How do you ensure all students are achieving and your not just focused on the ones that are struggling? Or vise versa

Day 2 of our week-long slow-chat about servicing students with special needs:

How do you ensure all students are achieving and your not just focused on the ones that are struggling? Or vise versa

@informed_members @Certified_Educators

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I break up each learning target into several Formatives that build up to the level that will appear on the unit test. Each student has to complete three in a day in order to stay on track for the semester.

When we have independent work time in my class, I open several Formative tabs so that I’m actively monitoring all the questions. I cycle through each formative and give written feedback as I go. This way, I’m not just focused on the strugglers, but I’m monitoring the higher ability kids as well. If I see that a kid is stuck even with my feedback, I go to them and ask questions to assess why they aren’t making progress. My strugglers naturally get my attention and I’d like to do more for my higher achievers. Many times, I ask a kid to go help another kid. It’s hard to assess someone’s needs and teach them how to work through their process, especially if it’s different than your own. I want my students to peer tutor, but not to the point that they don’t feel challenged mathematically. I’m hoping that through the Formative Community I can find ways to extend their thinking in fun and creative ways. (NOTE: If a student who normally struggles and has to have a peer tutor shows strength in a concept, I purposely ask them to be a peer tutor for others. If they light up, then I have them help a lot during that period. If they appear uncomfortable or uncertain, I phrase the peer tutoring something like: “Hey John, you are really rockin’ at this concept. Would you mind going over to check on Jim for a second? He looks like he’s stuck. If you can’t figure out what’s going on or if he doesn’t understand what you’re saying, come back and let me know. I really appreciate it. Thanks!”

Peer tutoring is how I encourage better social skills, foster confidence and build deeper understanding of the concept.

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I love that use questions to assess students!!

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One strategy I used was creating learning extensions for early finishers that were aligned to Depth of Knowledge levels and Bloom’s Taxonomy. This allowed my students to engage with the class concept on a deeper level. I would try to add a collaborative element to the activity so that if others finished early with an activity as well, they could learn from one another. On the flip side, to ensure that I wasn’t only focusing on students who were achieving, I would work with my co-teacher to differentiate lessons and conduct frequent checks for understanding throughout a class period to support individual students/ small groups.

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I agree with @tricia.mintner - I love to scaffold the learning for my students. It helps them learn the material in chunks and then start making the connections.

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Scaffolding also helps them build their confidence :slight_smile:

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I love the idea of the peer tutoring, even for just a 5 minute pairing up of one student who got a concept with another who needs a little coaching. I find that students know how to talk to one another in better ways that I can come up with, and they are often much more efficient than I am at getting a simple concept across, without over- explaining. I am really impressed by everybody’s expertise. Thank you for all the ideas!!!:slight_smile:

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I use different strategies with high achievers. I could ask them for peer tutoring or give them more challenging work, such as create a kahoot, prepare a presentation about the topic they are learning, drill and practice on Achieve 3000, create a puzzle. Usually high achievers feel bored if they are sitting doing nothing, and they might cause disruptions in the classroom. So, give them responsibile tasks and they will excel.

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I really like the idea of allowing students to create their own assessments. It can be a good opportunity for them to learn how to create strong questions (a la Bloom’s & Webb’s Depth of Knowledge Levels), anticipate peer responses, and think more deeply about what they are learning (ex: what are the key concepts that we must understand to be successful with this learning unit?)

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I like to align my assessment and instruction to a proficiency scale matched to the learning goal. The goal for all of the students is to hit that “mastery” level, but there is always another step up the ladder. We are transparent with what this may look like in regard to advanced targets, and it is fun to see students work towards those higher levels. The proficiency scale is well versed in the classroom, so all students know what a 1, 2, 3, or 4 implies in regard to their student learning. I like the use of formatives to allow students to see their growth in a particular unit as they are able to move up the ladder and answer questions based on their learning process. Each formative has questions aligned to a different level, and again with the transparency the students know this. All work to climb the ladder regardless of their starting point.

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Do you have an example of what this looks like, along with what your ‘ladder’ looks like? Does the ladder just keep growing, or does each concept have it’s own ladder?

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I always start with Maslow’s Hierarchy. So I try to meet level one. I made this lesson on SWAY https://sway.com/3RAlhi115TMW3DQ0?ref=Link to develop relationship skills, help students in trauma and crisis relax and break down walls of isolation. It was amazing!!! Students brought their friends to my room to give them a quick hand massage. This is a game changer for classroom climate. Seriously.

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