Frustrated/Annoyed...how do I approach this?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by bewlove, Jan 21, 2017.

  1. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

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    Jan 21, 2017

    Hey, everyone! I'm looking for some advice and just to vent! Lol!

    So, I teach 4th grade math, and we just took our most recent benchmark test (we take 3 per year). My students have shown a lot of growth, and (for once) my growth and averages were the highest amongst my team! My administration even commented on how much growth I had shown and how my averages were above the district, etc.

    Anyway, right before winter break, the other math teacher proposed that we move towards a guided math model. Rather than doing just whole group (because admittedly I was never getting to small group instruction, but I did lots of formative checking with each student, so it wasn't like they were being completely ignored or anything), we now would do 3 20-minute small groups per day and no whole group. We would still have an introduction to the lesson and a closure activity whole group, but that would be all and the rest of the instruction would be delivered in a small group setting. While students aren't with us, they would be practicing the skills independently.

    At first I was a little bit hesitant to jump into this because my students seemed to be doing great already, but I eventually obliged, agreeing that my high students didn't get the extension that they needed and my low students didn't receive the review that they needed. So each day for the last several weeks, rather than whole group instruction, they each got a 20-minute condensed lesson with me and practiced independently.

    Fast forward to now, we took our unit test, and my scores we HORRIBLE! I went from 85% mastery to 20%. My scores dropped DRASTICALLY. Now, I realize there are some variables to this. It's a new skill. We were interrupted from the beginning of the unit by winter break, and we have had a couple of snow days. But still. I feel like this isn't effective! I want to go back to my old method. It was working! I do agree with maybe pulling my lower kids more, or even every day. But, I am just so super bummed. When I mentioned it to my co-teacher, she thought we needed to give it another month to make a decision to really see how they do with it.

    ARGH! I'm screaming in my head. I want to be flexible and it's important that we are unified with what we do, due to the parental involvement at our school and the fact that they will talk among one another about it. But for lack of a better phrase....I don't wanna do this!!! I was successful for the first half of the year without this, this appears to be ineffective with my group, and I don't want to let them fall behind for another month.

    Rant over. Thanks for reading! Please let me know your thoughts.
     
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  3. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Jan 21, 2017

    Consider trying a modified model. One possible thought to blend whole group with small group would be to dedicate the twenty minutes of class to a whole group lesson (say... the first fifteen minutes and then the last five), then leave 20 minutes for two of your three groups. Meet with your low kiddos every day, and alternate between the two high groups.
     
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  4. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jan 21, 2017

    I had an hour for math instruction, and I ran it similarly to how gr3teacher described. We started with small group work - I met with a group and the other groups worked in centers for review/extension. Then I did a whole group lesson and practice on the skill I was teaching. I found this model very effective. There was time after the whole group lesson to work with a small group again if needed. Before I sent everyone off to the activity, they had to show me at the carpet if they knew what they were doing. Those that didn't demonstrate an understanding stayed at the carpet with me until they did.
     
  5. mathmagic

    mathmagic Connoisseur

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    Jan 21, 2017

    I do something similar to this, but usually have them self assess where they're at (feeling comfortable, need to ask a question or two then good, or need additional support), and so they self-identify whether they need to come work with me for a bit longer. Of course, as we do guided practice, I'm carefully identifying those who I feel will need that support too, so if they don't come back, I'll sometimes ask them to join us anyhow.
     
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  6. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jan 21, 2017

    I would let most of them self-assess, but there were always a few in grade 1 that were in denial about their skill level.
     
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  7. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Jan 21, 2017

    Can you speak with whomever is in charge of making the decision of which format you follow? Perhaps if you show your prior method was more effective to the powers that be, they might allow you to go back to that. At the end of the day, numbers don't lie (even though they might not tell the whole story).
     
  8. AlwaysAttend

    AlwaysAttend Enthusiast

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    Jan 21, 2017

    Truthfully one unit especially with the breaks you described is not something you could glean useful data from. Most research would suggest a flexible grouping method to make sure you're meeting the needs of all learners (who may change groups at any time).

    At this point, I assume your intro consists of some sort of mini lesson that students are building on when they are working with you, reviewing when they are working with you, or are practicing while reaching just out of their comfort zone when they are working with you. That sounds effective to me.
     
  9. Haley Kraemer

    Haley Kraemer Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2017

    Hi,
    Can you explain more what content is being worked on at each part of this lesson?
    -Whole Group New Skill taught I assume
    -centers (review/extension activities) while you are meeting with small groups.

    When is guided practice and independent practice happening in this model?

    Does each group have time for guided and independent practice on the new skill each day?


    For
     
  10. Haley Kraemer

    Haley Kraemer Rookie

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    Jul 10, 2017

    Hi! This sounds like a good model to try. Tell me more about what the kids are working on in small group and centers. I assume in small group you are teaching the new skill while the other kids are working in centers review/extension activities. When are the kids completing independent practice on the new skill? Is there enough time to teach each small group the new skill and allow them to practice it independently?

    QUOTE="MissScrimmage, post: 2019904, member: 29499"]I had an hour for math instruction, and I ran it similarly to how gr3teacher described. We started with small group work - I met with a group and the other groups worked in centers for review/extension. Then I did a whole group lesson and practice on the skill I was teaching. I found this model very effective. There was time after the whole group lesson to work with a small group again if needed. Before I sent everyone off to the activity, they had to show me at the carpet if they knew what they were doing. Those that didn't demonstrate an understanding stayed at the carpet with me until they did.[/QUOTE]
     
  11. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jul 10, 2017

    [/QUOTE]

    The first 15-20 minutes of our hour was spent on "guided math" - there were 4 stations and the students visited 1 per day:
    1. Math by myself - reviewing skills independently
    2. Math with a partner - reviewing skills with a partner (usually a game of some sort)
    3. Math with tools - reviewing skills using technology, manipulatives, etc. - sometimes alone, sometimes in a group
    4. Math with the teacher - using the "Math Recovery" model I used this time for targeted intervention and enrichment

    Then I taught a quick whole group lesson (15-20 minutes) and then it was time for guided or independent practice, based on what I'd taught for another 15-20 minutes. Some students worked on their own, others stayed at the carpet with me to keep practicing. Sometimes our practice was a game with a partner or a whole group game.
     
  12. MissScrimmage

    MissScrimmage Fanatic

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    Jul 10, 2017

    [/QUOTE]

    The first 15-20 minutes of our hour was spent on "guided math" - there were 4 stations and the students visited 1 per day:
    1. Math by myself - reviewing skills independently
    2. Math with a partner - reviewing skills with a partner (usually a game of some sort)
    3. Math with tools - reviewing skills using technology, manipulatives, etc. - sometimes alone, sometimes in a group
    4. Math with the teacher - using the "Math Recovery" model I used this time for targeted intervention and enrichment

    Then I taught a quick whole group lesson (15-20 minutes) and then it was time for guided or independent practice, based on what I'd taught for another 15-20 minutes. Some students worked on their own, others stayed at the carpet with me to keep practicing. Sometimes our practice was a game with a partner or a whole group game.
     
  13. Haley Kraemer

    Haley Kraemer Rookie

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    Jul 28, 2017

    Thanks!


    The first 15-20 minutes of our hour was spent on "guided math" - there were 4 stations and the students visited 1 per day:
    1. Math by myself - reviewing skills independently
    2. Math with a partner - reviewing skills with a partner (usually a game of some sort)
    3. Math with tools - reviewing skills using technology, manipulatives, etc. - sometimes alone, sometimes in a group
    4. Math with the teacher - using the "Math Recovery" model I used this time for targeted intervention and enrichment

    Then I taught a quick whole group lesson (15-20 minutes) and then it was time for guided or independent practice, based on what I'd taught for another 15-20 minutes. Some students worked on their own, others stayed at the carpet with me to keep practicing. Sometimes our practice was a game with a partner or a whole group game.[/QUOTE]
    Tha
     
  14. HeartDrama

    HeartDrama Connoisseur

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    Jul 28, 2017

    At my school they required this as well and called it TGS or Targeted Group Structures. The sell was that it would allow teachers to provide more customized instruction based on student needs. We were told we didn't "have" to do it every day. We were told we could take one day following our traditional models and then do targeted groups the next day. Formative assessments should be administered to assess student levels of understanding and then group them accordingly. We in the English department were extremely resistant. We all basically refused to do it because our test scores indicated that what we were doing worked and did not need fixing. We were called into multiple meetings throughout the year where it was explained again, strategies and resources were provided that would "help" us implement it. They got very angry with us because they would pop in for observations and no one was doing it. At the end of the day, we did what worked. I could see how the strategy could be beneficial for students, but I honestly lacked the skills necessary to pull it off effectively. The few times I tried it, it was a disaster and I felt it was more important for me to get through my unit. Karma has reared it's ugly head though, I'm at a new school this year that also requires a version of this.
     

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