This school year I’ve been given the opportunity to work with a select group of second grade math students. Since early October I’ve been seeing two groups of around 20 students for approximately 30 minutes twice a week. These 40 students were selected based on unit pre-assessment scores and teacher recommendations. The second grade students that I see tend to be in need of enrichment of the math skills that they’re exploring in class. This enrichment can take on many forms, but mainly I’ve been looking at have students develop a better understanding of numbers and patterns. I’ve been asked to expand on the unit being taught in class and report back progress that students have been making. The groups that I see are designed to be flexible and change depending on a particular math unit.

Here area few things I’ve observed as the year has unfolded:

1.) 30 minutes twice a week is a short time period. I’m all for packing in as much instruction as possible, but 30 minutes goes by very quickly. I’ve had to redesign many of my lessons to overlap the two days in a week. Retention can also be an issue with this. I spend each session with a bit of review and that has seemed to help.

2.) I’ve had to incorporate my own pre/post-assessment to show student growth. At first I thought this was extremely time consuming as students only have a small amount of time in my class and I want to make sure that the class time is being used appropriately. This year many of the classes in my school are using the same pre-test as the post-assessment. I’m using that model right now but it may change as the year progresses.

3.) I’m not able to meet with the second grade team every week so we decided to use Google Docs as a communication tool. My students’ pre/post assessment scores are located in the shared doc and can be assessed by any of the second grade teachers. I also attached a copy of the pre/post assessment to the document so teachers are aware of what topics I’m addressing.

4.) I’ve been using effect size to show student growth. I learned about effect size in more detail after attending a Visible Learning conference over the summer. I feel like this has been a useful tool and has shown some insight into student gains in my class. This tool has also been important as it brings some finality to the units that I teach and can be used as one data point in transitioning students in/out of my class.

5.) Student reflection is key. This year I’ve been giving students a copy of their pre-assessment stapled to their post-assessment. Students are then able to review their growth and ask questions. The focus is on student growth and not necessarily on point value or grade. Thankfully at second grade students aren’t used to traditional grades yet.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this enrichment opportunity develops over time and the positive impact it has on students.