Sunday, July 3, 2011

30 days of Summer School

Ah July! The end of classes and the beginning of relaxation.

Unless you foolishly signed up to teach summer school... like me.

I will be teaching Apprenticeship & Workplace (A&W) Math 10. The new British Columbia curriculum has three streams. Foundations is intended for students going on to post-secondary in the arts. Pre-Calculus for students going into science and engineering. And A&W for students going into trades or directly into the workforce.

I taught the A&W10 course this year so I am familiar with the curriculum. I focused on procedural fluency, teaching simple steps that could be applied to most problems. I know full well that my students did not have deep conceptual understanding or strong problem solving skills. This is something I want to change when I teach the course again next September.

But what to do with summer school? On one hand it is a chance to try some new ideas focusing more on concepts and less on methods. The new curriculum is heavy on problem solving expecting students to use concrete (manipulatives) and pictorial representations to grasp concepts before moving on to symbolical representations and formal mathematical tools. Maybe this is my opportunity to create engaging lessons that help students build a deeper understanding of the math.

On the other hand it IS summer. How tempting to re-use what I already have and just plow through the content. After all, I only have 6 weeks (really 29 days) to teach the entire course. That's like a full week of instruction for every day in summer school. Do I really have time to create new stuff? Do I really care enough?

I expect the end result of all this will be somewhere in between. I WILL re-use a lot of what I already have. But I will ALSO create some new activities and try them out. Over the next 6 weeks, I will attempt to blog at least once about the lesson each day. Let's see what happens over 30 days of summer school.


  1. Craig,

    Impressed with the start to your blog. So you know someone's reading it regularly. I'm sure you'll find the in-between. You need to save some energy for the Fall because we've got a lot of work to do in changing things;) Keep going with the blogging and I'm going to try and get in the habit too, so we're both good models for the Science department come September.

  2. @Blair

    Thanks for the kind words Blair. Your thoughts and comments are always welcome. You are one of the best teachers I know. I'm glad to have you across the hall to drag me kicking and screaming into good teaching practice.