When a young person takes their first higher math course, Algebra I, their brains are developing a different set of skills than arithmetic, and they are faced with abstract concepts. Most students are intellectually ready for this transition in the 8th
or 9th grade. Many students have to be patient, I as it sometimes takes a few months for the "aha" moment when it all clicks. I find that their are many ways to teach algebraic concepts that allow students to grasp the particular skill they are working on.
I use methods such as real-world examples, I foldable study guides, reviewing or introducing basic concepts such as inverses and identities, using colors, using hands-on materials like algebra tiles, and more. I often have students use highlighters or make
their own problems. After 28 years of teaching, I know which misconceptions are made most often, so I also what NOT to do and why. Research has repeatedly shown that success in Algebra II is the best predictor of success in college, so I make sure my students
have a very strong foundation in Algebra I. That usually means a strong foundation of in fractions and bases other than 10. All of my students are well-versed in using their calculators after showing that they understand the concept being studied. My students'average
EOC scores run between 96% and 99%, with most making A's. I use a lot of creative activities as well, such as fabric-painting T-shirts with important to information before the final exam, and having students teach review items at the end of the year, since
teaching a concept is a high level of learning.