## Reflection: Unit Planning The Axis of Symmetry and Vertex Form - Section 6: Options for Practice

I teach two inclusion sections of Algebra 1 this year, and I have the privilege of having a great co-teacher named Mike, who pushes-in and pulls students out of those classes.  We were talking this afternoon about what constitutes great planning.  Mike said that his goal every year is to really feel like he knows on the first day of school what is going to happen on the last day, and that he's finally to the point in his career where he feels like he'll meet that ideal for the upcoming school year.

So what does it mean, we wondered together, to have a whole year planned before the first day of school?  Does it mean that we know exactly what's going to happen every day?  Of course not!  It's impossible to know exactly what our students will need on any given day, and in that respect it's easier to plan for the last day than it is to plan all the days in-between.  I know what I want my kids to be able to do on the last day...the question is, how am I going to get them there?

This is my understanding of the premise of backward-design.  There are goals that I hope to achieve, I outline a plan for the steps it's going to take to get there (these steps become units of study), and when I meet my students, I figure out how to help them achieve each benchmark.  As the year progresses, I assess and re-assess how things are going.  I stick to the unit plan, but within each unit - and especially at the middle and end of each unit - each lesson might be different depending on what I see my kids know and can do.

That's what's happening today.  We're all developing a deep understanding of how quadratic functions work, but each individual is at a different point in their progress.  It's impossible to know exactly what will happen in each class until I know what my kids know, but the bigger picture is the same for everyone.

You Plan as Much as You Can, and Then...
Unit Planning: You Plan as Much as You Can, and Then...

# The Axis of Symmetry and Vertex Form

Unit 10: Quadratic Functions
Lesson 12 of 21

## Big Idea: As teachers, it's so important that we pay attention to what our kids can actually do, and make small adjustments accordingly. Today is a day to practice that!

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Standards:
Subject(s):
Math, completing the square, quadratic functions, Quadratic Equations, graphing functions, axis of symmetry, vertex form, Growth Mindset, Algebra 1
38 minutes

### James Dunseith

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