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Higher ability kids in low group.

(5 Posts)
SawdustInMyHair Fri 30-Dec-16 19:20:50

I'm in Y4, and my school splits for maths into three groups. I have the 'bottom' one. However I have two new starters who are only in my maths group because they are in my normal class, and three others who's predictions were wrong - all of them would be comfortably in the middle of the middle group.

I'm finding it a lot harder to differentiate when it's 20 children who all really struggle with number (eg. can't reliably add numbers under 10 on their fingers)... and then 5 who are comfortably at ARE. The gap is just so huge! I never usually have ability tables, but I've had to move them onto the same table as sometimes they're doing completely different work, not just harder questions or whatever.

I'd like to have the TA lead them, but I have three over the week and one of them just feeds the answers (I've explained how I want it done so many times!) and doesn't really know much maths. I also have well over half with SEN so I need the TA for supporting them a lot of the time.

Any ideas? I'm worried I'm going to hold them back because of my lack of skills! Can you tell I'm an NQT? wink

ConfessorKahlan Sat 31-Dec-16 11:40:16

No advice to offer here - sorry. However, I am awaiting replies as I am trainee primary teacher in Year 5. I have to differentiate my maths planning 4 ways in a class of 33 with no TA and an hour and half maths lessons every day! I am finding that I spend an inordinate amount of time on maths planning and developing questions, activities and panicking that the higher ability pupils will run out of work.

Not much help for you I realise, but at least you're not alone!

Chelazla Sat 31-Dec-16 11:46:05

I would do your in put send kids on their way with 5 mins independent work. By that time you can gage if they have got it and give more input to those who haven't. During this 5 mins keep the middle ability kids back and extend what you are doing/ add a greater challenge. I'd keep the ta with the Sen personally. I think maths is the hardest one to teach especially with mixed ability, often you get it or you don't! Not like literacy where you adapt and improve!

stillwantrachelshair Sat 31-Dec-16 12:40:04

When is a reshuffle of the groups due? Surely they are not set for the entire year?

SawdustInMyHair Sat 31-Dec-16 14:21:13

I like that idea - I start each lesson with a quick bit of independent work on the board (revision of core methods, mainly, as they forget them so fast if we don't do them for a while), but during that time I could go and set my 'top table' off.

I've asked about a reshuffle - we did a couple immediately as within the first few lessons we'd spotted some outliers (I sent one up, two came down to me). I've been told there are no more to swap as they don't belong in my group, and because two of mine have left the school, sending any more up will make my group 'too small' (it's 25 atm, which to be fair is the smallest of the three groups. The others have 28). I wouldn't send them all, just my top one!

Confessor I know your pain! I always find it much harder to plan for the higher kids. But, christ, 33? My school frets about being undersubscribed, but I confess I rather prefer it.

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