When I taught 7th grade math, it was always so frustrating to see students leave my classroom without truly mastering integers and the integer operations. I would use manipulatives, scaffolding, teach and reteach, peer helpers, intervention strategies, real-world examples, etc. You name it, I felt like I had tried it. And, unfortunately, the dreaded pacing guide forced me to move on. It was heartbreaking to watch a student try to solve basic equations when they couldn’t subtract integers.
After a couple of years of feeling desperately helpless, I decided to put my foot down and not let them leave my classroom without mastering the operations. I had to be flexible with my time and the pacing guide and it meant some things were not fully taught. But in my opinion, not fully having fluency with integer operations was a non-negotiable standard. Better yet, a non-negotiable life skill.