We do flex grouping for math. I have the group of kids who scored highest on our pre-assessment for this unit, so I always plan to be able to take it farther than the knowledge they come in with. Based on their pre-assessment, the majority are coming in with a basic understanding of area.
However, I needed your reminder not to overload the lesson... That is what my nerves do to me whenenver I hear the words "formal observation."
Thank you for nudging me back on track!
First, I'm going to start off as you suggest, by working on differentiating area and perimeter. We'll do the regular vocab. notes that we start off with. (There's a big push to get our kiddos accostumed to notetaking right now.) After that, I'll add in a little movement for them. My kids love music and dance, so I think I'll get them going by adding a few moves to go with a rap song about area and perimeter that I found on Youtube.
Second, I will give them a sheet I made up with shapes on it to find the area of by counting how many Cheez Its fit inside the square or rectangle. I made a Smart Notebook file so we can check them together too.
Third, I have to have them do some indepedent practice in their math workbooks because our principal ordered them for us (again) this year. So I will have them do the first 5 problems for the lesson.
Fourth, students who finish their workbooks early, will be asked to find a way to determine the area of a square or rectangle that is faster than just counting up the square units. I will give them a picture of a square and a rectangle on grid paper that they will have to find the area of. They will have to write out their explanation using sentences or a formula, show how the math they used, and draw a picture to help explain their method. (We will share these ideas at the start of the next class session, in which we will calculate area using multiplication.)
Finally, at the end of class students will have to answer an area question and write one thing they learned and/or one question they have on a post it not and stick it to our exit ticket poster.
I know the fourth chunk there sounds like a lot, but I have to make sure that I show how I am challenging this group of kids and pushing them to think critically. So, I figure an inquiry activity like that is perfect for the kids who catch on to the area basics quickly.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping me to organize myself a little better! If I still sound off base, I'm always open to constructive criticism and friendly suggestions.