Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Different Way to Think of Remediation

I'm all for thinking outside the box.

I'm lucky to be one of three assistant principals in my building of 1400 students. We each oversee a grade level (I have 6th grade this year) and we are each responsible for specific departments. This year I am responsible for the science, math, and SpEd departments.

Our school system gives us algebra readiness funds to assist in providing our students with remediation in math. It's not a lot of money, so we need to spend it wisely. We want to make sure we are getting the biggest bang for the buck so we are trying a different approach to remediation this year. A lot of what we are doing goes along with the Dufour's thoughts on remediation, which include providing students with additional time for intensive instruction.

As we are planning to launch our intensive math remediation program in the second semester, we are currently in the planning process. We are developing remediation sessions according to concept instead of providing "extra help" sessions like we did in the past. This prompts teachers to look at the specific areas of remediation their students need, and also allows students from different grade levels to participate in the same remediation session. In addition, we are looking at web based programs like Buzzmath to provide additional targeted practice for our students.

Here's where the time is coming from:

  • Saturdays - Yes, Saturdays. Each Saturday session will be dedicated to a specific concept. Students will also be given a snack break, given lab time, and possibly even have time to play games. Part of any remediation program should include opportunities for students to learn to LOVE the subject they are struggling with. Topics will be revisited as we get closer to assessment season. 
  • After school - Right now, we are considering having computer labs open twice a week after school. These labs would be monitored by math teachers. Students can come in, work on the computer, and get small group or one-on-one help. 
  • During school - We actually have an advisory period dedicated to enrichment and remediation. This is an ideal opportunity for those students who may have transportation issues. These will need to be mini-lessons which will hopefully act as a "turbo shot" of math information. 
I'm excited about our plan, especially about the opportunity for students to learn to love something they were once struggling with. I may seem overly optimistic, but when working with children, one has to shoot for the stars! 

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