Pages

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Heterogeneous Grouping

So let me preface this by saying, it's going to be kind of a PSA. This is one of my pet peeves and I'm kind of annoyed right now.

I was at a training today because my district has decided, once again, to change our reading program. Now we're going to get everyone reading by 3rd Grade...because apparently we weren't trying hard enough before, but I digress. It's a mix of a bunch of different programs including Daily 5 and the traditional reading model. My problem with it is they want the students grouped in heterogeneous groups with students from each level represented when they go through their stations-word work, reading with a partner, etc.

I am wholeheartedly against this. Not only does it make it  much more difficult to pull homogeneous reading groups for guided reading, but the whole reasoning behind it is that there has to be a high student in each group in order to teach the rest of the students the skills. *sigh* I could literally feel my blood pressure going up as I was sitting there listening to this.

I'm not saying don't ever use heterogeneous groups-not by any means. I certainly think they have their place. I actually use them quite often when kids work on projects together or are doing a science experiment. But when you are asking kids to do workstation work, they should be working with peers at their level. The purpose is not for kids to be teaching each other! The purpose is for each student to get practice at the skills they need to practice. The argument I often hear is "well, you learn by teaching". I actually don't think that is true. My student in 1st Grade who was reading 140 words per minute, is not going to learn how to read better by helping another student with high frequency words. They need to work on other skills-like comprehension and fluency.

I work for a very, very large district district. Hundreds of teachers are going to be using these methods. And I know there are probably lots who already do it that way. But I just wanted to give you some food for thought-that maybe there's a way every child can still be challenged and still be practicing the skills they need help with.

PSA Over! Thanks for listening! :)


Pin It!

9 comments :

  1. I remember hating it when I was in school and was asked to teach other kids because I got good grades. I resented the teacher because even though I understood it, it didn't necessarily mean that I was equipped to be responsible for making sure other kids understood too. I get that if you truly understand something you should be able to explain it to someone else, but that can also be challenging for some students and just might not be in their comfort zone. In Kinder, we keep our own kiddos, but starting in 1st the kids "walk to read" and are skill grouped. But within my room, I group kids based on where they are so that I can pull groups of kids who are on the same page. Are you still expected to do that even though the kids are working in mixed groups at the stations? Seems confusing for kids!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm sorry that was your experience-it really isn't fair.

    I find this system confusing for kids and confusing for us! They want us to pull kids from each group and then when they are done they join them again in the next rotation. So they are also missing some of the activities with their group. I don't understand why it has to be so complicated! I've been a rebel before and went against the grain, I think I may have to take a stand and do that again this year! :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. I completely agree with you. Here is just one article that supports our thinking on this: http://www.byrdseed.com/why-gifted-kids-may-not-be-great-tutors/ Arggh! I feel your frustration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for that article. Yes, a bit frustrating. Luckily I think if I can justify it I think they will let me do things my way. :)

      Delete
  4. "...but the whole reasoning behind it is that there has to be a high student in each group in order to teach the rest of the students the skills" As I read your sentence, I actually laughed out loud. When was the last time the decision-makers were actually in a classroom, working with children, for days on end? Just because a child is performing at a proficient or above level does not mean that child is going to assist another child. Maybe the first child is socially challenged (not sure of a 'correct' term), or has a tummy ache, or is upset with the second child, or….oh, you know, the reasons for not becoming an instructor at center work are endless!

    Give it three years, things will change again.
    :-)Chrissy

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you are probably right about that. We literally had a whole new reading adoption that I can't even imagine the cost of, which is now totally out the window. *sigh* The reasons you gave are good ones too. Not to mention, just because they are advanced academically does not mean they are necessarily "leaders". I teach in an urban area and have kids every year who may not know the letters, but they have the confidence and street smarts to lead. Thank you for commiserating Chrissy! :)

      Delete
  5. Oh wow! That's too bad. I'd definitely be a rebel again. That's just ridiculous and like Chrissy said, it's pretty clear these decision makers are NOT familiar with classrooms.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I also reacted to the lack of choice in Daily 5 if the teachers are the ones choosing where kids go and when they go and with whom they go. By the way, PSA? I don't know what that is. :)
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh sorry-Public Service Announcement-like they do on TV sometimes -say no to drugs. Mine is say no to heterogeneous grouping! :)

      Delete