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Skipping a year of math
Old 12-13-2011, 04:43 PM
 
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So we have a teacher who decided to take 2 second graders, skip second grade math, and put them into the thrid grade math book. She never discussed this with any of her coworkers, and they are pretty upset that they would be expected to teach these 2 children the next teacher's curriculum in addition to their own curriculum. The principal had not thought that by advancing them, it meant putting them into the next teacher's curriculum. She thought it would be enrichment and challenges.

But we have no testing in place to decided if a child can skip a grade, and there were other students who scored higher on the state assessment test. This is also a first year teacher.

Does anyone else out there accelerate students ahead, and if so, do you have a plan in place for the rest of the teachers? I mean, by the time they hit 6th grade, we don't have curriculum here for them. It just seems lazy and selfish to have made this decision without consulting any of the coworkers. What do you think?


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Old 12-13-2011, 07:25 PM
 
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Our district 'advanced' kids into the next year's curriculum for a few years until we hit the troubles you mentioned. It's not at all fair to the teachers that come next. We don't do it anymore. Teachers have to enrich - not just advance.

Do you have a first year principal too?
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First time this year
Old 12-13-2011, 08:46 PM
 
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My school pre-tests before each chapter. If a student gets 100%, we usually find enrichment things for them to do related to the same concept. However, this year, a few students in our grade (highest grade in the school) kept getting 100% on pre-test and after pre-test after pre-test, and their responses were so in depth and so good, the teacher met with the principal and they allowed acceleration. We are the oldest grade at our school so they went to the middle school and got their book. Next year, they offer different lefvels. So this year the girls are doing regular 6th grade math, but next year they will be in advanced 6th grade math, which new concepts for strong math students who have mastered the 6th grade curriculum.

In terms of what this does to the next year's teacher, I really feel that this SOMETIMES is part of differentiation, and if we are going to differentiate, we have to do some extra work sometimes. Yes, it's not ideal and not "fair", but that's our job. Enrichment is good, but sometimes the enrichment stuff is even too easy...sometimes they actually need advanced. I would never consider advancing mine until there was a consistent pattern of success and not just a mastery of the regular skills, but a mastery of the enrichment skills as well. As teachers, we will have students at different levels and we do have to meet their needs...that's a lot of work. I have 3 different math groups, 4 different spelling groups, and 8 different reading groups! That's just how spread out my kids are! It is a lot of prep., especially for a first year teacher, but due to the levels of my kids, I have to do it!
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Enrichment
Old 12-14-2011, 10:45 AM
 
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I have worked with accelerated students. As someone else mentioned, I gave a pretest before each chapter. If a student got an A on the pretest, I counted it as that student's chapter test score. I often had a group of 3-5 students who would get an A on the pretest, so I worked with those students as a group. Sometimes I assigned them material from the textbook I knew wasn't absolutely necessary (not on the state test) that I knew I wouldn't get to with the whole class. Other times I had activities for them to do that would deepen their understanding of a skill. I've found most textbooks include enrichment activities/worksheets that are great for this type of student.
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We do this...
Old 12-14-2011, 11:33 AM
 
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Beginning in second grade we look at who we can accelerate. In August we give all students the end of the year second grade test. If they score 85% or greater we then look at their MAP score and ask the previous years teacher for a recommendation. If the student meets the criteria they then flex to third grade for math. We continue to do this all the way through elementary. One Fifth grade teacher teaches 6th grade math and farms his students out to the other fifth grades. In 6th grade when they get to the middle school the accelerated students take 7th grade math. As 7th graders they take algebra and Algebra II as 8th graders (they go to the HS for this). I think it is great. There is no reason a student who knows the material in second grade should be stuck sitting there working problems they already know how to do. Enrichment seems look a good idea, but for me it was harder to enrich than to just use the curriculum for the next grade up. We have 8 classes of every grade level so that makes it easier to group the kids. We end up with between 20-25 that qualify each year. One teacher usually teaches the accelerated kids and sends her regular homeroom kids to other classes for math.


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We start
Old 12-14-2011, 12:18 PM
 
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advancing students in 3rd grade. The advanced students get 4th grade math using the 4th grade resource. When they get to 4th grade, they are taught the 5th grade math curriculum. In 5th grade, we use the 6th grade materials to teach math curriculum. When they get to middle school, they are put into advanced math classes. Our 3rd grade just started teaching 4th grade curriculum this year, but 4th and 5th grade has been teaching this way for years. Our middle school expects us to be teaching the 6th grade curriculum in 5th grade to advance students so they can have their advance classes. Many of the advance students make it to high school algebra by 8th grade which means they are ahead when they go to high school when it comes to math.
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Old 12-14-2011, 02:30 PM
 
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I don't agree with keeping kids back just because it isn't convenient. If we want our kids to succeed in life and use their talents to benefit our country, we should be giving them every advantage. As someone who sat in the back of the room and read while everyone else "caught up", I can also tell you that a little effort with these kids goes a long way.

As teachers we have so much work doing ridiculous things, so for once let it be actually teaching students who love to learn and can excel. This is not the thing to skimp on.
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Well...
Old 12-16-2011, 03:35 AM
 
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I also have many accelerated students in my class year after year. I agree that some kids could be advanced to the next grade level BUT I also recommend doing it unit by unit and making sure that the test they are given to allow this movement is VERY rigorous, not just the pretest we give everyone.

I find that these kids have many areas of deficiency if you give them a basic test that doesn't cover everything taught. They need to fill in any holes before you move them up.
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Who made the decision?
Old 12-16-2011, 06:13 PM
 
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Did the first year teacher do this on her own or was it the result of a discussion with the principal ("The principal had not thought that by advancing them, it meant putting them into the next teacher's curriculum. She thought it would be enrichment and challenges"). From what you wrote, it sounds as though she discussed it with the principal and the principal dropped the ball by agreeing without encouraging team communication.

I totally understand your frustration and concerns, but be careful of blaming the new teacher of being lazy and selfish. She actually seems to be trying to meet the needs of the students....maybe just not in the most appropriate way. Often principals will encourage new teachers to try their ideas without really thinking of the long term results.

In accelerating students, we do not teach the curriculum for the next year for the very reasons you stated. Instead we have them delve deeper into problem solving skills. We also encourage them to become masters of concepts (preparing oral and written "how-tos" of how to solve problems).

Are you all participating in Professional Learning Teams? If not, you may want to investigate this and try it out. Good luck!
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Accelerated Math
Old 12-16-2011, 09:08 PM
 
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Many of our first grade teachers allow the children to do accelerated math - problem is that the material is second grade. So many of our kiddies come to us in second grade already knowing our math curriculum. In one minute they are done with the math that you are still trying to explain to the other 3/4ths of your class. Now what do you do with them? We have discussed the delima of enrichment versus advancement. At some point you will be doing both.

If your thoughts are to keep the children at that grade level so they won't be a challenge for the next year's teacher, then are you meeting the needs of those children?

The Common Core Standards is the guiding force in many states - NOT the Math Textbook the districts are using. We have to get beyond this attitude of keeping everybody together and on the same page. You can enrich and provide the children with opportunities to delve deeper into various areas, but when that has been approached and students clearly understand, then you have to move beyond your grade level.

How can we deny a child who is craving to learn because math facinates them? I have one of those this year and his eyes light up with excitement when something new is there to challenge him. I get enthusiastic with my girls who are intrigued by a math concept and want to learn more.

If we want America's children to excell, then we need to let them. Make sure they fully understand the concepts and when they do then take them as far as you possibly can.

When my son was in first grade the elderly teacher told me, "Don't teach him at home. It makes our work harder." That was thrity-eight years ago and the same mindset still exists. My son wanted to learn and I wouldn't deny him. I won't limit my students in their desire to learn. I will just make sure that they have LEARNED, before they go on.

How? I use Math Workshop. I do my mini lesson with required activity/worksheet followed by three centers. During those center times, I pull students to work with whether struggling or excelling. Centers/activity packets are for everyone in that group rotation to select and do. I also have specialized packets for advanced students. It keeps me sane and helps me meet the needs of all my students.


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