Pacing!!!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ms.Holyoke, Sep 23, 2018.

  1. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    I looked at my math calendar and I realized that I have to give my Unit 1/2 benchmark assessment on October 22nd. I am still in the middle of unit 1 and my kids still need to learn the standard algorithm for long division, dividing decimals, exponents, prime factorization and dividing fractions (with models first and then the standard algorithm...which could take forever). Plus most of my students have very little understanding of fractions...sooo I will have to spend time reviewing equivalent fractions, etc. We are also supposed to start our 3rd unit before this even if it isn't assessed. Is this normal? I feel like it will take forever for my kids to even learn just the standard algorithm for long division!! My mentor teaches inclusion and my classes are about two days ahead of hers which makes me feel a little better but still.
     
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  3. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Have you asked the other teacher for tips? Is this a district pacing calendar or a school wide one?
     
  4. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    It is a district and school pacing guide. They said my decimals unit should take 12 days and it will probably take me until the beginning of October. I'm also losing time because we don't have a curriculum so I sometimes don't plan a lesson that works and I have to reteach, etc. My mentor said that she spends a ton of time on our first unit but my pacing seems in line with hers. The other 6th grade teacher teachers pre-AP and covers everything in a day because she has to teach a year and a half of curriculum.
     
  5. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    Have you looked at the benchmark assessment? Are all of those topics definitely on there? And in equal proportion? I wouldn't be spending a lot of time on dividing decimals by hand if I could avoid it. I can't remember the last time I divided decimals by hand, and I've taught all the HS math courses from algebra 1 through calculus.
     
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  6. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    I am frustrated because I am not allowed to see the benchmark assessment until a few days before the test. Umm...how am I supposed to teach to help kids pass an assessment when I have no idea what is on it and I have no curriculum. I asked the math coach who is basically no help. I'm going to send her an email tomorrow with more specific questions (ex. is it multiple choice, are there story problems, is there an open response?)

    I agree that dividing decimals isn't the most useful skill...but it is the 6th grade standard! We also have to teach unit rate so they have to know it. I have about 5 kids in each of my classes who are failing. I'm not really sure what to do with them but if they don't get division, they'll struggle through the whole year. I obviously can't pull them or stop 29 kids because 5 need help.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  7. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    If most students get it but 5 do not, you are right - you can't stop the other students from learning. No matter what subject you teach, you'll always have a few who are behind. Do you have any time where you can differentiate during your class, even if it means have these students do a little less of something else? If possible, you could have them review on Khan Academy or another math website for a few minutes each day.
     
  8. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    We don't have technology (can request a chromebook cart but that will be a time suck imo) and with 33-34 kids it's hard to plan for any differentiation. My main focus is the behavior, so even sitting with one group will not work with my students for the time being. The math coach said I need to find ways for students to help each other but these kids have severe gaps in their understanding. These kids need direct instruction on computation and practice. The math coach also says I can group students and as long as the kids on level are doing an "engaging activity" the behavior will be fine but we know that is not always true. :) I did try this once and I was able to support a few kids but the other kids weren't super on task.
     
  9. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Differentiation is one of those things that always sounds good in practice but doesn't always work as intended, especially small group intervention when the rest of the class is still in the room. It's ideal, sure, but not always realistic.

    I like the buddy idea. Do you have them assigned to mixed ability groups for partner work, for example 1 high, 2 medium, 1 low level?
     
  10. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    I'm not sold on the "high teaching the low": partnerships for me (I have four sets of partners for each kid) are created by putting two students that are relatively close to each other with each other. That is, a student who is an incredibly strong reader might be paired with someone who is moderately strong, but not with someone who is working on their phonics. Essentially, it's the concept of the ZPD - zone of proximal development - similar to in reading how the most growth will be from reading books that are not too challenging, not too simple, but "just right".

    In terms of differentiation - what grade are you again? I can send you some resources/links that might be able to help you differentiate a bit easier. I had 30 last year, and a huge range as well, but was able to differentiate decently (though it was weaker than I wanted).

    In regards to pacing, are you required to have an assessment/follow the pacing exactly? And if you are, are you able to talk to admin at all? Because honestly, pacing should literally follow where the kids are at. If you need to take longer, do it. If that means down the line you have to double up a bit, that's fine...but students need to develop a strong core, otherwise they'll be caught in an ongoing struggle throughout the years.
     
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  11. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    ^
    Thanks!! I am teaching 6th grade this year.

    My math coach said I would need to have the kids help each other (ex. high teaching the low) because I can't give much individual attention. Right now they're grouped in mixed ability groups (mainly based on behavior.)
     
  12. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    It seems like the kids have to take the test on October 22nd so I at least need to get through 2 units.
     
  13. TrademarkTer

    TrademarkTer Groupie

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    I'm guessing this isn't the first year for the benchmark at your school, and you mentioned that your mentor's ICS classes are even further behind. Is she worried about it at all? How did it go last year?
     
  14. Ms.Holyoke

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    I’ll ask her tomorrow. She said she always spends a ton of time on unit 1.
     
  15. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I would look at Jo Bowler's stuff and Non-Permanent Vertical Surfaces. There is so much cool stuff going on in math right now in terms of meeting kids at a range of abilities within a classroom. The math classrooms I've co-taught in look nothing like traditional classrooms and it is truly awesome. You can try one or two things to support differentiation - you don't have to do it all at once - but absolutely how we teach math now and the resources we have are better than even what we had 5 years ago.
     
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  16. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    I actually really like Jo Boaler's stuff but none of it is actually aligned with the Common Core Standards for my grade level. I think that's part of the issue with the "problem solving" approach to math. The curriculum I have seen with this approach can also be very confusing to kids. One of my friend's showed me suggested hw from her curriculum and it asked kids to prove or disprove certain identities. I think there needs to be some middle ground.
     
  17. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    I think if you want to teach math in a differentiated way you may have to create your own stuff using what is available. Jo Boaler, Miriam Small, Kyle Pearce and John Orr and are great resources, as are NPVS.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2018
  18. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Have you checked out the new Algebra stuff that they posted?

    Plus, I'd venture that some of the activities, even though they might seem not "perfectly aligned", actually do align in some ways... you just would need to play with it a bit. In general though, the low floor, high-ceiling kind of problems can be a extremely powerful way to differentiate while still all doing the same activity.
     
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  19. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    ^
    I haven't seen the new algebra stuff but I will take a look. I'm excited to teach our Algebra unit!

    I definitely see the value in low-floor high-ceiling problems but I honestly do not have the time for "extras" when I barely have the time for own own content standards. My entire college curriculum was about problem solving as a way to learn math, low floor high ceiling tasks, etc, so I have a lot of experience looking at these types of problems/curriculum. I think some tasks might align with some of the standards that I will see in the future. Right now, I am just teaching computation and it is really difficult to teach it through low-floor high ceiling tasks or problem solving. We had a day where kids shared division strategies which was great but it's really difficult to connect partial quotients to the standard algorithm . The main focus now is achieving fluency with the standard algorithm and dividing decimals and some of the kids just need direct instruction in skills that they haven't learned in elementary school.
     
  20. Ms.Holyoke

    Ms.Holyoke Groupie

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    I'm also going to be honest...differentiating is not my goal right now. It is classroom management and planning structured and engaging lessons.
     
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  21. Always__Learning

    Always__Learning Comrade

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    Have you actually tried NPVS? Because the problems you are describing would be greatly helped by NPVS. When teachers feel like they don't know where to start with differentiation in math, as a co-teacher I always say lets start with NPVS. It's easy. It's not too expensive. And it leads to better outcomes for kids.
     

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