Saturday, February 16, 2008

In-class Safety Nets (Joe Montisano)

Joe Montisano—We saw your increase in diagnostic scores…How do you TARGET students in the FCAT danger zone? What system for strategy groups do you have in place?
From Lynn Patterson & Lindsay Hoffman

Thankfully, I have a job at Chets Creek where we use a wonderful diagnostic test that helps teachers categorize students into groups based on their strengths and weaknesses. Before teaching a specific unit I go back and look at the diagnostic profile sheet, which allows me to gain an understanding of what to expect in the upcoming unit and anticipate possible struggles. I prefer to start the unit knowing which students came to my class with a limited amount of prior knowledge on a specific unit.

During the work period I focus much of my time conferring with individuals or tables of students improving their skills on particular strategies that the students can be confident in, successful with, and rely on.

Mrs. Tsengas has been a wonderful addition to our team this year. She has done a wonderful job in assisting me with the strategy groups. She pulls the students who struggle in particular areas to her clubhouse, located in the bookroom. At times, students looked forward to going with her to her “cool” club house, rather than stay in the classroom with me. She is a natural at making students feel comfortable.

Furthermore, all students who are in the FCAT danger zone have been invited to tutoring on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. I focus my tutoring lessons on individual student weaknesses. I spend this time revisiting concepts from past investigations and units utilizing teacher made story problems.

Joe Montisano

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