" We want to have time to work with our struggling students and to scaffold their learning. We want to challenge those students who demonstrate their understanding quickly and are ready to move on. We want each and every student to feel challenged, and yet supported, in their mathematical learning."
That just about sums it up, doesn't it? :)
That's exactly what we strive to do in our classrooms. Small groups can help that dream become a reality. Chapter 5 was filled with a LOT of good information, so I've picked a few pieces of information to highlight with you today.
Just like with whole group, there's pros and cons to small groups as well. Personally, I think the the advantages far outweigh the negatives!
Advantages of Small Group Instruction:
1. Small groups allows for flexibility
2. Teachers are better able to address specific needs
3. Increased communication between peers
4. Teachers can monitor behavior more successfully
5. Teachers can identify and address misconceptions more quickly
6. Teacher are better able to assess conceptual understanding
Disadvantages of Small Group Instruction:
1. More Intensive planning
2. More Independent student work
3. Increased need for an established routine
What types of activities work well in small groups?
1. Differentiating lessons
2. Teaching the "hot spots" of the grade ( a grade's focus standards)
3. Using manipulatives
4. Using formative assessments to "fill in the gaps" or misconceptions
5. Activities that are engaging, thought-provoking, and encourage work on the Mathematical Practices
There are many different kinds of data that guide me into creating my small groups:
- Teacher observation and notes
- District benchmark tests
- Exit and Entrance Tickets ( Formative Assessments)
I want my small groups to be purposefully organized-to accomplish this, I must use data to form my instructions.
One of my favorite ways to gather data is by incorporating entrance and exit slips into daily lessons.