Last year Calculus featured a lot of guessing. And despite my haphazard first time through the material, there is a tiny heartbeat. How exactly are we going to get some real results? Basically, redo everything.


First, I thought about what went well during AP review. I outlined 7 broad units: Prep, Position/Velocity/Acceleration (curve sketching), Particle Motion, Rate Models, Data Tables, Volume, and Differential Equations.

Prior to TMC I took a list of AB standards (sent to me by Elizabeth Warner) and hacked them up to fit broadly into my units.

Then I spitballed with Lisa Henry and Dan Anderson at TMC on Thursday night. Lisa helped me realize a way to better integrate AP material into the curriculum. Dan helped me with homework issues. Then we spitballed some more on Saturday afternoon in a larger group as a flex session.

Now I really had to hammer out some details. I nitpicked the standards again and wrote a curriculum.

It starts out pretty ambitious, so I expect some thing to slip. But I'm ahead of the game at the start of the year and I don't plan on regular testing during the second semester.

Speaking of...


The idea I had last year was great, but we're moving on. Short and sweet weekly-ish skill checks based on the A/B/Not Yet system from Sarah Hagan. This will have two parts. Students will take the skill check for 30 minutes and I'll collect them and rate them. When returned, I'll have them look at posted solutions and they have to comment on their work. I'll probably file the act of commenting away as a daily grade or something. Probably no tracking chart at the front this time around. Not sure if I'll add my own comments. As discussed frequently, if you score something, all kids care about is the score. Might be something they'll have to ask for after school? Hmm.

How about conceptual? I'll mix it in there somewhere. Same A/B/Not Yet, but I'll just title it Concept Check.

Primarily that will get handled with AP material. We're doing a lot more of that (exclusively during second semester). After pouring over the standards, I hacked away at practice exams and figured out roughly when I teach the topic associated with a question.

Multiple choice stuff was the disaster last year, more exposure (and more vocabulary focus from the start) can't make it any worse. I'll group these into appropriate sets and hand them out near the end of each grading period.

Last year I exposed them to free response material, but missed an important part. I'd give them a question, they'd try to figure out what was going on, and I'd go over the solution. They'd nod. Then we never touched it again. No chance to demonstrate any learning from the feedback. Now when we tackle free response stuff, we'll do several rounds. And I scanned free response questions from 2009 to 2015 and figured out the Ultimateā„¢ version of a topic. So rather than cherry pick released stuff and hope for the best, I'll write some really long questions that cover the seven things you can ask about volume, for example. Revisiting old topics will be a feature of Throwback Thursday I'm sure.

Questions for Later

What if we have a skill check and a big chunk of them are Not Yet?

Can I really avoid skill checks the entire second semester?

Will I be able to keep up the pace I've set?

How aggressive will they be about retakes? Should I limit attempts? Only Not Yet redos allowed?

It's the Community, Stupid

If you're skeptical about the whole math teachers on the internet thing, let me offer this as an example. All of this is influenced on collaboration with and the work of nine people, from every part of the country.

AuthorJonathan Claydon