Find answers, ask questions, and connect with our
community around the world.

Make Math Moments Academy Forums Mini-Course Reflections Spiralling Math Class Lesson 4 – 8: How Can I Help Struggling Students? – Discussion

  • Lesson 4 – 8: How Can I Help Struggling Students? – Discussion

    Posted by Kyle Pearce on December 9, 2019 at 6:39 am

    What was your big take away from this particular lesson?

    What is something you are still wondering?

    Share your thinking below.

    Kristen Mesaros replied 7 months ago 10 Members · 12 Replies
  • 12 Replies
  • Katrien Vance

    December 10, 2019 at 5:45 am

    OK, so I’m having the realization that what I want to do this year is not actually spiraling, although it has qualities of spiraling. I still want to group activities together under a theme, but 1) the group of activities is going to hit many different kinds of math (or strands), and 2) the strand is not finished just because the group of activities wraps up. But when I hear you guys talk about just doing task after task with no real plan (at the beginning of your trying this), that gives me the willies! I am too much of a planner. I need my groups of tasks to have some kind of unifying theme. Maybe this is my baby step on the way to spiraling.

    I LOVE the admission that your “scattershot” approach seemed to make no (negative) difference to your students–that rings so true. I have brilliant days, and I have “phone it in” days, and I look around and realize, the students can’t really tell the difference. Is that a good thing or a bad thing?? It’s certainly a humbling thing!

  • Barb Fleming

    April 14, 2020 at 7:57 pm

    I think what I will need to do for the students who struggle is make sure I’m getting to them in small guided groups and do alot of observation and reflection myself to see where to take the learning further, whether in the next task or in a future spiral.

  • Scott Cortez

    May 13, 2020 at 11:50 am

    My biggest take away is reflecting on students learning. I will ask myself “What are students actually struggling with?” Then going back the next day to help students. There have been too many times where I just move on because I feel I have to cover the material and not get a true understanding of the concept.

    I am wondering how I will plan that in my day. I need to re-read the 5 practices and Guided Math to help me get questions from students and how to set up groups for purposeful meets. I know next school year students will be lacking understanding because of the school suspensions.

  • Addie Otto

    May 13, 2020 at 4:41 pm

    I’m really pondering how to pivot in an asynchronous, self-paced environment. I need to have my course set when we open for the year. Answering my own question…if I have a standards gradebook, not an assignment based one, it won’t be a problem if I make changes.

    • Kyle Pearce

      May 14, 2020 at 9:54 am

      I definitely believe that making choices re: proceeding/pivoting during emergency remote learning is a huge challenge.
      I wonder if you could have a “check in” task for students to share back to you via video / images for you to get a sense of where they are like a ticket out the door?

  • Lisa Hudson

    June 20, 2020 at 10:50 pm

    When my students struggle I need to determine where the struggle is. I think the plan of making a “pivot” the next day by using small groups is a great idea. Hopefully, the use of exit tickets will be helpful in reflecting on the problems that may be causing the issues.

    • Kyle Pearce

      June 22, 2020 at 9:19 pm

      Keep us posted on how this goes!

  • Andy Neels

    October 21, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    This makes a lot of sense, pin pointing the actual problem in students understanding is so necessary. It may be some concept from years ago they still struggle with. I’m not sure that spiralling gives more flexibility then “standard” unit teaching does though, especially as it concerns students not getting a concept. Teaching by unit just means you spend an extra block/day/week with a concept until you get everyone on board. Pivoting would mean messing up my schedule I spent so much time on …

    • Jon

      October 25, 2020 at 8:47 am

      Hey @andy-neels , You’re right that Spiralling isn’t any more flexible if you’re budgeting the same amount of days for each lesson and just switching the order you teach those lessons in.

      Where the flexibility comes in is when you combine more than one learning goal into an activity. That way you can bring out more than one idea on a day.

      On subsequent days you can follow up with practice if needed.

  • Sarah Grosenbach

    March 5, 2021 at 1:37 pm

    What about kids who struggle because of absences? The power of the tasks comes from the initial struggle, discourse, and reflection. How do you support the kids that miss out on that with the group? Is there any way to give them a similar experience when they are on their own?

    • Kyle Pearce

      March 6, 2021 at 6:25 am

      This is definitely a challenge and there is no way to completely avoid the negative result of missing school especially on the regular. One thing that IS helpful is that you can quickly bring them up to speed on the context upon their return – sharing an image, telling the story or showing a video – but the challenge lies in the fact that the learning experience has been lost. For example, a 60 minute productive struggle was missed and I’m guessing that they haven’t and likely won’t “make up” that time at home even if they wanted to. They won’t have the purposeful questioning of the teacher there to prompt and guide.

      So, while you can share the context online with them to attempt on their own, it may be problematic especially if the absences are less about health and more about an overall lack of value placed on education in that household.

      I wonder if finding a time to work with students more individually once their back could be a good approach?

  • Kristen Mesaros

    June 28, 2022 at 6:45 am

    I am such a big planner that I feel like I would need my big picture and stick with it.