You have assessed your students, you have the data, now what do you do? This was so overwhelming to me when I began teaching. We discussed small group reading and small group math in college, but until it was SUPPOSED to be happening in my own room did I truly pause to figure it out. Let me show you how you can improve your teaching using student data.
What Are You Measuring?
Ultimately you are using this data to identify which students might need additional interventions through RTI (Response to Intervention). The goal is to find students who are failing or at-risk of failing to make adequate progress and are most commonly administered for reading and math.
Using Student Data To Make Small Groups
When you get the class data back you will want to GROUP the students by ability. Now, remember I am talking about a small group math class or a small group reading class, not a whole group.
When grouping, it can be as simple as Got It; Almost Got It; Not Yet. Use the data and let’s not make this harder than it is. Often I would need to make two groups out of the middle one, Almost Got It. I would break it out like this:
*Group A – Got It
*Group B – Almost Got It (higher)
*Group C – Almost Got It (lower)
*Group D – Not Yet
I would make groups and classify them by colors, sports teams, animals… Use whatever your classroom theme is but do not call them Group One, Two, Three…
Training the Students
The next part is what can be called a circus act or organized chaos. It took me several years to figure this one out! You have each group doing something different (independent work, computers, centers) and one group at the TEACHER TABLE.
None of this happens overnight. You have to TRAIN them and model what to do at each station! This is where Harry Wong’s Book, The First Days of School: How to Be an Effective Teacher, comes into play! Practice, practice, and then practice some more!
I would show them how to log in to the computer, where the math menu was, where the passwords were located…anything associated with that rotation. I would introduce math boxes or reading tubs and demonstrate to the whole group how to pull them out, how to play, and then how to properly put them up. For independent time I would show them the activities tub, where the pencils were, and anything else associated with it.
I would not stop there! Then we would practice those three rotations for two or three days – over and over. You cannot teach this enough in the first few weeks of school! I promise you will thank yourself in November and March!! The goal is for it to run so seamlessly that if you walked out of the room they would not even notice!
Improve Your Teaching with Small Groups
I did not grasp the small group table my first year teaching. The Teacher Table is where the magic happens. Today, I would break down that group at my table even smaller to give one-on-one attention to the one who needed it. Your goal is to improve their level.
They may NEVER be on grade level; some do not ever achieve this and that is okay – BUT THEY HAVE TO MAKE GAINS. No one explained that to me. They have to make gains from their own score. In a grade level meeting, they always talked about making gains and I thought it HAD TO BE everyone on grade level. On grade level or above is the unicorn classroom!!!
Everyone has to make gains on THEIR personal data chart. I put so much pressure on myself to get the whole class above grade level and if I had focused on INDIVIDUAL students and let them make gains against themselves, I would have felt some success! Instead, I was constantly in battle with myself because everyone was not on grade level.
Each school is different so please learn from my mistake. Students learn in different ways and the small group table is the best way to help each student succeed! You ultimately have to do what is best for each student! One size does not fit all!!!
More Ways To Improve
Check out this post for more about second grade and student data. Are you looking for small group reading activities? I love doing BOOK CLUBS and it is so easy to differentiate when they are in small groups! Here are a few of my favorites: