Monday, August 29, 2011

Keepin Them on Their Toes

I can't believe we started our third week of school already! It has been a busy but wonderful blur!  I have an amazing class this year but there are some challenges.  For instance the gap between my "high" students and "low" students is very extreme so I am having to make sure I am reaching all my babies and keeping the others challenged.  My co-worker, Brooke, and I have been working together to differentiate our stations in math and reading.  Even though my reading program is leveled, I still need something extra to keep high ones thinking.  One thing I am doing for my higher students is increasing the difficulty of some activities but including a challenge step for them.  The challenge usually involves some critical thinking. 
  I will get to some of my other challenges in later posts.  I am curious though- how do you keep your "higher" kids challenged?


  1. It can be challenging. I am in my fourth year of teaching advanced fourth grade, though the program is going to return to regular leveled classes next year. I am torn as to my opinion about it. So right now, I have the grand majority of the top 21 students in the grade level. A few are elsewhere. But besides that, my class is very high and very intelligent. They need to warm back up into "school mode", though, as it is an interesting time for all.

    I focus a lot on inquiry and higher-order thinking. Students write a lot in journals, and I have them turn to a partner to discuss with them often. I encourage them to gather vocabulary from various sources (cookbooks, architecture magazines, etc). I also bring in a lot of regular magazines and have a vast literature collection of 1,200 books (and encourage students to gather books from the school library as well).

    I could explain more, but sometimes it's hard to put into words. Pretty much, I do all kinds of things. When I have a "regular" classroom again, I plan on still teaching to the higher level because I know ALL students can benefit from there. I will just be slower and more thorough in some explanations with more direct instruction. With a whole group of higher students, you can expect them to be more independent. - Victoria