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high level students
Old 11-19-2011, 06:42 AM
 
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I am wondering how you challenge your high students. I have 6 this year who are done quickly and correctly. I have activities for fast finishers, but I need a system that enriches what they are learning without a whole different set of lesson plans each week. Can anyone help? (I don't want them doing games while the rest of the class is quietly working.)


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quiet games?
Old 11-19-2011, 08:21 AM
 
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I work at a high performing school. We have a lot of advanced kiddos, but of course we also have those very low and average kids, too.

What I've done is create a "I'm done, now what?" anchor chart. It lists specifically subject by subject what kids can do during each section of the day. Word study, math, science, and social studies. (Reading and writing are a workshop approach, so there's really no "finishing" there which is what's so beautiful about the workshop)

My kids always know exactly what to do when they are finished. We have two guiding rules that we used to create our anchor chart: 1) during each given subject, we will ONLY work on that subject. So during math, we can only be doing math. I don't think it's advantageous for students who finish their math in 15 minutes to then pull a book out. 15 minutes of math is not enough, even for an advanced math student. and 2) Is this activity making me smarter? We talked about how the math games are leveled and that they need to be choosing games that they can do, but that are not too easy. Just like they learn how to choose "just right" books, they also need to work at their "just right level" in other areas. If they have done that activity a hundred times and could do it with their eyes closed, it's no longer making them smarter and they need to do something else. When I notice a student working on an "easy" game or activity when I know they could do more, I say pointedly, "Is what you're doing making you smarter?" to which they can either tell me yes and give me a reason (maybe they come up with a new variation or had some struggle I didn't know about) or more often they smile and say, "I guess not" and they put the activity away and make another choice.

We talk a lot about the purpose of school and that every thing we do during work time should be making us smarter. I do have some math games (mostly using playing cards) that the kids can do. They love them. They are independent, and they are quiet. If they do not play the games quietly or correctly, then they lose the privilege. I rarely have that happen.

They've gotten very good at applying those two guidelines and they will often approach me and say, "Can I practice multiplication facts on my whiteboard? It's not on the chart, but it is math, and it would be making me smarter." My answer is, "Sure, let's add it to the chart."

They also can use the computers to research famous mathematicians, etc. We started out with about five activities for each subject but, with their help, we've built up quite a list of things to do.

Students should never be bored at school.
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Old 11-19-2011, 02:08 PM
 
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I, too, have quick finishers who do well in their subjects. Some enjoy reading but I feel they need a REAL challenge like the Genius Club approach. The problem is that they still need adult supervision. There is just me and I have to work with my slow finishers or we willl not get through the material we have to cover. I am worn thin trying to meet the needs of all my students and deal with major behavioral problems.
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Thanks!
Old 11-19-2011, 03:20 PM
 
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Sounds awesome! Do you have a website or source for where you found the independent and quiet math games? I have a similar approach in my room, but most of our math games are partner games meaning 1) you can't play until someone else finishes 2) it gets really noisy 3) the other students want nothing more than to be sprawled out on the floor playing with their peers too! I do love how games really lend themselves to quick differentiation and are not just extra busy work- just don't love the management aspect.

Thanks!
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Old 11-20-2011, 02:20 PM
 
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Could you share some of your initial five activities that were put on the anchor chart for math? And then which ones were added by students - this would help me start my own list.

I am determined to reach all students.


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Old 11-27-2011, 04:54 PM
 
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I would also like a copy or picture of what your math anchor charts look like. I'm anxious to start Daily 5 Math.
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