.
Overall, I guess the question is, are you teaching a class or just running a math help session? The number of students in your class will probably dictate the answer, since you obviously can't provide more than a few minutes of personal help per student if you have 10+ students  unless you can get the students arranged in a hierarchy where you teach the top few students and these teach the rest. Since people retain much more of what they teach than what they see or hear, this can actually be quite a good teaching method.
Overall, I guess the question is, are you teaching a class or just running a math help session? The number of students in your class will probably dictate the answer, since you obviously can't provide more than a few minutes of personal help per student if you have 10+ students  unless you can get the students arranged in a hierarchy where you teach the top few students and these teach the rest. Since people retain much more of what they teach than what they see or hear, this can actually be quite a good teaching method.
Last edited by Theodore on Wed Apr 12, 2006 1:04 am, edited 1 time in total.
We had 1 1/2 hour classes in the tech school I went to last year. My business math teacher set it up as 3 sections.
The first half hour was spent going over the answers to the homework we had already done. We graded our papers ourselves to check for errors we didn't understand and asking questions about any misunderstood work we had done.
The second half hour was spent on describing the next homework assignment.
The last half hour we worked on our papers and asked questions.
The difference was, we had this class twice a week so tests were taken on the second day. We also could go to the instructors office anytime with questions, I don't know if that is something you could do or not.
The schedule worked well for all the students, there were only 14 of us.
I don't know if this will help you or not, but I thought I would let you know about it.
The first half hour was spent going over the answers to the homework we had already done. We graded our papers ourselves to check for errors we didn't understand and asking questions about any misunderstood work we had done.
The second half hour was spent on describing the next homework assignment.
The last half hour we worked on our papers and asked questions.
The difference was, we had this class twice a week so tests were taken on the second day. We also could go to the instructors office anytime with questions, I don't know if that is something you could do or not.
The schedule worked well for all the students, there were only 14 of us.
I don't know if this will help you or not, but I thought I would let you know about it.
Mommy of two

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 Posts: 9
 Joined: Tue Apr 11, 2006 12:26 pm
Re: Algebra 2 in a small coop
Why keep each of the boys on the same lesson? If one of them excels and wants to work on ahead, I say let him go for it. Why hold back 1 or 2 of them waiting for the 3rd one to catch up? Let them each go at his own pace and go as far and as fast as he can comfortably work.Theodore wrote:the overall schedule should remain the same for everyone.
This is how I think of homeschool... individual learning for each child instead of trying to keep everyone on the same page at the same time like public school does. One of the boys may love math and zoom through the book, while another one may dislike math and have to struggle over each lesson.The alternative is not a class, but rather tutoring a number of students simultaneously,
OP stated there will be 3 boys in the class. That allows 30 min. per boy. Maybe my thinking is old fashion, but I think each will learn better if they learn at their own pace instead of being held back waiting for someone who learns slower, or pushed ahead of their understanding to keep up with the others....you obviously can't provide more than a few minutes of personal help per student if you have 10+ students
Homeschool Mom
Re: Algebra 2 in a small coop (my bad)
Oh, must have missed that. If it's just three students, then you're right, that's plenty of time to cover all the concepts with each student individually, and the students don't have to follow the same schedule. For that matter, they don't even need to show up at the same time  you could set up three 30minute sessions and do them in order of arrival
Alg.2 "class"
To add my two cents here: I've done a variation on your option #3 (and I've had as many as 1213 homeschool students at a time), where I break the 90 minute session into 3 parts:
A. I spend about 1020 minutes taking questions from the previous set of lessons that stumped anyone
B. then about 3040 minutes having students go to the board to do problems that I selected that were representative of recent topics, and
C. then the last 3050 doing what I called a "preview" of the next set of lessons.
I've done this for the last 45 years, and the students consistently tell me that Part B is what they like the best  the chance to "do math" rather than just listen to math. It also gives me the opportunity to literally look over their shoulders at their procedures, their approach, their skill levels, their thinking, etc., and it also turns the sessions much more into me being a coach  "David, nice work on using logarithms there"  "Robin, you're using sine  it should be cosine"  etc., etc.
BTW, usually in my previews of the next 45 lessons, I usually only focus on at most 2 lessons where I think they need some hints or tips, telling them that for the other lessons, they should just read the text carefully and let the book be the teacher.
Finally, the way we've set things up for this Alg.2 course, I never give any of the tests, mostly to do with the fact that in Minnesota, we're trying to avoid doing things in such a way that our group can be designated as "a school" by the state. In MN, the law states that the parent must be the main provider/supervisor of a homeschooled education, so for my Alg.2 with Saxon, I structure things so that I'm the tutor (not the teacher), the parents give the tests (not me), etc.
Hope this helps.
Bob Hazen
A. I spend about 1020 minutes taking questions from the previous set of lessons that stumped anyone
B. then about 3040 minutes having students go to the board to do problems that I selected that were representative of recent topics, and
C. then the last 3050 doing what I called a "preview" of the next set of lessons.
I've done this for the last 45 years, and the students consistently tell me that Part B is what they like the best  the chance to "do math" rather than just listen to math. It also gives me the opportunity to literally look over their shoulders at their procedures, their approach, their skill levels, their thinking, etc., and it also turns the sessions much more into me being a coach  "David, nice work on using logarithms there"  "Robin, you're using sine  it should be cosine"  etc., etc.
BTW, usually in my previews of the next 45 lessons, I usually only focus on at most 2 lessons where I think they need some hints or tips, telling them that for the other lessons, they should just read the text carefully and let the book be the teacher.
Finally, the way we've set things up for this Alg.2 course, I never give any of the tests, mostly to do with the fact that in Minnesota, we're trying to avoid doing things in such a way that our group can be designated as "a school" by the state. In MN, the law states that the parent must be the main provider/supervisor of a homeschooled education, so for my Alg.2 with Saxon, I structure things so that I'm the tutor (not the teacher), the parents give the tests (not me), etc.
Hope this helps.
Bob Hazen
A p.s. to item B in my suggestions about doing a homeschool coop with Alg.2:
The students are often shocked when I have them do boardwork in seeing for themselves the difference between on the one hand doing all the textbook problems accurately versus on the other hand having mastered the material enough that they can do it publicly on display for someone else to look at. It takes a few sessions to get used to doing boardwork like this, and many times after I've read a problem to them, I've seen a student stare and stare and stare at the problem, simply coming up blank on what to do on the exact type of problem they've been doing for the past 210 lessons.
It may be the same difference as reciting a poem to yourself in the shower versus reciting the poem out loud in front of others, but whatever the dynamic is, the kids eventually gain a lot more confidence from being able to do problems "publicly" during boardwork time.
FYI.
Bob Hazen[/i]
The students are often shocked when I have them do boardwork in seeing for themselves the difference between on the one hand doing all the textbook problems accurately versus on the other hand having mastered the material enough that they can do it publicly on display for someone else to look at. It takes a few sessions to get used to doing boardwork like this, and many times after I've read a problem to them, I've seen a student stare and stare and stare at the problem, simply coming up blank on what to do on the exact type of problem they've been doing for the past 210 lessons.
It may be the same difference as reciting a poem to yourself in the shower versus reciting the poem out loud in front of others, but whatever the dynamic is, the kids eventually gain a lot more confidence from being able to do problems "publicly" during boardwork time.
FYI.
Bob Hazen[/i]
Thanks for all of the replies! (more)
I appreciate all of your comments, suggestions, and insights! I think I have a workable plan in place now and look forward to a great year! Again, many thanks!Suzanne
Two suggestions
Given the good suggestions you got and that you say you have a workable plan I would make just two small suggestions:
1. Incorporate group work and learning. I have found that students LOVE working in pairs or threes and learning together, and often learn much more in this way than from me. The added benefit is that you can help those who need specific help on a topic. It also strengthens the ability of the student(s) who are providing help to their friends, since as all teachers know, you learn most when you to teach something.
2. Bob Hazen's "board work" is a good suggestion and I always use it but with one caveat  make sure it is a student that is ready; knowledge wise and mental/emotional wise. If a student does not know how to do that exercise s/he would just feel humiliated. And some students are really afraid/shy of public demonstration and that has to be taken into account in order not to push them into their shell even more.
Good Luck!
1. Incorporate group work and learning. I have found that students LOVE working in pairs or threes and learning together, and often learn much more in this way than from me. The added benefit is that you can help those who need specific help on a topic. It also strengthens the ability of the student(s) who are providing help to their friends, since as all teachers know, you learn most when you to teach something.
2. Bob Hazen's "board work" is a good suggestion and I always use it but with one caveat  make sure it is a student that is ready; knowledge wise and mental/emotional wise. If a student does not know how to do that exercise s/he would just feel humiliated. And some students are really afraid/shy of public demonstration and that has to be taken into account in order not to push them into their shell even more.
Good Luck!
Moti Levi
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