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Helping kids who struggle to meet CCSS? expectations

FRIDAY, JULY 31, 2015 16:38 PM

The Common Core State Standards have raised classroom expectations to a higher standard, challenging kids to increase their knowledge and skill sets. For some students, this is an easy task and one that they eagerly embrace, but for other students, grades start to slip. In a classroom full of kids, teachers have the unique ability to recognize when a child begins struggling to learn course materials. As soon as a teacher notices a student's dropping grades and inattention during class, the instructor must quickly address the problem so the child won't fall behind. Teachers must also decide which instructional methods will work best for individual students.

Give students work time
More often than teachers realize, kids have trouble completing homework because they simply don't have time after they leave school. This can be attributed to a variety of reasons from kids taking part in too many extracurricular activities to working in after-school jobs. For these sort of situations, a teacher can discuss the problem with parents and advise more time be made at home for class work. However, even after talking with parents, it can still be hard to get the work done. That's why teachers need to provide students with the opportunity to complete some of their work during the school day. The instructor can monitor how much work the children are completing and keep them on task. In-class work time is also beneficial because the teacher is readily available to answer questions.

Provide clear instructions
The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development suggests having kids start assignments during class instead of waiting until they get home. This way, if anyone is confused they can ask questions. Sometimes even after asking questions, students can still be unsure what is expected of them, though. If a child has asked several questions about how to complete an assignment and still doesn't grasp what needs to be done, that student will start to get discouraged and frustrated. This is a sign that the instructions are not apparent to the class.

To check that materials are clear and understandable, teachers should have them reviewed by colleagues or a class aide. The content makes perfect sense to instructors because they already know what students are supposed to be doing, but for an outside party, the information can be confusing and wordy.

Have flexible teaching strategies
Kids have different learning styles, so teachers frequently need to bend to meet student needs. Throughout the school year, teachers should work on providing kids with diverse assignments and instruction. For instance, Reading Rockets advises teachers to provide verbal as well as written instructions for a regular assignment. This way, if a child has trouble fully comprehending spoken directions, the student will still be able to reference a written copy. 

Giving students the opportunity to complete a variety of assignments will also show the teacher areas where a child faces obstacles. For instance, a student might be extremely accomplished when writing essays but freeze when asked to give a speech. Students shouldn't be penalized just because they excel in one area but not in another. By keeping a flexible teaching strategy, an instructor can better accommodate any child's style of learning.

Talk to students
When a teacher notices a child's grades beginning to slip, talking about it with the student can be extremely beneficial. The discussion shows kids that a teacher is concerned and cares about their well-being and also addresses the problem directly. By asking questions about the assignments, teachers can understand what obstacles are preventing the child from succeeding. Together, the instructor and student can create a course of action to bring the child back to an appropriate grade.