July Challenge #8 Working with the Struggling Learner

This will be quick.  I’m trying to fit this post in…and it was hard to figure out what I’d have to offer.

My entire teaching career I’ve worked with students that struggle to learn math.  Here are a few simple things I’ve picked up:

  1. When you are having a whole group discussion and you are going to ask a question…call the student’s name, give a little wait time, and then ask the question.  That way they aren’t put on the spot.
  2. About #1…best case scenario…if the question has to do with something that the students have already completed, walk around the room to be sure that the “less than confident” student that you are going to call on has the right answer.  Give them their moment to shine!!!!
  3. To engage all of the learners…set the timer.  Tell them, “I’m going to give you one minute and 41 seconds to jot down your thoughts” (random amounts of time are engaging–and I like to use palindromes!).  Walk around the room to gauge understanding and next steps.
  4. I like to walk around the room and tell individual students quietly, “I really like what you did on #5.  I’m going to ask you to share that one with the class.”  It helps to build confidence and prepares them for what’s ahead.
  5. Some students need to be given choices when asking them a question.  Ask the question and then say “Is it A or is it B?”  Be sure to always make the correct answer the first choice.  If a student doesn’t know…it’s typical to give back the last thing they heard.
  6. For students that you know have difficulty getting started, focus them on specific tasks that you know will bring them success.  If I get these students started…inevitably they will complete more than I’ve asked.
  7. Choices. Choices. Choices…Let students pick the tasks that they feel they are capable of completing.  Usually…students pick either what you’d pick for them…or above.

This everyday blogging is tough!

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2 thoughts on “July Challenge #8 Working with the Struggling Learner

  1. I agree that this is tough, but I REALLY appreciate you coming along on the journey with me! I love, love, love this list! I often set the timer (it helps me keep focused as well) and #6 reminds me of the green highlighter idea that was shared earlier this month. What a great set of strategies for the less-than-confident student! Thank you!

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