The first thing that I did was to group my students based on information that came to me before school, our state tests, and performance on material within the classroom at the beginning of the year. I've also started pretesting students before each unit. If a student scores 80% or better on the pretest, I immediately compact them out for individual work which involves options to extend their learning on the subject we are working on. I also make sure that they understand that they may have to rejoin the class for individual lessons as needed based on the results of their scores. This group works quietly at the back of the classroom on lessons and projects using both math books and the computers to assist their learning.
I create my groups by using Super Sticky Post-it Notes in bright yellow with each subject area designated by pink for math and green for reading. This allows me to change the groups as needed, and as the students move up and down. As I said earlier, my class is large, so I group them into 3 groups; high, medium, and low. Students sit in the table grouping assigned to them (lowest group front and center) this allows me to keep track of everyone more easily. As I move through the lesson, I release students and groups to work more independently completing the assignment and practice work, along with 3 websites that I supplement my math instruction with.
The first one is called XtraMath, a site that reinforces basic math fact skills and recall. It allows the teacher to monitor and track practice, takes only a few minutes of class time, and can be practiced at home. The second website is called MathSlice. This site is more traditional in that it allows the student to choose which area to practice and how, but one of the reasons I like it is that it is not really a game, but a lesson with accompanying math worksheets that can be printed off and used at school or home to reinforce the students knowledge. Lastly is a math site that uses a game type platform, but can be totally teacher directed, motivating for students, and engaging. It's called Qtopia. Qtopia is an online learning platform that offers thousands of ready-to-use activities, motivating games, avatar features, online homework access with automatic grading, in-classroom review modes, and the ability for educators to use 'as is' or completely customize the learning experience. The best part as always with these sites are that they are all F-R-E-E!
So, I may be overwhelmed, but I'm still striving to meet and teach every student at their level. By being flexible and dynamic with my instruction and grouping, I hope to help every student feel confident and secure in their knowledge. When they walk away from a lesson and smile and tell me, "I get it", I feel really good inside. Isn't that what our job is all about?
Here are couple of grouping organizers and math freebies I'm sharing with you!
Heart Attackz Addition and Subtraction Game
Also, check out Laura Candler's October Learning Freebies for more fun activities for fall!