I have this idea, but it requires my district to spend money. Like hiring-an-additional-math-teacher kind of money. So, I had better come up with a convincing argument to see my idea come to fruition.
I have this idea to change the way we schedule and group students in math class. I would like to try a pilot program with CP Algebra 1 (they are the students who have to take our state exams). The students would have their Algebra class all scheduled at the same time. This way we could easily switch up classes, groups, activities, lessons, etc.
For example, all the CP Algebra 1 students take a pre-test on a certain topic. From there the teachers can plan how to proceed. They could regroup the students homogeneously. One teacher could take the students who scored low on the topic and need more assistance, another teacher could take the 'middle students' and work with them, and another teacher could take the students who seem to know what they're doing and work on enrichment. They could also regroup the students heterogeneously. The teachers could groups students so that there is one strong student in each group.
Assuming the total amount of students isn't too large, we could hold a whole group lesson/activity in the LGI room (Large Group Instruction). I see review games like kahoot or socrative taking place and each teacher could play a role during these activities.
We have SBG and RTI in our district and I believe this model would integrate seamlessly with these two initiatives. Those students who are not successful on a topic could be grouped together and provided more support. Those who are successful can work on a project or activity to gain a deeper understanding.
There's also the option for research. Teachers could regroup students as evenly as possible and complete different lessons/activities on the topic and compare results to see which method was most successful.
We know that students are more engaged in their education when they have more control over it. The teacher could create lessons/activities and allow students to pick which one(s) that want to participate in.
Why an Additional Math Teacher?
If this were to be done correctly, the teachers involved would need time to collaborate. Usually, when we ask for something like this we are told that we could be scheduled the same prep period. It sound greedy when we say that we can't give up our prep period every day to collaborate with each other, but it's true that we some individual time too. We need our prep periods to call parents, make copies, talk with other colleagues, attend meetings, grade papers, create lessons for our other classes, and attend to other paperwork. I also use my prep period to stay connected to other teachers online through twitter, blogs, and other online PD.
In my district, we teach 6 classes and have 1 prep. I'm proposing 5 classes, 1 prep, and 1 collaborative period for the teachers involved in this program. Out of those 5 classes, 1 is the collaborative class. Then of course, since there are multiple teachers teaching 1 less class, there is a need for another teacher to pick up those classes.
The question begs, "What will the teachers do during this collaborative period?"
The teachers will create lesson plans, activities, and projects. They will review benchmark exams, pre-tests, exams, and other formative assessments. They will share successes and failures in order to move forward. They will work together to create dynamic students groups. They will hold parent-teacher conferences together. Notice the common denominator here: TOGETHER!!
Have any of you participated in something like this? Can you poke some holes for me?