3rd-7th Grade level math in one class

Discussion in 'Middle School / Junior High' started by Mer, Apr 15, 2017.

  1. Mer

    Mer Rookie

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    I teach 7th graders at an urban district. The problem is that my students come to me with a wide range of needs. I usually have students that range from 3rd grade level to 7th grade level. I am thinking of trying to separate my class into 2-3 groups and teach them separately. I am having trouble figuring out how to do this with the behavior problems that also occur at my school. Does anyone have any ideas? I should also mention our school is 1-1 with chromebooks.
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  4. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Apr 16, 2017

    You might keep a mindset of the fact that without massive differentiation, the behavior problems might actually be worse, because they'll feel frustrated or bored (depending on the end of the spectrum).

    Take a look at Khan Academy: it's 100% free, and could provide that differentiation you're looking for, along with videos to reteach students as needed while you're working with a different group. Being 1-1, you could be doing a mini-lesson with some quick guided practice while others are practicing at their level or watching videos on the next topic up (whether previewing what you'll do, or reviewing something). Then swap to the next group, etc...
     
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  5. Mer

    Mer Rookie

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    Thanks! I will.
     
  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  7. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I don't see this at all. I see a shift in thinking, Boaler as an example, who thinks teaching memorizing math facts is unnecessary. That students should be using strategies to get to math facts versus memorization to automaticity. I don't see teachers skipping teaching/memorizing math fact in exchange for more complex thinking, I see them skipping teaching memorizing math facts because they believe it is ineffective.
     
  8. Mer

    Mer Rookie

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    I know. I am so worried about how to make it work. I need to really have my classroom management down. My lower group will need lots of attention. I am working on finding resources. I want to have videos, interactive apps, and possibly an interactive digital notebook.
     
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  9. Mer

    Mer Rookie

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    You are right. Things keep getting pushed down and kids get passed on without mastering the basics. I want to help my lower students be successful. They are not going to pass the state test anyway. But maybe I can help them get closer to being on grade level. It makes me so sad that I am sending students to the eighth grade next year and they still do not know how to divide or understand how to use decimals. I still have to teach 7th grade standards but maybe I can trim them down enough so that I can also remediate.
     
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  10. Mer

    Mer Rookie

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    It is necessary though. We stopped memorizing facts and now we are paying the price. Our students can not even do simple calculations. My heart breaks for them. Teaching the why is important but so is repetition. Why can't we do both?
     
  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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  12. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

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    I agree and you should be doing both.
     
  13. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Finding the balance is truly the key. I have some kiddos who have memorization of many things, but struggle then when it comes to application. Rote memorization isn't always the best option, but some students benefit from that before later learning the concept better. Either way, number sense is the most important element.
     
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  14. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    I SO agree with this. Already by 5th grade, if they don't know their facts they are going to be behind all year. When we're doing more complex computations - 2 digit divisor division, multiplying and dividing decimals and fractions - they just don't have time to sit there figuring out what 4x9 is. They need to have automaticity. My kids without facts knowledge STRUGGLE.

    Our third grade classes had this huge ice cream party back in February or so because everyone mastered their multiplication facts. Everyone? Really?? Then why do I get 5th graders two years later who don't know them at all. I just wish the lower grade teachers realized how important this stuff is later on. Primary, too. I've got 5th graders counting on their fingers to subtract in the middle of a long division problem. It just doesn't work at this point!

    OP - I actually do teach math in my class in 3 separate groups because that's how my class works out. I have 32 kids. I have a below level group of about 12 (with 4 IEPs, so I have an aide who assists me during math), an on level group of about 12, and an above level group of about 8. I don't usually advocate the highest group being the smallest, but that's how the breakdown works in my class. We do a rotation model of about 20-25 minutes per rotation:
    1 - Teacher group - they do the lesson with me using their whiteboards.
    2 - Math by Myself - they do their independent practice, a page from the textbook usually, or something I have printed out. Sometimes my high group does something different for this station.
    3 - Math with Technology - they use the chromebooks to do Xtra math (facts practice - once they pass it they're done for the year) and then Prodigy. Prodigy is not my favorite, but it is free and my school won't pay for IXL or MobyMax or any of the others, so I use what I have. It's ok, but it's a little too "game-ish" for me. I believe it goes up through middle school, so you should be able to use it if you don't have access to anything else. You can assign content in Prodigy, which I like. You can also track progress on the content you assign.

    Teaching math whole class has never worked for me in 5th grade, even in my middle class, suburban school. The gaps are just way too huge. This way is really working well for us this year. It has some hiccups, but overall I'm pleased with my students' progress using this method.

    Hope that helps. :)

    ETA: For behavior issues, I always have a nice fat stack of worksheets as back up. If kids cannot handle the tech station (loud, etc), they get to do worksheets instead. Other than that, I find just moving seats typically works out ok for the most part. I've had to isolate a couple kids before.
     
  15. Mer

    Mer Rookie

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    Thank you it does. My main concern is behavior. like I said I am at an urban school and many of my students act out. I am lucky in that I have 80 minute periods and we are 1-1. When I try to teach the whole class, I find that 10-20% of my students do not pay attention. Also my high students should not have to spend a week learning how to divide. My high and low students are getting short changed when I teach my class as a whole group. I hope that by doing leveled groups, I can help them achieve what they need.
     
  16. rpan

    rpan Cohort

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    Apr 20, 2017

    there is a program where students of different abilities in different zones from low to high. They work in their zones at their own level and the goal is for them to move up a zone until they reach a high proficiency. It is quite labour intensive because you need materials for 10 zones for each topic but it allows students to work at their own pace at their own level, so they are learning something rather than nothing and i think it has been successful in Australia. The program is called Reframing Mathematical Futures.
     
  17. Mer

    Mer Rookie

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    Hmmmm... Thanks. I will check it out.
     

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