Stumped...please help!

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Ash Inc, Oct 23, 2021.

  1. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    Oct 23, 2021

    Last week I got a new student to my class. As I'm sure we're all experiencing, my students are drastically below reading level, except for a few. I have one reading group that is at benchmark (Level K instructional), and 4 reading groups that are very far below (Levels A, B, and C instructional). The problem is, my new student's reading level falls smack in the middle of my highest and second highest group (Level F instructional). She's the only one in this range.

    I don't want to hold her back in the lower group and I don't know if she'll gain much being in a group that's a fair bit above her level. I also don't want to make a 6th group just for her alone, as I'll see the rest of my students that much less, and they really need as much support as possible.

    I'm thinking of trying her in the higher group and see just how challenging it is for her. I figure the skills we're working on at that level are closer to what she needs than my level C group - she's beyond the sight words they're working on and the simple reading strategies they're using.
    Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)
     
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  3. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Oct 24, 2021

    I think you are spot on in your decision. I have had kids with huge ranges ( levels) over the years. I usually called the parent in for a conference and explained the situation. Most parents prefer their kids to be in the high group from my experience.
    Since there are a few skills ( sounds or sight words) the student was missing, I'd ask the parent to help the child practice at home to make sure the transition goes well. I'd have a list of the sight words and maybe make a card game out of them for her parents to play with her. Almost always kids will rise to your expectations. Good luck! :)
     
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  4. Singvogel

    Singvogel Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2021

    I would challenge the student first, too. Over many years, I have constantly seen students rise to challenges. Tired Teacher's advice to meet with the parents is spot on.
     
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  5. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2021

    Thanks so much for the advice! I feel better now about trying her out in a higher level and seeing if she can meet the challenge. Talking to the parents about extra practice at home with sight words is a good idea as well :)
     
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  6. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2021

    Thank you! I agree about challenging her and feel better about trying her out in my high group. I like what you said about students rising to the challenge :)
     
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  7. a2z

    a2z Virtuoso

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    Oct 24, 2021

    What do the parents say about the child's approach to challenging information. Does the child rise up to it or back away? I would gauge how I approach the issue on whether or not the child handles challenges well. If not, I would find a way to reach the child at the child's level even if it made it difficult. What would you have done if this child came day 1 and was in the middle of the groups?
     
  8. Tired Teacher

    Tired Teacher Connoisseur

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    Oct 24, 2021

    This is a good point. I had not thought about it b/c usually the ones I bumped up were kids that were willing to work to be in a higher group. ( Higher grade level) If it was a kid who was really insecure and defeated easily, I'd maybe have made a different decision.
    If they needed to build some confidence, I might let them be a super star for a short time while encouraging them to catch up with the 1st group.
    I did have 1 bright girl like that who did not want to move up many years ago. (unusual) I let her go with the lower group, but kept encouraging her to try moving up. She liked getting hundreds, but got bored after awhile and finally agreed she wanted to move up.
    Parents can play a game at home before the transition too until the child is ready. Plus, in class, I'd expose them to review with the higher group. It really improves confidence to move up. I am sure I don't remember all kids I did this with, but it seemed if they were closer to the high group, they tended to have a desire to learn.
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2021
  9. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2021

    Yes, I agree that it's important to see how the child reacts to challenge. So far she seems pretty confident in her abilities. I also looked in her file and it said that last year she was reading at benchmark. I'm thinking she must have regressed after we were forced to go online for the last few months of school (her attendance was also very poor for that period).
    Even if she was with us on day 1, she would still be the only child that didn't "fit" easily into a group and I'd still have to figure out the best approach. I don't mind tweaking the lessons I use specifically with her while in the group, I just don't want to create a whole extra group for her to get one-on-one at the expense of the rest of the class getting less time with me. Thank you for your thoughts on this.
     
  10. Ash Inc

    Ash Inc Rookie

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    Oct 24, 2021

    I've only had her for a week, but she doesn't appear to lack confidence academically. I think I'll try her this week in the higher group but if it seems too difficult or she appears frustrated I'll have a talk with her and see if the other group is a better fit.
     
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  11. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

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    Oct 25, 2021

    Another consideration is to do away with your ability groups and teach whole class literacy. I did this about 15 years ago and haven't regretted it for one minute. My students score higher than any of the other teachers in my school on the state tests, so they are not losing anything. My low kids tend to test low (but not always) - just like your low kids, but they feel good about themselves, and no one is concerned about being put into the low group.

    Ability grouping may make teaching certain skills easier for the teacher, but it has some profound negative aspects. No one wants to be in the low group. Parents don't want their kids in the low group. A recent peer-reviewed study concluded, “We argue that this [ability grouping] is a symbolically violent process that negatively impacts the psychosocial positioning of children as they negotiate their identities within the figured world of the primary school classroom.”

    'You feel ashamed that you are not in the higher group'—Children's
    psychosocial response to ability grouping in primary school.

    McGillicuddy, Devine, Dympna
    British Educational Research Journal. Jun2020, Vol. 46 Issue 3,
    p553-573. 21p. 4 Diagrams, 9 Charts
     

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