Question Detail

Help! I teach in an urban setting. How do I teach in small groups while enforcing discipline with the rest of the students?

Aug 12, 2017 2:01pm

I teach fourth grade math in a charter school.

  • Math
  • 4
  • Behavior


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    • Aug 13, 2017 8:35am

      Do you have any parent helpers in the classroom? My daughter's class has stations set up and the students rotate every 15-20 minutes. If possible, a parent volunteer can man one of the stations, the teacher another, and the others are "independent" work - either at their desk or at computers if you have them. You can offer incentives for staying on task when they do their independent work which could result in a class party or small prizes. Hope that helps!

      • Aug 16, 2017 7:49am

        It is all in the planning. Each group member must have a role they will be accountable for and can't pass it on to someone else. You have to train them in working in groups and transitioning. Start with a practice activity or team building activity like marshmallow tower and have each group report out. That will hook them into working in groups and will help in behavior management.

        • Aug 19, 2017 11:21am

          Hi! Small group or center instruction cannot be instituted until students have a firm understanding of the general classroom procedures and routines, and firm classroom management is in place. By October, assuming you begin in September, students should have mastery over the classroom routines and be thoroughly familiar with behavior expectations/ consequences/ rewards, etc. That provides you with ample time to observe and assess your students in order to create effective, flexible groupings. Then introduce the centers or groups to students as a new routine that follows the established behavioral guidelines for your class. Overprepare the activities in groups; students fly through the work, and definitely, as another poster remarked, assign roles : ie., reader, motivator, check person, time keeper, etc so that it is a shared cooperative effort. Limit the time initially; then gradually increase the time. Each student is responsible for the takeaway from the group/ center activity so don't be hesitant about surprising them with a snap quiz unexpectedly, so you can see who is paying attention. Good luck. If it flops on the first attempt, wait a month tighten things up and try again, but the key is strong management in place prior to any cooperative learning ventures.