Wednesday, October 03, 2012

What would YOU do??

I have 4 sections of Algebra 2. My smallest section has 17 students, but it also has the largest gap. I have the brightest students in there - students who want to learn math, are enthusiastic about it, and do well with mathematics. They are extremely motivated. I also have students who are not very motivated, who complain I am going too fast (even though I am actually going at a much slower rate that I probably should be), and who are not as strong as other math students. The students who aren't as motivated actually seem to resent the students who do well and are motivated.

Although I do try to do grouping with them, unlike most of the students in my other classes, when the groups are of mixed ability, the students who struggle don't necessarily want help from the students who know what they are doing. We did a relay in class to review this week and I said that all students had to have the problem worked out before I would check their boards (and that I would be checking all of the boards) and I had students who would not even copy down what was on the other boards. Now, as a veteran teacher, I do recognize that is a two fold issue - not only is it an issue of not learning, it is now a discipline issue. I would like to deal with it from the not learning aspect rather than the discipline side first, with the hope that I can avoid the discipline issue.

Any suggestions? Please leave them in the comments. Thanks. :-)


Anonymous said...

Argh...I can't stand when a group of unmotivated students drag down the class environment.

One thing I have done is given a group test and arranged the groups by homework percentage. The students who hadn't done their homework all had to sit together...when they all tried relying on each other...that made a bit of an impact.

I also look at all an unwilling student's grades in general. Are their patterns of poor work on other classes? I know you don't want to make it disciplinary, however, when students know you are talking about them with other students that helps too.

Finding their "currency" is key. Is it using their headphones? Is it a free homework pass? Do they NOT want you to talk to a coach? (If I can, I start with the coach). If they get a B average they can choose their own seats?

I hope you get lots of comments...I dislike annoying students, and I dislike feeling invisible more!

Good luck...stop by my math blog!


Simplifying Radicals said...

That's a tough question. I'm not going to pretend that I have any answers, but here are a few suggestions:

I remember one course a took back in the day, and the professor told us to introduce students to group work in small amounts. We were instructed to start with partners so that the students felt comfortable with one student before being thrown into a larger group.

I remember someone blogging about a boss/secretary activity. The students are in pairs and the secretary is the only one who does the writing, but can only write what the boss tell him to write. This way they are forced to communicate.

Good luck! Let us know how things turn out.

Nick Gerhard said...

Have you thought about flipping your class? It might be worth looking into. The kids that get it, could move quickly through the easier material or go more in-depth on topics that they understand. The kids that are struggling would have the lessons to refer back to, and use for review. It would be some work to get started, but could work in a diverse group such as yours. Also, if you just use something like Khan Academy (yikes, did I just say that) for the videos, you become more of an organizer for your students and help them along the way. Just a thought, and if you have questions about how to get started, let me know. GOOD LUCK!!!