To better meet the individual needs of all students, our math program includes flexible grouping in grades 3-5.
The goals in our math instruction remain focused on maintaining consistently high expectations for all students, and meeting and/or enriching the grade-level expectations. Yet we find that providing differentiation through flex grouping allows teachers to better target the learning needs of all students. Teachers can differentiate content, process, and product according to students’ readiness, interest, and learning profile through a range of instructional and management strategies.
Benefits of flexible grouping include:
- Each child receives the appropriate challenge, support, and preparation for success, both current and future.
- Teachers can zero in on specific needs and provide the appropriate challenge for each student’s current needs.
- Grouping is fluid and students may move between the groups to receive tailored instruction for a particular topic or concept.
Units are “chunked” together by concepts, such as multiplication and division, algebraic reasoning, or geometry. At the onset of each unit, there is a whole group assessment, and then the students are divided by their need for review, re-teaching, practice, or enrichment for that particular area of study.
Groupings are determined by a pre-test, and teachers cluster students based on current skill and concept understanding for a particular topic. Student abilities are grouped and regrouped for each unit.
While the unit focus may be the same in both levels, one group will delve deeper into that concept and have more advanced work. For example, one group may be ready for two- and three-digit division, while another group focuses on concepts in single-digit division.
Differentiation via flexible grouping not only propels all children academically but also supports our philosophy of educating the “whole child.”
By Annie Melville
Ms. Melville is our Lower School principal.