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I haven't had groups for literacy & numeracy all year...

Discussion in 'Primary' started by gsm1380, Jul 2, 2011.

  1. Year 4...but everyone else at my school swears by them! In numeracy I give the input then set differentiated activities and the children can decide where to start (or I tell some of them) so "if you're feeling confident start on the blue section etc," or we have a lot of mixed ability pairings, so the children work together with just 1 partner. There is no "Ok the squares group - you won't understand the hard questions so make sure you start on the easy ones OK?" - because this is what grouping does isn't it?

    In literacy I let the children sit anywhere and just teach the lesson, my expectations are different and I will individually question children throughout the lesson but it's important for the LA children to hear the HA's talking about literacy and hearing them model work.

    Am I doing this right or should I just have table groups?
  2. Well our books are scrutinised every week and woe betide us if they can't clearly see 3 way differentiation for every lesson and any necessary additional differentiation for EAL so no, it definitely wouldn't work here. Having said that I've always taught in groups but allowed some fluidity between them when necessary. Good luck if it works for you and your school is happy with what you're doing and results are where they should be.
  3. Milgod

    Milgod Established commenter

    Are the children making good progress? Are they happy?

    Do what is right for your class. Only you can say if you are doing that or not.
  4. Exactly how I teach!! You do have groups, as they are grouped by task and try are just not in the same group everyday. It works well for afl and a told the boxes of a more personalised approach.
  5. Basically your approach is common sense. Unfortunately, a lot of heads assume teachers don't have it, so put systems and structures in place like grouping and setting to ensure differentiation, rather than the good teaching practice that you have. You recognize that children learn from each other and that children can differentiate themselves by selecting questions that challenge them. You're doing it right!
  6. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    The worst kind of grouping is like that yes.

    The worst kind of not grouping has the brightest children working through the easy 'blue' questions and then on to the middling 'red' questions before they even reach the vaguely challenging 'purple' questions. And they least able children struggling on the 'blue' questions while being able to see those around them far further ahead than they are.

    Anyone doing either of these is not serving the children well or 'doing it right' at all.

    As someone else already said, there is no right or wrong way. If your children are happy and confident learners and making excellent progress there is no need for you to change what you do, it is right. Doesn't mean other ways are wrong though.
  7. I use mixed ability groups as well. I have differentiated tasks, and let the children decide what suits them best. Obviously I guide them if they are way off, but usually they choose well. It puts them in charge of their learning, and helps them recognise where they are in their learning and what they need to do next to improve.
    I also find it works better behaviour-wise as the friendship groups that often grow around ability grouping year after year are broken up, and the classroom is far more inclusing and friendly.
  8. lardylegs

    lardylegs Occasional commenter

    I can't stand doing guided groups and only do it for observations and Ofsted.
    I usually pitch a whole class input and then give them differentiated tasks, often let them work in pairs, as I feel I get more work out of them this way.
  9. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

  10. razziegyp

    razziegyp New commenter

    Same as lardylegs and Msz- only ever teach in groups for performance management and Ofsted. Give differentiated tasks and sometimes let them work in pairs but also individually as I want to see what each one understands/can do.
  11. Exactly the same in my school, plus the children have different coloured exercise books to show clearly which group they are in. There is no chance of fluidity between different topics in literacy and numeracy, because once they have a "purple" or "blue" or "red" book, that is where they must stay. [​IMG]
    If I could go my own way, I'd have mainly whole class input, and allow the children to choose from differentiated tasks/resources, and then sit and work in mixed ability groups. I'd have guided groups once or twice a week for whichever children either need more input, or different input, or some extension, and I'd have a TA who was capable of taking a small group out of the room once or twice a week, to reduce numbers.

  12. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    so effectively your school condemns children to remain static and never progress to another level of ability?
  13. Have to say am slightly concerned that so many teachers appear to teach in one way for majority of time and put on an appearance of teaching in groups etc when being observed. Surely if a member of the SLT was to walk through the class at a non-arranged observation time they would realise this practise was different? This is not intended to be a criticism, if the children are progressing and it is working, then I am sure the senior leadership team would be pleased and would want to encourage the sharing of good practice with your colleagues. It is problematic if the results are not being achieved and the SLT are assuming you are teaching your lessons according to a school policy (?) while in reality that is not happening.
  14. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    Actually I should have been more selective with my quoting
    I work the "same way" (as in not guided groups) whether anyone is watching or not
  15. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    should add I am SLT andboth the head and SIP are happy how I work
  16. I like the idea of doing this but think its more practical with older children who have the ability to make sensible decisions about their work, and already fairly solid with the 'basics'.
    My Y1s would struggle to make the right decision, and I have children that cannot count to 20 and have little 'nounce' so they really do need directing. My more able it would probably work well for.
  17. razziegyp

    razziegyp New commenter

    I think these teachers feel that group work is not the only valid way to differentiate within a classroom but feel they have to nod to conformist expectations when being observed. For me, SLT wouldn't turn a hair that I'm not teaching in groups in my everyday practice- I have complete freedom and trust there, but they feel they have to observe the conventions and tick the boxes on the pro forma they fill in when they observing, so just like to hear the word 'groups' bandied around a little bit!
  18. Yes and no.
    Yes: Once you are that colour in literacy or numeracy, that is the colour you must stay for the year.
    No: Progress is closely monitored (no surprise there, then!) All children need to make 2 sublevels progress each year in Key Stage 2. So, whilst everyone is nicely progressing, the groups remain the same. Start off in the bottom group at the beginning of the year, and you'll still be in the bottom group at the end of the year, just hopefully 2 sublevels higher.

  19. razziegyp

    razziegyp New commenter

    But there are many children in many classes who make much more progress that 2 sublevels a year- what about them?????
  20. Msz

    Msz Established commenter

    I did think the new buzz words were "Closing the Gap" not maintaining it ...

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