Small Group or Whole Class?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Furrymom, Oct 14, 2017.

  1. Furrymom

    Furrymom Rookie

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    Oct 14, 2017

    I teach a class that is comprised of all ELL students. They are two to three grade levels below where they should be. I feel this pressure to teach the school curriculum for the grade but the students are struggling and don't understand it. I am teaching them reading strategies that don't apply to level A-D books because this is what the other classes on my grade are doing. Now my school wants us to use a close reading program where the books are leveled above P. My students are also below level in math.

    I am toying with the idea of forgoing whole class and simply focusing on small groups. Targeting the areas that the students struggle in and trying to get them as close to grade level as possible. This however would mean I stop teaching my current grade level curriculum and teach lower grade material. I would do this in small groups.

    I have never done this before but I just can't see pushing forward with work that is too difficult. For example, we are about to start teaching multiplication and division. Yet, I have students who are unable to determine if a number is odd or even. I have students who cannot count forwards or backwards from a given number and they struggle with ordering numbers. I have students who cannot determine greater than/less than. I'm talking basic first grade math and number sense.

    I don't know what to do. I have tried to meet with small groups after teaching whole class but there never is enough time to see more than one or two groups a day and even then I feel like we don't get enough time to practice.
    Would you strictly teach small groups to try to fill in the learning gaps or would you push on with the grade level curriculum?
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Oct 14, 2017

    ,
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2019
  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Oct 14, 2017

    I'm currently blindly feeling my way through a split situation of small groups. I have a majority of my class missing key concepts, but I am also required to teach grade-level curriculum. What I'm doing is having my aid take both kids on level and kids at various needs of intervention while I do the same thing. We have a few days a week of trying the core. This has only been happening for a short time so I still have no idea what I'm doing.

    My problem is that I'm not entirely sure how to differentiate with higher level math skills when kids are completely oblivious to the prior skills.

    In a perfect world, we could play catch up without worrying about the core or what it would mean for the next grade if we don't catch up all the way, but sadly that's not how it works.
     
  5. FourSquare

    FourSquare Fanatic

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    Oct 15, 2017

    I'm a sped teacher. I'm always teaching kids 2-3 grade levels below where they should be...or more! What I do is teach very brief mini lessons on grade level content. Then I small group the remedial skills. You have to meet them where they are. Any admin worth their salt will understand.
     
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  6. heatherberm

    heatherberm Cohort

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    Oct 15, 2017

    I'm also a special ed teacher, usually teaching kids who are at least a couple of years below grade level, and this is exactly what I do too. Whole group will usually focus on grade level content with whatever supports are required - grade level text read aloud, major scaffolding for any writing and writing assignments modified, adjusting math to make it something that isn't too overwhelming (for example, I was supposed to introduce them to multiplication and division first thing this year, but they still confuse addition and subtraction so we didn't look at any multiplication and division equations but did practice putting things in equal groups so when we come back to it later it's not a completely foreign concept) etc. - with small groups focused on those missing foundational skills. District higher ups will occasionally wander through and make noise about exposure to grade level content and common formative assessments, but my principal, thankfully, trusts me to do what's best for whatever child is in front of me and mostly leaves me alone.
     
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