At the beginning of the year, how do you know how to group students?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by heavens54, Jun 24, 2010.

  1. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jun 24, 2010

    Another interview question; do you assess on the first few days of school? Does your school, or district? Do you do your own baseline testing? If yes, what do you use to assess the students. Thank you in advance...
     
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  3. TeacherApr

    TeacherApr Groupie

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    Jun 24, 2010

    Our district focuses everything on DIBELS. Until that test is complete we don't group students into small groups and such.
     
  4. jde3399

    jde3399 Rookie

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    Jun 24, 2010

    It depends on what your district may want, but I know that I spend the first week of school not only going over procedures and rules, but I also try and do some type of assessment. For the most part it is usually informal, I would take a book that is on-level (I usually take a readinga-z book because they have the levels) and see how they read and what they can tell me from the story. In VA, for K-2 we also do the PALs testing, so that helps with knowing spelling and reading. But for the most part it is informal from what I see.
     
  5. meltua

    meltua Rookie

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    Jun 25, 2010

    I base my reading groups on the children's latest benchmark level. It takes awhile to rebenchmark every child at the beginning of the year but that's ok becuase we don't really start reading groups until after the first 4 weeks.
    I am required to begin meeting with my lowest group daily almost immediately. So the very first day of school (and possibly the 2nd if I didn't finish) I quickly listen to each child read a very short passage that is on what should be grade level. This allows me to immediately identify the lowest readers so I know who needs intervention asap.
     
  6. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    Jun 25, 2010

    At the start of school, I usually do varied groupings to see how the kids work together and which kids shouldn't be together ever. This is usually during the first week when we are practicing procedures.
     
  7. 3Sons

    3Sons Enthusiast

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    Jun 25, 2010

    IMHO, I think all teachers should do some form of baseline testing early in the year, even if they get information from previous teachers.

    My first-grade son's teacher was showing me results of baseline reading testing she'd done in the first month. My son is ELL and was not a confident speaker, so she showed him the first 30 words of a 150-word test and asked him if he could read "2 or 3, however many you're comfortable with". She said her jaw "dropped to the floor", when he immediately began rattling them off, getting 29 of the first 30 at a glance. She gradually ended up having him do the entire test, and he scored in the 120's.

    Of course, I was happy to hear the story. However, MY jaw dropped to the floor as I thought, "You actually *did* baseline testing?"

    It immediately communicated to me that she is a professional with a plan, and that I should be confident in her abilities. So far, with a 4th grader and 1st grader, she is the only one who has shown that she has done any such baselines.

    Parents, particularly well-educated parents, may quite possibly be aware that baseline testing is different from normal school testing, either through formal education or more intuitively sensing the difference if explained or shown to them.
     
  8. Peachyness

    Peachyness Virtuoso

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    Jun 25, 2010

    Since I never began groups right away, I usually spent the first two weeks assessing. Our school did some assessment for us (dibles) and I did my own assessment.
     
  9. Southern JC

    Southern JC Companion

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    Jun 25, 2010

    I know some teachers do not do preassessments because they feel it's a waist of time. I have to disagree with that. I do a reading and grammar assessment. I don't give them a grade, but I do give them points based on their scores to be added to an upcoming test. This only takes two days, but before I do those I give the students a learning style survey and an interest survey. I want to know who I'm teaching so that I'll know how to teach them. I use the learning style survey for many thing, but it is especially helpful for seating arrangements. Some students do best in the front, middle, or back of the room. I tell the students that I will determine where they sit and according to behavior, I give them the opportunity to move after the second semester. By that time, the students are usually comfortable where they are and will not want to move. So that works out. Also, the interest style surveys are useful because students that feel overlooked are so surprised when you mention something they listed on their survey. I had one student who sat the back of the class, very quiet, no behavior problems. One day I mentioned his trip to Disney World and his eyes lit up. After class he told me with a smile, "I didn't think you read those things." They need to know you care, and it only takes a second to show it.
     
  10. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jun 25, 2010

    Everyone does an assessment the first week at our school. We have to show data throughout the year of progress (as well as of course, being able to see where the child is academically). We create our own as a grade level-it becomes a common assessment (in Kinder it's basically just identifying letters/sounds, but 1st on they use passages to determine a beginning reading level). While I pull small groups my kids are doing workstations-I want to give them some time to explore those materials without a structured activity anyway those 1st few days, so I use that time to pull them and assess.
     
  11. heavens54

    heavens54 Connoisseur

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    Jun 26, 2010

    What are the surveys that you use? I am very interested in the learning style survey and how to use the information.
     
  12. Southern JC

    Southern JC Companion

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    Jun 26, 2010

    I can't remember exactly where I got the surveys; I've had them for a while. Try googling "student interest style survey" and "student learning style survey". (I took questions from a couple of different surveys and composed my own. Please let me know if you are not able to find any examples to go by and I'll send you a copy of mine). I use the information from the learning style to determine seating arrangement, for instance if a student is an visual learner, he/she might do better near the middle or front; when a student tells me "I tried to study, but I just don't get this stuff" we look at their card to see what they said was their best way to study and I encourage them to do that or if they already are then to try something different; if the student does not like to be in large groups, he/she might feel more comfortable being the recorder for group projects; I don't put too many natural born leaders in a group together; that's room for trouble. With the interest style surveys, I use them for writing assignments, placing students with like interest in groups, using their favorite tv shows when introducing new lessons (compare/contrast type of thing). These are only some ways to use the surveys. The purpose really is to get information in a quick and easily-accessible way. After the students have completed the surveys, I condense the information and place it on large index cards. I make a card for each student. On one side, I put info from the surveys and on the other side I record parental contact info and leave space to record any behavior problems with dates and consequences. This method is very helpful because I'm able to keep a lot of information in one place. If I ever have a parent conference, I take the card to the meeting also. Some times I share information with parents that they don't even know about their student.
     
  13. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    Jun 27, 2010

    We use DIBLES and our reading program (houghton mifflin) has a reading survey that we give them that will give us a very good idea how to group them.
     
  14. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Jun 27, 2010

    At the beginning of the year I group children strictly for team-building activities. We use the Benchmark and Placement tests from our curriculum to determine guided reading groups initially.

    We area small school so I talk to the previous year teachers about personalities, academics and behaviors.

    Good luck with your interviews.
     
  15. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    Jun 27, 2010

    That is so cool...well done!! :thumb:
     
  16. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Jun 27, 2010

    We assess at the end of the year to help with exactly this, but then again early into the year for changes and new students. I do additional reading assessments and multiple intelligences surveys and such (interest inventories, etc.) to help with heterogeneous grouping for collaborative activities. Additionally, we receive personality reports from their previous teachers, which are quite helpful.
     

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