Summer – what summer?  Outline for Algebra

Where has the last month and a half of summer gone?  I had all these plans to spend time getting prepared for next school year and here I am with not much done so far.  To give myself a little bit of a break on my lack of work I have had a busy summer.  The summer has seen a new baby (4 months old next week!), teaching summer school, AND working on my M.Ed.  As I look at the calendar though I start to panic a bit as there are only 3 weeks until opening PD week at school and 4 weeks until students are in my classroom!  And out of those I have 1 week of summer school left and 1 week of PD also – leaves me one week “off” the rest of the summer.

I am looping with my students from 7th grade (Pre-Algebra) to 8th grade (Algebra) this coming school year so I have a new class to plan for.  My school is on a 8 periods over 2 days block schedule – though I will see my students daily.  My students have both algebra and algebra support on their schedule and they are blocked together – that is so I have the same kids in each algebra/support block.  The nice thing about looping is that I will know a lot of the students(well maybe 60% of them, I am at a school that has had a high rate of family mobility in the past).  The hard part is teaching new a new set of standards to me in the 8th grade.

The district that I am in splits Algebra into two years for non-accelerated classes.  The first half is during 8th grade and that will take students through systems of linear equations.  They get the second half during their 9th grade year.  The district math teachers in the past have also identified “High Priority” standards out of the MN state standards to focus on.   I spent some time at the end of last year looking at these standards and grouping them into units and came up with  of 8 over all units for the year.  It made more sense to me to do units as learning targets from different standards went better with other standards instead going standard by standard.

Algebra Units Outline for 2014-15

  1. Irrational Numbers (review of rational numbers and also operations with rational numbers)
  2. Expressions (including combining like terms and distributive property)
  3. Equations (through multi-step with 2 variables to get ready for slope)
  4. Linear Functions – what are they?  Using graphs and tables.
  5. Slope (what is it, how to find, etc..)
  6. Algebraic Forms of Linear Functions
  7. Pythagorean (part of MN 8th grade standards)
  8. System of Equations

In addition to the above units I will be working on Number Sense through support units on Fractions and Decimals.  The support units will be units that stand alone between each of the algebra units above.

That is where I am as of today – no individual lessons planned out yet, but that is next!  Now to find more time to get things done.  Any thoughts or feedback of my outline for the year that you might have – it would be great to hear from you!

2 thoughts on “Summer – what summer?  Outline for Algebra

  1. Chris

    I am a fellow Minnesota math teacher. My outline is similar to yours for 8th grade Algebra. I am just wondering where you were going to address the scatter plot standard from Data Analysis and Probability. Are you including it in with linear functions and slope or somewhere else? Just curious. I’m struggling with what unit/units to incorporate it.

    1. J Post author

      That is a great question and I am not really sure yet. The High Priority standards that I am working off for the year do not include (scatter plots), but do include (line of best fit). Though I students need to know scatter plots to do line of best fit – so as a by product I will be doing scatter plots. My current thought process is to put them in with the unit on Linear Functions and before slope. But I think line of best fit and scatter plots can stand alone for the most part so it can be moved around. So in the end the answer is TBD if the school year started today.


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