I am toying with the idea of levelling my classes next year - not by how many years a student has been in my class, not by how much Spanish they have learned, and not even by their learning style. I am thinking of offering two specialized classes, one for fast-processors and one for slow-processors. The other students can fill out either class and then make up the rest of the three classes I have.
I'm thinking that this might allow me to differentiate just a little bit more for those students that need it the most. Some of my students process information so quickly that they really only need one or two repetitions to really grasp a concept. Other students on the other hand, need that twentieth repetition before it even sounds familiar. It is very frustrating for both groups to be in a class with the other. The fast processors are bored by the twentieth repetition (actually well before that) while those slower processors end up feeling stupid and out of touch when the class moves on before they get something. Those students who are not at either extreme can handle going a little quicker, but they also won't be hurt by slowing down and hearing the grammar in new contexts either.
The problem is, I have until tomorrow to make up my mind as that is when we are making our schedules for next year. I think it's a go, if it doesn't mess with the other teachers in the jr. high too much. With only 125 students, any rearranging of students is felt by everybody. We do it all the time for math, and oh it can be painful while geometry is being taught, because the rest of us have really large classes of students who are not the most motivated or fastest processing... :)
I wonder how often students have been divided in this way? And by fast processing I don't mean high achieving A students. In fact, many of the fastest processing kids are very low scoring kids because they are often so bored with school and all the drudgery. Likewise I don't mean the "stupid" kids by slow processing. One of the students I am considering for that group has a 160 IQ. I am hoping that this sort of grouping will allow the students to be themselves a little more, and allow me to honor them a little more.
4 hours ago