I work in an inner city high school and my freshman aren't doing so hot with algebra. I got chewed out on Wednesday about it by the administration and I'm still a little bitter about it. My clases are inclusion classes and, per usual, the "special needs" students tend to be understanding more than the others (I call them the "not-yet-tested"). This is my first year teaching. We have exams every three weeks and this is an exam week -- you know, intelligently placed right after the Thanksgiving break -- by administration. So our exam is on Wednesday. I have Monday and Tuesday to review. We're talking about absolute value equations and inequalities and ratios/rates/proportions.
I need review activities. I tried a slightly competitive game on Tuesday and got elbowed in the jaw for it. I'm afraid to try competitive games in the classroom again. Side Note: My principle says this is "closed-minded" that I don't think the kids can handle it. Of course, he was the on on the PA Wednesday morning threatening to haul our students off in a paddy wagon for so much as disrespecting an adult. I think that's not really thinking outside the box so much either. The game was a variation of board races. My kids struggle too much with the material, so I said I would let each team send up 2 students (predetermined pairs) to solve each problem, then I'd give them points for whoever got it up their first. The level of competition was too high and my level of classroom management was too low, so that didn't end up working out so well for me.
I like activities that have students leading the class, but so few students actually get the material that most don't want to get up and explain things and the students who don't get it don't want to listen to the students who do. My classroom management is less than stellar so I have trouble when I want students to do things for me.
Any help would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!