Today I decided to give students the first half of the class to work on practice problems from the workbook. I let my morning class work however they wanted (in groups of their choosing or individually). A number of students weren't engaged, perhaps due to inability to do the questions. So for my afternoon class I put them in random groups. That worked much better.
Having students work on these practice problems was very eye-opening. There was lots of difficulty (especially with students that were working on their own). On the one hand it was depressing, but on the other it shows just how well the groups worked in previous classes.
I wish I had taught this demographic student before...I have no idea if what I'm seeing reflects this demographic, or significant flaws in my teaching approach. Based on a conversation I had with a colleague yesterday, I'm leaning towards the demographic explanation.
So right now the issue I'm struggling with is practice. How do I implement that? Do I give them class time to do it? Do I assign it as homework? Will students of this demographic do homework?
For the second half of the class I gave notes on determining the equation of a line from two points. I can't believe I used to give notes in previous years of teaching--what a waste of time! In the future, I'll come up with a group activity that will lead them to a method for determining the equation, without so much direct instruction.
For the next two days I'm planning to have students do a variation of my Function Art project to give them practice with determining equations of lines.