KIAT Book Club: Classrooms That Work Ch. 7

Chapter seven talks about with how to specifically deal with struggling students in classrooms. It offers good insight into how to create activities and programs which target improving the skills of these students without drawing attention to their difficulties in class. Thus, they won’t feel targeted and their classmates won’t suspect they are receiving different treatment for any reason.

It touches back upon previous chapters and discusses how students need consistent practice in reading and writing in order to really succeed in the classroom. Then, it introduces new ways in which struggling students can receive extra support in these areas via practices you can incorporate both in and outside of the classroom.

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Some of the practices talked about are different types of easy reading groups and “open centres”. Personally, I already do both English Language Arts and Math centres almost every single day, so adding another daily centre would be a time suck. However, some of the chapter’s ideas for open centres are really great to incorporate into centres you’re already doing, or would be a good way to add “fun centres” (maybe once a week or once every two weeks) that touch upon skills generally found outside of ELA and Math (computer skills, fine motor tuning, researching, etc.).

Another very helpful tidbit the chapter talks about is finding a tutor for struggling students; a parent or aid in the classroom. For me, I found this helpful because our school has a lot of very talented educational assistants and I’m always looking for more ways in which I can use them to help the kids. This chapter listed a few different helpful ways to employ the use of tutors or, in my case, educational assistants or parent volunteers.

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This chapter was a valuable one for me, even in a classroom where basically all of my students are struggling, so I imagine it will be even more beneficial for teachers in “regular” classrooms who are trying to find ways to keep kids from falling behind without singling them out.

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