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Make Math Moments Academy Forums Community Discussion Water Cooler Reaching all of my students

  • Reaching all of my students

    Posted by Sage Hughes on February 2, 2020 at 2:51 am

    I am a bit stuck right now in making sure I am meeting all of my students math needs. I would love examples of how other teachers do this. How do they set up their math classes?

    I use exit tickets daily so I have a pretty good understanding of where each student is in their learning. I would love to see some clear examples of how other teachers target individual instruction and what the flow of the class looks like. 

    George Garza replied 3 years ago 2 Members · 3 Replies
  • 3 Replies
  • George Garza

    February 2, 2020 at 1:27 pm

    I’ve seen two ideas that allow for a teacher to really help a kid where they are at.  They both have a requirement that you as a teacher know the entire learning progression for the standard and can place the kid in the right group.  They are both require intensive planning too.  

    The first thing you should do is unpack the standards, and figure out what the prerequisite skills are.  At my school we take this information and turn it into a series of I can statements, sequenced into the order they need to learn and be able to do them.  This learning progression is kept out where kids can see it, and they are given a few procedures that they can use to assess themselves on it.  As the teacher I know where they are, but this tool also allows kids to see where they are, where they need to be, and where they’ve been.  

    Once I know what a specific kid needs to learn, I group the kid with other kids that have similar needs.  This means I can have 3-5 groups in my class. With between 3-10 kids in each group.  So the best method I know is a form of station rotation. 

    Basically each a station is created for each group.  At one station they may be taking notes from a video.  At another they may be working on IXL.  At still another they may be working as a group to get through a word problem or making a model, this is where I tend to use PrBL  Finally, one station is working with me.  The class spends a given amount of time at each station, say 20 min., and then rotates to a new station.  While kids are working with me, I’m giving direct instruction and assessing learning.  This model works well, but requires a lot of planning.

    There’s a similar model I’m leaning towards right now that has the teacher moving between groups.  In this model groups are set up by where a kid is at, like before, but instructions are left on the table for the group to carry out for their learning.  It can be a really indepth Prbl problem, or a sequence of activities.  In this model the teacher has an appointment with each group, and at the designated time meets with the group and provides direct instruction.  During this time the teacher also assesses, and moves kids up to the next step of the learning progression if they demonstrate proficiency. Kids that don’t move up keep learning at the station they are with and have the opportunity to test out of the station other ways.  Kids that finish the unit ahead of others are put into groups to explore the content more deeply.  This requires significant planning up, as you need to prepare a station for each step of the learning progression, but afterwards is easy because you are just seeing what stations you need for a given day, and pulling the materials required for that.  

    Hope this helps, if you’ve got questions feel free to ask.

  • Sage Hughes

    February 11, 2020 at 12:22 am

    Hi George,

    Your email helps a lot. We’ve unpacked the math standards for our units and sequenced them. So that much is done. It’s the navigation of setting up student groups that I am still working on. I have used ‘stations’ or ‘rotations’ but I don’t like the hurried feeling of it. I do love that I was able to see each kid each day and really know where they are in their learning and where they need to go.

    What grade level do you teach? I teach 3rd so I have a lot of planning to do for other subjects as well. I’ve tossed around the ideas of some kind of weekly rotation or rotating every few days.

    I’ll keep working on it. Thanks for your advice and sharing what works for you!

    • George Garza

      February 22, 2020 at 4:48 pm

      Hi Sara,

      I teach Freshman math, so have the benefit that I only need to plan one subject, but the person that taught me this strategy taught kinder and 1st for 20 years. From each of the unpacked standards, we have pre-assessments written, that allows me to group kids at the skills they need to work at. I give the kids the learning progression and everyday ask them to assess what know, what they are working on, and what skills they will need to pass the standard. I’ve got a group of activities and videos prepared for each skill, and give this to the kids via the equivalent of google classroom. Then I just pull each skill group aside for 15-20 minutes (we have 90 min. blocks) and give direct instruction and assess. I also have an online test they can take to assess themselves to move on to a different skill.

      I am a first year teacher, and at the moment I’m just trying to build systems and get myself organized. I’ll admit that what I’ve got right now isn’t as cognitively demanding as I want it to be, but I’m able to work with my kids where they are at, and I’ve been able to keep them moving, with many learners telling me that they are starting to enjoy math. I feel like one of the few things I’m doing well right now is helping kids where they are at.

      It’s a ton of planning up-front, but it’s WAY easier moving forward, as I’m able to just plan 1 or two new skills a week as the kids move forward. Good luck figuring this all out.