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Home : 2002 : Jul : 4

    working with the lower-end students
    By Cathy-Dee

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    I'll admit this is the group I find the most frustrating, but then again when they do catch on the most rewarding.

    I do think you have to reduce some of the workload and expectations for this group. For earlier grades such as K to 2, I feel it is important to at least have them learn as much of the basics as possible and for some it means they will need more than one year in that grade level.

    For grades 3 upwards sometimes it's reducing the number of questions or the type of work. I knew one student who could do the math work, etc., without too many problems, but if he had to copy the questions down first, he'd never get anything done. So the teacher modified her expectations and gave him a photocopied sheet of the questions. At this point it was more important for him to be able to do the math work than it was for him to be able to copy the questions off the board.

    With areas such as reading and writing it is simply finding books at their reading level and then lowering your expectations for their writing so that they can feel some success in both.

    I think it is also important to try to find programs within the school to assist these students whether it be some pull-out time, small group work, working with a parent volunteer, etc.,

    Now all of this depends on their abilities. I had quite a class this year. Only 18 students in grade 1 but they sure felt like 25 at times. Out of my class of 18 - 10 did very well and learned with little difficulty. 2 will be repeating grade 1 next year. Out of the 6 left - 2 could have done quite well, but trying to get work out of them was sometimes near to impossible. For these two students because they were more than capable but just lacked the interest and motivation I did expect the same amount of work, etc, and did not modify my program for them. For the other 4 I modified a few things, but overall pushed them to stay with the class. They worked hard but they did get to grade level by the end of the year.

    So you also have to know whether or not the student at least seems to be capable of doing the work and learning at the same speed and level as his/her peers.

    And as far as slow students go, sometimes having to stay in a miss a recess or two to catch up work or miss a bit of gym class to sit and finish up their assignment does wonders for the ones who just like to fool around and not work. My two I mentioned above when motivated could finish their work quite quickly.



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