This one goes out to all the algebra teachers; especially those in middle school. Anyone notice that kids "get it" in 7th grade and then act like they have never seen a variable once they hit algebra? Or am I the only one? We had nearly 70% of our 7th graders proficient and above on last year's CST's, but only 40% of our algebra students were proficient. If you take the advanced classes out of the mix, it is more like 60% to 30%. I know, I know, you can't base what a kid knows solely on a standardized test. But, those numbers are pretty indicative of how the kids actually do in class. Some will say that algebra is just too abstract for most 8th grade kids. I don't know if I buy that, especially when I read articles like this.
I am going to have some release time once testing is over in order to adjust our pacing guides and I would like to be able to develop some lesson ideas to help our teachers bridge the gap between number sense and algebraic thinking. Maybe some of you have already tackled this. I would love to hear what you have done. How have you sequenced your 7th grade curriculum and how have you helped move your students from numeric fluency to algebraic proficiency? I figure if I am going to lock myself in a room and try to hash this out, you may as well be there with me!