Thursday, June 26, 2014

Guided Math Book Study Chapter 5

Growing up, needs based grouping was different than what it is now.....Thank goodness  times are changing.  Years ago, or at least it seems like years, needs based grouping had a bad stigma attached to it.  Once you were in a group you stayed in that group and everyone knew who was in the “low” group.  Although that stigma is sometimes still seen, I don’t think most people would know that is what’s occurring if it is done correctly.  The book this week made a good point that just because some students excel in some areas of math, they may also struggle in others.  I found that in my own classroom this year, students who struggled with multiplication, division, and just overall number sense, seemed to do better with geometry and vice-versa. Personally, I like grouping my students as I teach, because I am able to focus on the students who really need the extra attention.  Some people may argue that the rest of the students are not getting direct instruction and that isn’t fair.  However, although they are not getting direct instruction during this particular skill or task, odds are, they will need extra attention at another skill and I will be able to spend that time with them when it is needed.  Now, I will say that by grouping students there is more planning and preparation that is required by the teacher to ensure that every student in whatever group they may be in are receiving adequate tasks to work on that do not become busy work. 

Data, data, data…… Ugh! Sometimes I get so tired of looking at data. Does anyone else feel like all you get done is looking at and analyzing data???  I DO!   However, I do think it has value.  I use “official” data, ISTEP scores, Accelerated Math results, and benchmark tests, mainly to get a “feel” for where my students may be.  I use more informal data, exit slips, conversations, practice problems, etc,  in my day to day teaching in order to assess how the students are doing on the specific skill we are working on to quickly note how I need to change my teaching minute by minute.  Although there is not one form of data that I use to group my students, I do feel like I use all of the ones I have mentioned at one point or another, and sometimes together, to help make my teaching, grouping, and assessing as beneficial and productive as possible for my kiddos. 

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