The Algebra STAAR Dilemma

With COVID still going strong, it’s hard to know how to prepare for the Algebra STAAR exam. Teachers are sick, students are sick, campuses are closing or going virtual. How do you deal with all of this? First, don’t put pressure on yourself. You can only do so much. You can plan and teach the students that are there. That’s it. You are an awesome teacher. Never forget that!

It’s 2022 and we are headed into the second semester of school. I’m wrapping up linear functions in a couple of weeks and I feel pretty far behind. My plan is to give myself at least three weeks before the test to review. I still need to cover exponentials and quadratics. How do I get all of this done? I like to get a calendar and put the test dates on it and mark off the three weeks of review. I look at my school calendar and make sure I know when spring break is and when the English I & II STAAR will be.

***You can get a copy of my planning calendar, so you can make it fit your needs. I’ll attach it at the bottom of this post.

Something new that I’m doing this year is focusing on the free response questions. I’ve created activities that will help students build confidence on the types of problems that they will see on the griddables or fill-in-the-blank problems. My students will take the online STAAR, so I’ve got this Boom Card Activity for them: Algebra STAAR Review Free Response Practice

If your students are taking the paper version of the test, here is the same activity in PDF form: Algebra STAAR Griddable Activity for Paper Version

Here is an outline of my plan. Remember to pick and choose what will work with your schedule!

  • End of Jan: Finish Systems
  • February: Exponent Rules, Geometric Sequences and Exponential Functions (some things in this unit you can omit).
  • Feb 28 – March 4: Algebra Task Cards (These are in the STAAR Bundle) as Bell Ringers or Opening Activity. Polynomials – Mainly multiplying binomials and refreshers on combining like terms and distributive property.
  • March 7 – 11: Continue Task Cards and Factoring
  • March 28 – April 8: Start Taking Task Card Timed Quizzes. Start quadratics using my objective 6, 7 and 8 resources from the Algebra I STAAR Bundle.
  • April 11 – 15: Continue with quadratics and do quick reviews of objectives 4 & 12 (combined these two objectives have only been 3 – 5 questions in the past)
  • April 18 – 22: Reviews of objectives 2, 3 and 9 – I’ll use my STAAR Bundle, but I will pick and choose what I want to use from these objectives. (Bell Ringers will be key features of graphs.)
  • April 25 – 29: Objectives 5, 10 and 11 – I’ll use my STAAR Bundle, but I will pick and choose what I want to use from these objectives. Bell Ringers will be Brain Dump Practice.

Here’s my calendar. Make a copy and then make it work for you!

When all is said and done, I’ll reflect and see how it went.

Please don’t stress out Algebra Teachers! Do what you can. Have a plan and work through the plan. Things will be fine. The students will do as well as they can and we will probably be pleasantly surprised at how well most of them will do. Remember that YOU ARE AWESOME!


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Math teacher dedicated to sharing teacher tips, ideas and resources.

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