1. For many different reasons, I didn't focus on the learning targets as much as I did in unit 1 and I think learning suffered as a result. I had each daily question posted, but wasn't disciplined about having kids add to them as we progressed. It seems like we all lost our focus as a result.
2. While what we used to do with scientific notation was waaaaaaaay too much, I wish we had stuck to the unit as it was, including scientific notation. I believe it would have reinforced the properties of exponents and given students better number sense about big and small numbers.
3. In order to keep up, I did a lot more direct instruction. We skipped many of the tasks because they were centered on scientific notation. Students had trouble remembering properties, would get it for a few days, then have forgotten a few days later. It's possible this would have happened anyway, but I have a gut feeling it was the result of not allowing them to create their own meanings and have time to reflect - and therefore make connections. One student told me during parent teacher conferences that he kept getting the scientific notation answers correct, but he didn't understand how it was working or why he got them right.
I feel like we should re-consider our removal of scientific notation from our viable curriculum, but approach it differently than we have in the past. It seems like it works more as a reinforcement of key concepts in the Georgia units and does not get bogged down in useless details of confusing algorithms as it does in our text book. If we have time at the end of the year, I think it will be an easy argument to include the full unit for next year. Including the full Georgia units will also help with getting back to the use of meaningful learning targets/essential questions.
Overall, I had a lot of positive feedback from parents during conferences about the changes we've made to the Pre-Algebra classes. I had three parents ask if there was any chance this could continue in Algebra.
The journey continues....