Monday, November 5, 2012

Targeted Practice.....

So at my school this year we stripped 3 minutes from each class in an eight period day to create a Homeroom where 4 days/week are dedicated to silent reading.  (The other day is meetings.)  As a side note this change has played havoc with me all quarter, I am just getting used to it now.

I do not get a homeroom class, instead this time is for RtI (response to intervention).  This is time where students who are struggling can be pulled to my room for small group or individual work.  And so far this is working.  When there are students that need help I can pull them and get 20 minutes of focus on a concept or misconception.  It really works well for students who are putting in solid effort but need a little more.  This week I pulled some students that aren't putting solid effort in and it worked well too.  The question I struggle with is "When to pull a student for help?"

A student that does the work, puts in solid effort - is easy to decide when to pull, at the first critical sign of struggle you pull them.  Because of the effort of the student as a teacher I can quickly tell what is happening and what should happen next (usually).  The student who does not put effort in, copies homework, just will do anything to be done is so much harder to decipher!  So on a test a less than studious student will not be able to do a problem, must likely due to lack of practice.  Then I struggle to decide "Is it time for this student get extra help or will they get it?"  In the beginning of the year my answer was to just handle the students I know had issues that I could identify.  The other students I waited for more information - but what I learned that the lazy become the lost.

Now I have evolved to pulling students as they show struggle whatever the reason for targeted practice, but not on homework.  The practice is in addition to the homework.  This helps me with the problem about when to pull.  The studious student has really tried the homework and needs something different, practicing homework is not going to help.  The less studious can get more practice and I can still expect homework to be completed - so the time does not become extra homework time.  I also only pull students whose grades are below expectation.

Any way my lesson is that I don't care about a student's attitude or laziness or whatever.  My job is to have them understand how to do math and problem solve for the future.  These are basic skills and I cannot just let a student not get them because "I don't feel" like the student is trying.....