Every Student

January 28, 2014 | 1 Comment

How do I meet the various needs of every student in the classroom?

Have you ever found yourself pondering this question?  Have you been evaluated and your principal asked, how can you demonstrate that all students are engaged in the lesson or how can you assess if learning is taking place?

Ever said, I’m not sure…

Before being a principal, I’m not sure I could have answered this question effectively.  I taught, students learned, I guided, they practiced, I assessed, they answered.  But what did I do to make sure that all students learned in their own way in the classroom?  Today as I was walking rooms, I saw a common theme.

It wasn’t necessarily in scaffolding the lesson or creating different choice boards or activities for students, it was merely by posing a question that was DOK level 3 and giving students the same material to work with and letting them develop questions themselves.

The following is a general summary of a lesson today in 6th grade math. Students were being introduced to the concept of ratios.  They created a KWL chart and filled out what they knew and what they wanted to know.  They wrote things like, it’s comparing two things, it’s a fraction, it has a colon between numbers, etc.  The two questions asked were what is a ratio and how do ratios relate to fractions.  In order for students to understand and answer this question, they truly needed to understand the concept of what a ratio is.  The unique thing about ratios is that unlike fractions, ratios can be part to part, as well as, part to whole.  Fractions are parts to a whole.  Students in the classroom worked through different examples of ratios.  They compared girls to boys in the class (12:17), girls compared to whole class (12:29), and boys compared to whole class (17:29).   They discussed a word problem with partners and gave the various answers as prompted by the questions. They explained their answers and discussed evidence of parts and whole. Here’s the great part…  then, they were asked to take out their science book and look at a paragraph.  The students were paired and asked to come up with questions that could be posed about ratios based on the paragraph that contained the following information:

Number of Words in the Paragraph:  67

Number of Sentences in the paragraph:  3

Paragraph:  1

The students were turned loose to create their own questions.  Here are some examples of the questions they came up with; some of the questions you could have expected.  What was the ratio of words to sentences?  What was the ratio of sentences to paragraph?   What was the ratio of words to the paragraph?

The next questions are where it got interesting.  Remember they were asked to create their own questions and provide the answers:  What is the ratio of commas to periods?  What is the ratio of 4 letter words to 5 letter words?  What is the ratio of capital letters to lower case letters? What is the ratio of letters to words?  What is the ratio of words to letters? What is the ratio of lowercase to all letters?

Do you see what happened?  The problem posed asked them to come up with their own questions, it never identified, how hard or easy it had to be.  The students discussed with their partners and then discussed whole class.  Was everyone engaged? you betcha!  Did everyone understand the concept? you betcha!  Were students able to work at their own ability level on grade level concepts?  You betcha!  Did learning occur?  ABSOLUTELY!  The exit card asked them to fill in what they had learned during the lesson on their chart.

The beauty of what I watched, struggling students were supported, all students were working, and higher students were given the opportunity to push themselves and provide quality examples for the entire class!  Success for every student!!!!!




1 Comment so far

  1.    Tracy Watanabe on February 13, 2014 4:53 am      Reply

    So simple, and so powerful! Thanks for sharing!

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