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Struggling Learners Find Success in First Year Algebra

Marcia Torgrude Posted by Marcia Torgrude in Learning Math on Feb 9, 2014 3:26:25 PM

While attending the South Dakota Math and Science Conference, I had the opportunity to attend a great session focused on our struggling students and how to help them achieve. I am sharing with the hope that you will also find the information valuable and begin thinking about this for your struggling students.


Sharon Rendon, MS/HS Math Coordinator, in Rapid City, South Dakota and Bjorg Remmers-Seymour, math teacher working with at risk students in Rapid City Schools, Rapid City, South Dakota provided the following information:


Struggling Learners Find Success in First Year Algebra

Bjorg is using the following content and strategies with the assistance of Sharon Rendon, math coordinator:


Agile Mind-Intensified Algebra -

  • HS algebra designed for students 2 years behind in math content
  • For students missing the middle school content
  • This is a time to fix the broken pieces from the past
  • Extended time – 70 minute class period – you need to have this amount – no less
  • Every unit has 3 parts – math/mindset/math
  • First 2 weeks are spent setting the culture of the classroom
  • The missing Middle School pieces are embedded within the HS standards
  • Mindset – you can grow your mind – some may call this fluff but it is carefully designed ways to motivate growth
  • Never assume they know things – how to listen, how to say I don’t understand, remove the coping habits they have built

Process for empowering student with a failure mindset to be successful:

  • How your brain works and grows
  • Applying effort consistently
  • Metacognition
  • How learning feels and confusion is a part of learning
  • Motivation
  • Communication in a learning community

Help students see their growth – remember when we did this at the beginning and now look where we are!

Format of the day:

  • Lesson
  • Core activity
  • Your mindset – how learning math feels
  • Confusion – talk about this – normal part of learning



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