Friday, February 14, 2014

Small Group Lessons on Two-Step Equations

We started our unit on two-step equations and inequalities last week.

Day 1 Lesson was "Picture Algebra"

Day 2 Lesson was "Solving Equations"

On Friday my students had a MATHia Day where they spend the 60 min class working on the computer.  I gave the students this entrance slip as a warm-up.

While they were working on the computer I sat and graded the slips and started forming small groups for lessons on two-step equations.  I also have a class everyday day called Core Plus (different students on A/B days) which I use for intervention when students need it.   Core Plus meets right before lunch so I had my students from afternoon classes complete the slip.  I then started pulling small groups that day.  It's so helpful when I can get a jump on things during Core Plus because then those afternoon students can be more independent during class or MATHia and I can focus my efforts on the students who need help, but are not in my Core Plus.

Monday was another MATHia day and after the warm-up and a 5 minute mini-lesson modeling a MATHia problem I began pulling small groups.  I have a table in the back (or front depending on how you look at it) of the room where I can pull small groups of students. I pulled groups of 2-5 depending on what students needed help with.  I really need one more chair because I only have 5 chairs total and I use one of them.  I do have stool that kids love to sit on so that can be pulled over if a group is bigger than 4.

I started with students who showed the most mastery, but just needed little reminders on properly setting up equations and showing work.

I feel sometimes my time gets monopolized by the same handful of students who need more intervention time and I knew that the mini-lessons for the students who already show more mastery would go quickly so I started with them first.

I loved the conversations I had with the groups that were focusing on the higher level problems of having to first distribute and then solve the equation when there were variables on both sides.  We hadn't really done a problem like that yet and several students figured it out.

I was busy right up until the bell rang in every class.  I loved doing the small group lessons because once again I am getting a very good feel for where each individual student is at with their two-step equation solving.  I made some notes on students' slips when a few times I felt a student still needed more practice to become more fluent in their equation solving.

It was really easy to look at the students' slips and group them into small groups just by visually seeing their mistakes.  I would call the groups to the front table and each student had a dry erase board, marker, and erasing cloth.  Students had the option to work on their entrance slip or the dry erase board and they overwhelmingly chose to work on the dry erase board.

As a group was working each student would hold up their board as they completed a problem.  I could quickly scan the board and point out any errors or let them know it was perfect and they could move on the next problem.  Once a was satisfied (and they agreed) they were understanding the equation solving they went back to and worked on the computer.