On Intervention

At my school I have time during the school day twice a week for intervention–students have a study hall Monday through Thursday, and I proctor two days and I can pull students for tutoring the other two days. Over the past few months, if I took a few minutes to prepare, I would pull up an old classwork that I know a student struggled on (usually based on an exit slip, sometimes quiz or test), reteach, and have student practice a few on their own. If I didn’t prepare, I would help the student with his/her homework.

Post from Michael Pershan, in turn from Frank Noscheese, on proactive intervention that looks ahead, pre-teaching rather than trying to fix old problems.

This really struck a chord for me. As a first year teacher, I think I came in with a sort of deficit model of learning as I got to know my students. Johnny can’t add mixed numbers, Sara can’t divide mixed numbers. But the number of things students can’t do is dwarfed by the number of things they can, if we show them what they’re capable of.

I’ve also been struck by how many skills we think of as basic skills that aren’t necessary to access math higher up the ladder of standards. There are key building block tasks for any given objective–but they don’t span the last year, or even the last month, of curriculum.

Plan for proactive intervention (whenever I can make time for it, I’m currently in a spiral of chasing kids around for makeup work during study hall)–

1. Review building block task for future objective. Don’t attempt to teach it if student doesn’t show mastery–probably not realistic. Instead, make a note and adjust the questions they’re asked in the future, and make that student my first stop during independent work.

2. Pre-teach future objective. Focus on concepts–I worry that my lower-skilled students are falling further behind because they don’t try to make sense of new math, they’re just memorizing new rules that are (in their minds) arbitrary and endless. Try to give future objectives a conceptual foundation, before getting into any procedure.

3. Have student practice objective on their own before we’re done.

Goals for the intervention:

1. Lower-skilled students have successful classes that start contributing to a growth mindset around math

2. These students gain conceptual knowledge that will create enduring understanding

3. Increase engagement and participating of lower-skilled students to get them more involved in class

4. Build relationships with these students

Cool. Three weeks til winter break. Go!

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