Uh-oh! I’m Forgetting What They Mess Up!

I love that I am a HS teacher teaching 6th and 7th grade. I am their first stop in Algebra. And, I know what they really need to remember. However, I am afraid that I may forget what they mess up on a regular basis! Some things are obvious – like canceling out individual terms in expressions. But, some are more forgettable.

Tonight on Twitter, druinok posted
how to fix kids from doing 3|x+4| = 3x+12??

Ok, totally forgot about that one!

Yes, I did teach them the distributive property last week using, “THE CLAW!!!” and then two days later taught them absolute value and told them that they could not distribute into the | |. Give it one day, take it from them the next. The question is, are they EVER going to remember that random bit of miscellany until they do it for a few years? Doubtful. So, what do we do as teachers? Make it memorable! How am I going to do that? Well, since we aren’t graphing yet I can’t make them believe that. However, I can tell them that the BARS keep out the CLAW. I am going to tell them this ALOT and we are going to do ALOT of problems. Hopefully it will stick!

So, all of you Algebra teachers out there, if you want to comment to me what drives you CRAZY as you come to it so I won’t forget, I would really appreciate it! Hopefully, I can find a way to permanently imprint the correct way into their heads! : )