Here’s an idea that allows students to make independent choices and contributes to their personal growth as a life long learner.
- Do you always select the students and decide which group they need to be in?
- Are you often disturbed when you are working with a selected group? Students who are meant to be off working on their own need to see you because they have questions to ask?
Have you ever considered trying a new approach? ‘Come on Down’ is a way of creating flexible grouping that allows students to make the choice based on personal needs. I found this strategy works effectively in all curriculum areas.
Discuss ‘Come on Down’ with your students.
When I am teaching a new strategy, skill or knowledge I will be offering Target Teaching as a followup. This means I am available for any student who wants to come to the teaching area to learn more, get tips, ask for clarification, observe as I go through the information. Everyone who feels they require assistance for any reason can, ‘Come on Down’.
If you ‘know that you know what to do’ after I have finished my teaching and explanation go to your Optimal Work Environment and get started on the set task. (Alternatively have the task instructions recorded for students to read and interpret. This adds another layer to their thinking.)
If you ‘know‘ that you require extra tips, clarification or knowledge you choose to ‘Come on Down’ to target teaching.
- You can stay as long as you need to get the information you need.
- You can leave when you are feeling confident and ‘ok’ that you independently go on with the tasks or activity.
- There is need to say you are leaving. Leave quietly and go to an Optimal Work Environment that suits you to do your work.
- If you have made a start on your work but need a tip, quietly come on down and join the Target Teaching Group. Again you can leave when you have the knowledge that you need to go on.
- Remember the Learning and Life Tips – Make real, authentic and worthwhile decisions and Be good to yourself. Here’s your opportunity to do just that!
When you plan to have a target teaching group make the announcement at the end of your whole class teaching. Nominate where the group will meet. Inform your students what time you will be starting. e.g. I will be meeting on the floor area in two minutes time for anyone who needs tips, clarification or more knowledge. Bring everything you need please.
- Write on your daily ‘What’s On Today’ timetable that target teaching (Come on Down) will be happening during the nominated sessions. This gives students the ‘heads up’ so they know it’s available.
- Leave the target teaching group to work together. You will find that students teaching students is very powerful. This will give you time to rove and provide feedback to students already working on the set tasks. See the seven Roving Grandma Techniques for more ideas.
- Call out, ‘Come on down’ if you need some tips, ideas or clarification. Students enjoy the ‘call out’, especially when you use a game show host’s voice.
- Students feel empowered to make the decision to come to target teaching.
- Often students you wouldn’t expect to come for advice or clarification will attend the target teaching group.
- Students make the decision when to leave the group and begin work on the task.
- Sometimes students will only stay for a few minutes to check their understanding.
- Be prepared for students requesting target teaching even if you had not planned a session.
- Thank students for attending. I am so pleased that you care for yourself and want to be the best learner you can be. Thanks for joining us today.
Working with groups during any curriculum area is one way to teach students at the point of need. Letting students make personal choices to join a teaching group adds another level to their independent thinking and decision making during the school day.