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  1. #1
    Senior Member SS Rocks!'s Avatar
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    Default Strategies for Low Level Students

    I don't know what term your school uses, but ours uses "foundational". After two years of teaching only sixth grade academic and accelerated classes, I have been informed that I will officially be teaching foundational classes next year. I'm a little stressed about this , and it's only January. I have no experience with these students because our school has (at least until the end of this year) a team dedicated to these struggling students. It is amazing how much success they have had. The reason for my stress is that I want to continue the success they have had.

    I have talked to the teachers that are currently on our foundational team and they are set in their ways. They believe there is only one way to work with these students, which doesn't fit my style. In addition to your general suggestions, I'd like to know what you think about group work, hands-on projects, and discipline/management.

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2

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    Hey SS,

    In our school, students can be pulled for smaller group instruction by the resource teacher for LA and math, but mostly for Social and Science they are left in with the rest of the students in the general classroom. The strategies you use with students who are low level will kinda depend on what the nature of their learning issue is. Generally speaking, in the regular class we do a couple things to modify instruction and assessment to help students out.
    1. chunk information into smaller parts, for students to process easier
    2. provide graphic organizers for students to record information in point form
    3. modify tests by eliminating one answer from multiple choice questions
    4. read to students when possible
    5. copy notes for those who have difficulty writing
    6. do hands on activities whenever possible
    7. give only 2 or 3 pieces of instruction at one time
    8. allow more time to complete assignments
    9. where possible provide visual images to back up text or spoken information
    10. provide students choice in determining how they will show their understanding of the material

    I hope some of these ideas help!

  3. #3

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    What courses will you have with them?

  4. #4
    Senior Member SS Rocks!'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clix View Post
    What courses will you have with them?
    social studies (ancient world history)

  5. #5
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    LOL! I will be facing some of the same issues, beginning next week, when myself and the social studies teacher switch classes.

    Up until now, I have worked with the team that has the academically gifted and, for the most part, more focused students. The other group has no gifted students and, their teachers tell me, are a good deal "lazier" (their words) and less diligent. Neither do they have the kind of home support that my current group does.

    In our school, 6th graders get a semester (90 minutes per day) of science and then a semester of social studies.

    Alas...perhaps my illustrious "house of cards" will come tumbling down. It's been a great year thus far, as those who have read my posts can see. But maybe not....

    Some things I plan to do (and should actually have done a better job with at the outset of this year)

    • put much more emphasis on structure and on accepted procedures. That's something 6th graders need anyhow!
    • Do much more "show and tell" on those procedures. We used a spiraled notebook for everything. All our classwork goes into those notebooks. I need to SHOW students how to do that.
    • I do a LOT of hands on activities and plan to continue to do that, but there will be a fair amount of teacher demonstrations and all of our in-class labs/activities will be guided, step by step
    • Students like this (and their parents) are unaccustomed to being praised for the things they do right, rather than fussed at for doing wrong. I need to work harder at catching the "do rights" and making a big deal over that, even to the extent of calling parents to "brag" on their son/daughter


    This is just for starters. i will most likely come up with some additional strategies this weekend, while I am doing some preliminary planning (and wrapping up grading - a teachers job is NEVER quite done ) and, hopefully, mapping a strategy. Already done some of that, but I can see that I need to rework things a bit.

    I'm told the students in my new group are chomping at the bit to get into my class. Apparently I've gotten rave reviews from their friends in my current group. The social studies teacher is not as experienced as I and uses a lot of the more traditional methods. And there is certainly nothing evil about any of that; I used similar methods when I was a fairly young teacher, as well. Still, it's a difference. The students seem to prefer my ways. I've tried to impress upon them that none of us does things the same way. Alas...it has fallen on deaf ears, I fear. Eleven year olds can be like that.

    One thing I refuse to compromise on are my standards, though. In one of the current social studies classes, I was told, fully half the students have a failing grade and the main reason is that they just refuse to do any of the written work that is assigned. We write in science class, too, although much of it (almost all) is done in class.

    SSrocks, it is good that you have the attitude and outlook that you do. I've known a fair number of teachers who would have balked at or outright refused to do what you're being asked to do. Going from accelerated students to those who are academically challenged can BE a challenge. You are doing well to seek advice about how to do it now.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Spectre View Post
    I need to work harder at catching the "do rights" and making a big deal over that

    Great advice for any teacher out there, especially the one's resorting to "Screaming" for attention.

  7. #7
    Senior Member SS Rocks!'s Avatar
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    For many of the activities I do with my current classes, I put them in pairs or small groups. I was told "absolutely not, they can't handle it" by the current teachers on that team. Has anyone had experience with foundational level students working in pairs or groups?

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