Keeping “I GET IT!” & “WHAT?” Students Engaged

A special education teacher assists one of her...

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Every teacher knows that students learn at different rates.  We know that students need their own time to process the content that they are presented. The problem is that in many cases they are required to move at specific times to keep up with the scope and sequence of the class. This causes problems for some students.  While some are ready to move on early and are stuck waiting for the class others are just not grasping certain concepts and need more time.  Both scenarios cause students to be disengaged with school. This dilemma really seemed to be a problem with my students this year.

Sound familiar? We all have those years where we have two kinds of students the “I get it!” kids and the “What?” kids.  So it has caused me to rethink my delivery method and class organization.  Through some experimenting I came across a method this week that does show some promise. I call it pod learning.

My room is broken up into three groups. I have them color coded by rugs on the floor, red, black and green. At the beginning of each unit I give a pretest to see where my students are at. Depending on how they score on that test they are placed into each of the pods. The black groups is for kids who are struggling with the concept. Green students have a basic knowledge of the content and red who seem to have a good understanding of the concept. Once they are placed in their groups each pod has scaffolded instruction to their specific needs. Black will receive a lot of my attention and I will move them along slowly while green and red can move more at their own pace. My scope and sequence has not changed I have just added some enrichment activities to the green and red groups.  In some cases my red students get into their own course of study on the subject. This process really seemed to work well over the past couple of weeks and has led me to begin looking at refining this system even more.  While this is not true differentiating instruction it is allowing students to move at their own pace and has not created an excessive burden as far as planning my lessons. I am optimistic about this concept and wish to hear your thoughts on this little experiment. Drop me a line and let me know what you think.

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2 Responses

  1. Sounds like a wonderful system. Kudos to you for pinpointing a problem and working out a strategy to deal with the problem.
    How do you challenge and stimulate your top group with much of your time dedicated to your ‘what’ students? I find this aspect a challenge for me.

    • My upper end students are what really got me thinking about this concept. Out of my three groups, one is spoon fed the next has just a bit of structure and the advanced students have no structure. The advanced kids are left to discover things on their own I provide guiding questions or a problem to solve and they have to figure out the rest. I also used them a tutors for the first two groups. It seemed to really work well over the past few weeks.

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