I've found a great resource to help me decide on which standards to teach. Mastery Learning has helped me sort those out. They have the common core broken down into 7th grade and 7th grade advanced (for me, Pre Algebra) and 8th grade and 8th grade Algebra. My 8th grade Pre Algebra will use the regular 8th grade standards. This has eased my stress levels considerably.
Of course, now I have to get all those standards organized and get activities and lessons planned for them. I know I can do much of my planning during the year, but I need to have a large part of it done ahead of time. I'll be largely out of commission in July and the beginning of August, so I'm on the clock despite summer having only just begun.
There is one more thing bothering me. The common core standards for 6th, 7th, 7th Advanced and 8th grades all have somewhere around 30 standards. Algebra has 60 or so. I'm concerned about feeling rushed in Algebra. The high schools my students go to don't take 8th grade Algebra as a credit, so many students re-take it anyway, but a few do go on to take Geometry as a freshman, and that worries me.
There's also the standardized testing that we go through each Spring. My school tests the first week of March. That means that everything I cover fourth quarter comes after the test. Very frustrating! Not sure what to do about that. I need to rearrange some of my content, as my students tend to do poorly on the Geometry sections. Geometry is something I cover fourth quarter. So what do I supplant? It's all important, right? What can I teach after the test?
Until next time...