My students took their first test today.

In reviewing for the test and then grading the tests today, I have learned:

- They don’t understand that there is a difference between 24 divided by 12 and 12 divided by 24 (both if these are 2, apparently).
- They get so freaked out by the idea of a fraction in the problem that many of them skip the whole problem or just ignore the fraction part. (I’m referring here to a problem that asked them to multiply 1/2 by 8. Asking them to multiply 1/4 by 12 just about caused heads to explode.
- I have absolutely no idea where to start here. As a first-year teacher, I consider it a good day when I can spend 30 seconds thinking about the next day. Forget trying to figure out how to teach the Algebra curriculum and remediate basic math skills at the same time.

Also, this weekend I learned that 2/3 of my students did not pass their Arizona standardized test last year in 8th grade. The test isn’t that great-even students who pass it may not have a fantastic math foundation. It does explain why so many of them aren’t understanding what goes on in class, but again, I have no idea how to deal with this.

How can I teach my students the Algebra they have to know for their semester final in December *and* teach them how to not panic at the very sight of fractions? We’re already behind in our pacing, and it’s only the 4th week of school. I’m probably only going to get further behind, because I can never get through a lesson in the time I think it should take.

How am I supposed to find time to even think about this when I have to write lesson plans and PowerPoints and quizzes and tests from scratch?

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Kathryn FreedI just tweeted you because I didn’t know you blogged, but this will give me more room to say my piece.

Fractions are difficult. Really difficult. I don’t know that I’ve ever taught (always been hs) to a group of students where the majority knew everything they should have about fractions. However it has mostly been recommended to me to not try to fully remediate it at once. Usually I let students use calculators, and at the Algebra level I try to emphasize fraction is division and how to tell if a fraction is equivalent to 1 because I feel these are most important for understanding slope, a critical Algebra concept.

Don’t feel like you have to remediate everything they didn’t learn in their previous 8 grades…unless you have specific intervention time, you truly were not given time for it. Also I’ve only been in school for 2 weeks and I’m already behind my pacing guide. So is the Alg 2 T at my school. Welcome to teaching. Don’t give up yet. And if you need more tweet me @kathrynfreed