All teachers know that students don’t have a lot of extra time in the classroom so it’s important to know exactly where they are in terms of skills and comprehension of basic concepts.
I conduct individualized assessments or interviews in order to design individualized learning plans for my students. With this knowledge, teachers are able to identify deficiencies and apply strategies such as booster groups and quick individualized attention to fill in the holes and maximize class time.
I enlists the help of a range of school staff, from the principal to the custodian, to work directly with my first graders to help bring each student up to the appropriate skill level.
My determination to bring as many resources to bear to improve student skill levels demonstrates to my students that learning is a partnership and a product of the consolidated efforts of many stakeholders.
What I did well…
In this presentation I was pleased that my participants gained an understanding of the practice of identifying missing prerequisite academic skills and developing personalized “booster” groups for each student to address these missing skills. The participants saw how conducting a pre-assessment would allow a teacher to assess students’ skills, identify where pre-requisite skills may be missing, and to develop a plan to help re-teach and develop those identified skills. The participants also saw the need to think outside the box when it came to finding the time and resources to work on re-teaching skills. By sharing the idea of using non-teaching staff, specialists, and parent volunteers, the participants were able to gain an understanding of how I offer booster group support to students without having to pull them out of class.
What I would do more of, better, or differently…
I would have given more time for the participants to think of their own practices. The participants should have had more time to identify screening tools that they could use with their own students. I would have then given them more time to brainstorm how they could use the results to develop booster group type activities, and to think about who they could identify (in their school and community) to volunteer with these booster groups. I feel this would have allowed the teachers to leave with an initial brainstorm for their own practice in place.
I still want to grow in this practice by…
I would like to model how this type of practice could be used in other academic areas, the arts, as well as the social curriculum. I think the opportunity to offer students small moments to work on needed skills within a small group or 1:1 opportunity would be both rewarding and beneficial. The development of a “resource” of ideas and approaches would allow for this personalized learning to be spread across a students’ day, year, and educational experience.
About Tommy Young
My name is Tommy Young. I teach 1st and 2nd grade at Waitsfield Elementary School. I am entering my 19th year of teaching. I started my career teac...