One good time to group

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The text of the following email is from my former math department chairperson, an example of a reasonable use of small groups. Consider this a teaching tip for new teachers, I guess. After the big rainstorm when five kids in the class did not come to school, using the internet to reteach may work well. This requires careful planning to set up review sessions for other students at the same time.

“The link below provides a series of tutorial videos that would be appropriate to assign to students to watch who were absent. You could document that as an intervention and say that it was provided for students to view on their own time or make time available during the school day for students to view it while you move forward with other students.

Eduhonesty: A few issues are embedded in the above post. Five absent students? If that sounds like too many from a rainstorm, I’d like to observe that, in my former district, bad weather could easily create such absenteeism. Especially if students walk and mom and dad have already left for work, those students may decide to stay home. When older kids are responsible for getting younger kids to school, everybody will stay home. Despite recent Yahoo articles about the perils of children walking to and from school alone, the fact is that many, many children walk to school all the time, especially those who don’t qualify for free bus service.

Among other targets the state set for us this year, schools in my district had attendance targets. My homeroom won the special treats for best attendance a number of times and we enjoyed the special cookies and little water bottles. Attendance numbers were posted on cheery boards in the hallway. The very fact that we received treats in a year when measures against recreational eating felt almost Draconian speaks volumes, though.

Attendance fails, especially at the high school level, create academic fails and my district has been struggling with the problem as long as I can remember. Other impoverished and urban schools fight the same battle. I thought my chairperson’s post with this link offered a helpful suggestion that could be used for grouping. Individual students can also be sent home with helpful links. When possible, links can be emailed or texted to parents.