To start the school year, our school has class meetings for each grade level. During the meeting, students review the Code of Conduct and have a chance to talk to their class advisors about upcoming events and fundraisers. These meetings usually take a class period.
My first APUSH class did not meet because of this meeting today. I don’t like being ahead in one class, so I gave today as a work day for my students to complete: The New England Colonies Video Guide and the Chesapeake Colonies Video Guide, Spain and England Colonization Short Answer, or the essay due Monday on Spanish and English Colonization.
While they were working, I call students over in groups of three to review key material so far this year. I asked them broad questions (“What were characteristics of English Colonization?”) and followed up with more detailed questions if they didn’t missed something important (“How did the demographics of English Colonization differ from Spanish Colonization?)
I find reviewing in small groups with students is incredibly beneficial for students, but also for me. If groups are consistently missing certain questions I know I didn’t teach it well and I need to re-teach it. A downside is the time involved. Usually I can get through 5-6 groups per class and since all my class sizes are in the 20s, I need more than one day to get to everyone. Sometimes I can do this, other times I’ll hold off on getting to some students until the next time. It’s not the best, but I try not to let good be the enemy of perfect.
If anyone works with students in small groups in your class, I would love to hear about your experiences.
Have a good day!