We worked on the classroom management and stamina of the ZONES rotations for about a week. The students were doing so well with their choices and staying on task. We then quickly moved to differentiation and pulling small groups.
During the whole group mini-lesson, we gave the students 5 sample problems. We are working on multi-digit multiplication and had been working on this skill for about a week. We were pretty confident most students were close to mastery on this standard, but wanted to ensure no one was falling through the cracks during our informal observation. This is a quick method that works wonderfully for grouping. As the students were working out the problems, we walked and monitored the class with two pens, green and red. We then marked each problem as green (correct) or red (incorrect) at the end of about twenty minutes we collected the student work.
As the students chose their ZONES choice for the day, we quickly grouped the student work by the colored marks. Since we have two teachers (a co-teaching partnership) in this class, we focused in on two specific groups. The students with the most red were asked to pick MemoriZe and work at the front table with me. As other students were working independently on their ZONES rotation, I was able to closely monitor this small group to see what problems they were having during their calculations. Each student was making specific errors in different areas of their calculations. I was able to address each of these issues individually and these students were able to get individualized help to correct their misconceptions.
Also during this time, my teaching partner was able to address the group of students that we flagged as the slow workers. These students only completed 1 or 2 of the 5 initial problems, however their calculations were correct. We wanted to make sure that they were not struggling in any procedural step, but just needed some extra time to work. She was able to conference with these student one-on-one and observe their work within their ZONES rotation choice to ensure their work was accurate, and their understanding was clear.
With the two of us, differentiating and individualizing instruction, and the students practicing the standard skill in various ways within the ZONES rotations, we feel confident that the students will be prepared for the assessment later this week. Within this 20 minute ZONES rotation, we were able to specifically address approximately 1/3 of our students on an individual level and clarify several misunderstandings these students were having. ZONES allows us to have a clear knowledge of the understandings of each of the students in our classroom. This knowledge and the ZONES format allows us to address each student so they can feel successful in math.
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