Yesterday I posted about the importance of differentiation and how it works in my classroom. There are a few things that help my classroom run like it does…
- I am known as one of the most particular ‘strict’ teachers at my school. Which I think is an actual compliment. I like things done EXACTLY how I like things done, and the students know this. So, I take a lot of time and care in setting up procedures – and REVIEWING expectations.
- CHAMPS classroom management plan has really allowed my students to understand and know the expectations of every activity. This management plan really helps diffuse any misunderstandings.
- Appointments. WOW! I wish I started doing these years ago.
Why Appointments Work for Me
In no particular order or importance, appointments hold the student accountable to meet with me in a one on one or small group setting. Today, I started class with three students wanting help and clarification with the preview reading strategy. We all worked together, I asked questions and they chimed in. When they were confident, they went back to their independent or group activity.
The students are starting to feel comfortable with the idea of The Power of Yet. This is our growth mindset motto for the year. If a student isn’t feeling strong or confident in a strategy or skill – YET, they are welcome to come to me at any time during a ‘walk in’ appointment to get confirmation. Some students just want to know they are on the right track.
I am able to meet with every student throughout the week to know exactly what they understand and what they don’t. I am able to give direct and quick feedback and encouragement. Their mindset it put at ease and their confidence, courage and perseverance is at a risk taking stage.
How Did I Get Started?
I chose 4 days because I usually like to assess the students on the 5th day to make sure we ALL reached our Plan for the week. I started making my list; the list was organized by the student’s reading ability and level in my classroom. I thought the students that usually need direct feedback, check for understanding should be first on the appointment list for the week, so I can clarify right away. This way they could work through the week successfully and feel comfortable coming to me for a ‘walk in’ appointment later. My Thursday appointments went to students who are on level in my classroom. These students are the ones that usually can be successful independently but might need some extension later on in the week.
These appointments, like those eager calls to the doctor’s office to see a sick 2 year old who all of a sudden got a 102 fever over night, are the ones that are suddenly suck, can’t find an answer or are struggling with identifying the answer to the strategy or skill. These can come at any time to check in or get a question from the teacher to help trigger their dendrite pathway; make a connection for them.
So far, this is a great plan and it is working perfectly. I am sure there will be some tweaks and some changes. Let me know how this works for you or if there is something that you use in your classroom that helps you differentiate and hold the students accountable.