I teach first grade at Lowe Elementary School; my class is made up of twenty-four very diverse seven year-olds; they come from all over the city of Louisville, from a variety of socio-economic situations. Each student brings a unique personality to our classroom community, and they all work hard to become “smarter and smarter” and to “go to college”. Thirteen students are boys and eleven are girls. Of these twenty-four students, three of them are English Language Learners. Additionally, eight students receive tier two interventions and two receive tier three interventions in reading. In math, five students are tier two and four are tier three. I also teach one student who receives ECE services for a developmental delay. Within my class there is a wide achievement gap.
In order to improve my instructional practices, I analyzed instructional data from district math diagnostic and proficiency assessments. The most recent assessment assessed student’s abilities to count, add and subtract, and their understanding of place value. My students scored below not only the other first grade students at the school, but also all first grade students in the district. 81.6% of my students could count, read, and write numbers to 120. This was an improvement from their diagnostic assessment. However, only 66.7% could relate counting to addition and subtraction, and only 45% demonstrated understanding of place value in two digit numbers.
The achievement gap within my classroom is wider than in other first grade classes. The students in my classroom also have a variety of learning styles. Because of the varying learning styles, the high number of students receiving interventions, and low achievement in math, I decided, with our interventionist, to plan two weeks of co-teaching. Our goal was to meet the needs of all students by teaching the current standards, while incorporating content, which had been previously taught but not yet mastered by the student, and use small group instruction to scaffold activities, identify any misconceptions, and provide accommodations for exceptional learners.
I started planning by developing two learning objective for the two weeks: given a quiz with four clocks, students will write the correct time with 75% accuracy, and given a quiz with four word problems, students will write the correct equation and use a number line to solve each problem with 75% accuracy. We developed learning targets to accompany each objective, and I taped them to the Smartboard. We read them at the beginning of each lesson and reviewed them at the end.
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We started each lesson with a sponge activity. In order to engage the students, I used different colored papers and small one or two question activities. I wanted them to be independent with the activity. Additionally, we used questions from the math proficiency assessment as entrance slips. This helped the students prepare for the lesson, and it provided...