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Small Group Instruction Lets Students Take The Lead

Allison Morganti overlooks as students in her fifth grade accelerated math intervention group lead instruction during a recent class. Small group instruction and intervention has been a staple of learning across Jamestown Public Schools.

Multiplying fractions.

To some students, the thought of this fifth-grade math concept might present some challenges.

But to a group of fifth graders at Washington Middle School, a brief part of their school day not only gives them a chance to dive deeper into this concept, but also lead it.

Accelerated math students in Mrs. Morganti’s, Mrs. Housler’s, and Mrs. Hill’s team at Washington Middle School recently took part in student-led instruction, going station to station while diving into the standard.

“This time with small groups is a form of intervention that allows us to move past the pace of curriculum to multiplying fractions,” Morganti said. “It also allows these students to lead instruction and it’s really cool to see. As a teacher, it’s always great to see our students take initiative. I appreciate the opportunity that this outlet gives them.”

Small-group instruction in math and student-led learning is nothing new to students at Washington or at Jamestown Public Schools.

For those who might not be as far along as students in Morganti’s classroom, teachers at the middle school level are prepared to intervene during these sessions to ensure a student’s understanding.

“Jamestown recognizes that students come to us with different levels of understanding and proficiency with mathematics,” said JPS coordinator of secondary education Denise Pusateri. “All students are taught the grade level standards associated with their level, but in order to meet the needs of all students we must be able to support small groups of similar students.”

This math instruction at our middle schools allows the students to meet with a teacher who has similar data that demonstrate understanding.

“It allows the teacher to reinforce important standards, approach learning from a different perspective, and stretch students’ learning,” she noted.

“These small groups change regularly to adjust to students’ demonstration of understanding,” Pusateri added.

As for student-led instruction specifically, Pusateri hopes that it’s only the beginning of a student’s interest in leading classroom activities.

“By allowing students the opportunity to lead their peers, we can only hope this is the beginning of a student’s engagement as an educational leader.”

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