By Millicent Duncan. 4th Grade Math. Published at Wednesday, November 11th, 2020 - 06:03:40 AM.
Intervention Intervention is usually something touted as what will help schools in crisis. The current wave of instructional approaches are called "Response to Intervention" or RTI. This approach uses programs that have been "researched" and "proven effective", a major component of the No Child Left Behind approach to education reform. Regardless of what level the instructional needs of the child are, the teachers read directly from scripts developed for the research that proved the approaches to be effective and use materials, activities and text passages designed to go along with those scripts. The point of it all is to focus attention on an instructional process that has been already been effective. The problem is that the assignments may be correctly executed, but they may still not be understood or mastered by students. The primary reason that students do not achieve under this approach is that what is being taught is developmentally too difficult for them to master. They may memorize every word, every fact, but the rote memorization cannot be applied to similar words or facts in different situations. The problem remains the same: children are not always developmentally ready for what schools narrowly presume the "average child" should master. The 4th grade student reading at 2nd grade level experiences the 4th grade materials. Is that child likely to read above 2nd grade after this type of instruction? It is highly unlikely, because the original problems concerning readiness remain. Prevention
I used some strategies that had proven successful in the past. This included going back to basics... checking to see what each child DID know, and what the specific gaps were for each student. All of the boys knew the letters of the alphabet and had some beginning knowledge of consonant sounds. Each could read just a few words. We started there, at their instructional level, with games and activities that I created as I tried to teach words with the CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) short vowel sound pattern. I was amazed at how difficult it was for these 10 and 11 years old boys to put letters and sounds together in this simple CVC pattern.
Heres what I observe. They effortlessly pass the "leadership" opportunities to each other and build on each others ideas in ways that we seem to forget as we grow up and become leaders or members of teams. They actually listen as they add new thoughts. Do they occasionally go off topic and on to personal tangents? Of course. But they get back on track and give helpful ideas to each other. Theres innocence, curiosity, simplicity, honesty and a pure desire to help each other. It is a powerful reminder of how complicated we tend to make things as we grow up, both in our personal lives and as leaders. Does everything really need to be as hard and complex as we make it?
Some other ideas also include finding out what kinds of materials magnets can go through such as felt paper, newspaper, construction paper, and an experiment to see if ants can find their way back to their ant hill if you move them a distance away. Another nice thing about science projects for this age group is that theres not a lot of materials involved and the results are usually able to be seen if not right away, then very soon after the project has been started. Projects like this are great for fourth graders because it makes learning fun and they can do most of it on their own which gives them a great sense of accomplishment.
The predominance of reading and writing are of informational materials, evaluating the content, forming opinions and persuading. Never are students asked to read or write for entertainment; the pure joy of reading or writing is never mentioned. Forget about humor! A second emphasis within the Common Core ELA standards is college-and-career readiness. Because of this things are all geared toward businesses. Students are asked to work in teams, to manage technology, to negotiate opinions and try to persuade using reason. They have to work with independence, writing for several audiences, tasks, purposes and among various disciplines. They handle facts competently, both researching material and understanding facts; they quickly proceed to evaluation and critique of factual material. As soon as they give opinions, they back them with specific facts and strong evidence. All the while they work collaboratively and incorporate technology regularly. A balanced view is required for team work and they also should respect other perspectives and cultures.
Once you have that information, work backwards. Assume that the skills and knowledge levels will be in place by the end of the year, and then determine when you will need to build each skill into the academic year. Depending on the subject you teach, this will take different forms, but dont feel "married" to the scope and sequence of the textbooks suggested order. Select the points that certain skills need to be mastered, and then work backwards to build in the lessons and topics that will build those skills in or that knowledge base at the right time. You may be surprised to find that in some cases, the suggested order of the textbook can be adjusted to make your lesson plans flow more smoothly in your school for your specific classroom and for the strengths and weaknesses of the specific class you teach.
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