Teachers at Emerson are learning about the best ways that we can target instruction to help our students. They are discovering that informally grouping and regrouping students in a variety of ways throughout the school day can make students more productive and their jobs easier. We are using strategies that provide differentiation for our students. Flexible grouping is one of those strategies.
Teachers share with each other what works in their classrooms and with different students. They share strategies so that all students benefit from the variety of learning styles that are displayed in each classroom. Students are grouped and regrouped according to specific goals, activities, and individual needs. Teachers have created PLCs (Professional Learning Communities) with their grade level teams and focus their meeting time on meeting the needs of their students. They discuss assessment results, successful instructional strategies and other items to help them focus their instruction with their students in mind.
Each grade level team has specific times for literacy and math that allow them to provide flexible grouping so that our students are given their curriculum at their instructional level. Each grade level spends time assessing students so that they know what they need the most. MAPS assessments, unit tests, quizzes, benchmark assessments, local assessments, classroom performance, AIMSWEB, and other artifacts all are used to assess where our students are in their performance so we can target our instruction to what they need.
Flexible grouping can be seen in guided reading and math. Teachers meet with reading and math groups that are grouped specifically to reflect our student’s reading and math levels and target instruction for what is being studied that week. Center activities correlate with the weekly activities and students use various strategies that they learn in guided reading or math or during whole class instruction. Different teachers and assistants provide instruction for our students to help them maximize their learning potential.
Sometimes teachers collaborate and form flexible groups that include all of the classrooms in the grade level. This provides more opportunities to accommodate the instructional goals of our students. The range of learners within a classroom can then expand to customize specific instruction for assessed student needs and their performance levels.
No matter which style is occurring at any given time, teachers make sure that they align their instruction and activities with instructional goals and objectives. Flexible grouping is just one strategy that teachers use to help your students learn.