These are long meetings -- about 75 minutes per grade level -- however, the time is well spent when the focus is on student achievement. I love that so many people are invested in the success of our students and are committed to this collaboration.
This time around, we were also encouraged to think about those students who are in that 'gray area.' These are the students that are proficient enough in class that they are getting by -- not your high fliers or your red-flagged kids. We all have them in our classes. They don't usually get consistently high grades, may be appear to be unmotivated, sometimes can be behavior challenges, and usually will not ask for help when they need it.
In the younger grades, they were probably your higher students. The students who "got it" quickly, allowing you time to work with those that didn't. However, as they moved up in the grade levels and the material got harder and harder and the work became more about reading to learn and not learning to read, the gaps in their learning start to surface and they begin to slip. This usually happens around 4th grade.
So today we took a hard look at those students as well as our red-flagged kiddos. What can we do to help fill in those holes that they have in their learning to help push them higher? If we don't catch them now, they may slide with every passing year.
We scheduled some classroom interventions that may give them the push they need. But I am still unsettled a bit...
We want to think outside the box, come up with something that will reach these kids. Will it be an intervention? Maybe. A different instructional approach? Possibly. More one-on-one conferencing? Perhaps.
How about you? How do you reach your gray area kids? How has collaboration helped you? I'd love to hear your thoughts.