6th/8th Grade Math Resource Classroom HELP!!
Hello all. This year I'm teaching a 6th/8th Grade Math Resource Class. I'm having a horrible time with it so far and was wondering if any of you have any ideas on what to do. I have gone to my principal and she says to teach the 8th grade concepts and perhaps the 6th graders can pick some up. I'm thinking this isn't a very good idea.
I had plans of working with the 6th graders the first half of the class and then switching midway through. However, I only have them for an hour and it takes about that long to teach just one of the groups due to the ability levels. I'm sure if I don't come up with a plan soon I will be crazy by the end of the year. Thanks in advance for your help and suggestions.
Well you have a tough job. Last year I had math grades 9-12, students with no skills all the way to Algebra 2!
I think you can start each day with a do now that all kids can do and you all work it together some days and others, they do on their own. Make it easy to start with. Maybe a page of calculator math or word problems that you all work out together. Also get standarized test prep questions. You can put a number of different questions on the board or overhead and then have the students do 2 or 3. They will pick the ones they want or CAN do!
Look at each kid's IEP to see exact math levels. Then the fun begins... you have to teach them at the proper level. I had 15 different math levels in one class. It was wild, but I had an assistant who helped me with the lower kids.
I would have packets of work for each kid, or assignments out of my textbooks for each kid. I'm at the high school and we use the AGS textbook series... from Life Skills Math clear to Alg 2.
Maybe have a hands on math day on Fridays or math videos...
Hang in there. It is so cool when you get a kid to finally "get it"
High School Transition Teacher
Do you have an assistant?? If so - hand over some of the responsibility to her. If not - you've got a tough year ahead of you. Packets of worksheets are good in that situation, but I always feel like the kids need more actual instruction and just doing worksheets that they already know how to do isn't what they need. Sometimes you just have no choice - just do the best you can. It sounds like you've been placed in a tough situation, so just make the best of it and go from there.
Have you looked into the Accelerated Math PRogram by Renaissance Learning? Your school MAY already be using it in some regular classroom. It is similar to the AR program. You test the kids to see where they are grade wise in math. You then assign them an appropriate library. As math is usually a spiral, you can teach the basic lesson--the eighth grade would need review of the sixth I am sure--and let the sixth start the practices while the eighth gets the next step instruction on the same topic. The program is all computerized so assignments are given and graded automatically and grade tests, practices, and reviews separately for your grade book ease. With all the other paperwork you do, it is nice to have THIS part under control.
Google Renaissance LEarning to check it out and check to see if your school has it already. If not, go begging to see if there is some special needs funding at your school. And I just assume you have an aide in your classroom, too, as I cannot imagine teaching a special needs without one. The program comes with training CDs, etc, and I can cyber help you set it up unless you get a really updated program. Ours is about ten years old, but it is still usable as you can mix and match objectives from grade levels three through algebra.
I forgot to mention that other than the STAR testing, you only need one computer for this program. Even then, if you don't have too many kids, they can test one at a time. Low kids usually can test in ten minutes, the ones who test at a high school level take about twenty or thirty. Kids fill in a bubble sheet to complete an assignment, scan their card, and a follow up assignment or the next objective practices are printed out. After three weeks, a percentage of the practice problems are review of previous ones. Your management program tells you when they are ready to test on an objective and you jsut tell the computer to print the kids out a test. They get a separate card to bubble in for tests, but they just scan it when it is done and you have instant results. In our district, schools that use this program excel in state testing. All of our sixth grade special needs kids who used the program last year PASSED the REGULAR end of year test. (As a math teacher, I personally don't like using the program in my regular math classes except as remediation, enrichment or test prep because it is multiple choice based and I believe in...well, we won't go into that. Sometimes you just gotta do what's gotta be done!) I just introduced one of our self contained special needs teachers to this program. He had no idea we had it available at our school! So do check with a regular math teacher who has been there for a while and will know. Our new teachers don't know we have it unless somebody thinks to tell them.
Thanks for all the suggestions. I spoke with our media specialist and she said we don't have AR Math. She let me know it was an expensive program and of course the money isn't there.
We're in the 7th or 8th week of school now and things are still a little crazy. If I don't do something soon I fear I will be crazy by December.
Ask your principal if the money for AC math is available. Sometimes you gotta go all the way to the top.
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