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KS3 Low Ability

Discussion in 'Mathematics' started by billcarson, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. billcarson

    billcarson New commenter

    Hi ya,
    been at my school since September and I teach 4 classes, 3 of which are bottom sets. In one of my year 7 classes I have children at a year 3 level up to low year 7 level.

    I'm struggling with differentiation over such a large range, also finding it very frustrating about lack of motivation from most of the children and I come out of most of their lessons feeling like I've worked so hard to try to get them to do some work. I've been coming out of a lot of lessons being quite negative and need/want to change this.

    I'm toying with the idea of grouping children by their interest/effort levels and focusing my efforts on the ones that are actually trying and wanting to get better. Was also thinking of doing some sort of differentiated worksheet folder by topic to allow the pupils to choose what level they work - or for me to direct different ability groups to which difficulty they should be doing.
    Any help, suggestions or what has worked for you/your school is much appreciated.
  2. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think you need to keep working on finding ways to motivate those year 7s. If you write them off as "not trying" now, then they're not going to improve, and there's another four years before they leave.

    You need to get even the weakest experiencing success, and use plenty of rewards. The usual merit systems don't come in small enough units for these kids - what I often did was to give stars on a chart or in their book for the smallest things (being ready at the start of the lesson, bringing equipment, each task or even half-task completed), and then six stars (or whatever seems reasonable in your school's context) could be converted to a merit.

    Differentiation is obviously key, and choosing which task they do for themselves may help. The problem with doing too much that is worksheet-based is that you've probably got some very low reading levels in there, so you need to bear that in mind as you build up your stack of suitable resources.

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