Here at our After School Program we engage our students with many different, exciting learning methods. One of our most successful methods of teaching is the small groups. Certain grades place heavy emphasis on gaining specific skills like kindergarten and first grade focus a lot on sight words and basic reading skills, while third grade places importance on multiplication mastery. When children are struggling with subject we place them into a small group of other children that focuses on perfecting that concept.
We have several kindergarten and first grade students who struggle with learning and reading sight words, so after they finish their homework they separate from the other group of kids and work together with an instructor on learning and reading their sight words. The learning entails more than just boring memorization, it include fun games, interactive activities, and contests. For example, when the kindergarteners feel that they know their words for the week really well, they will compete with each other to see who can recognize the words the fastest. These small groups allow the children who may need a little bit more time understanding an idea to get individualized attention.
Our small group of third and fourth graders is focused on proactively working on getting ahead of the competition by mastering their multiplication skills. We’ve seen less and less encouragement from school teachers for their kids to have the times tables memorized, which is very surprising since its such an important skill that is built upon throughout all grades. We encourage our children to be expert mathematicians. They practice improving their speed in reciting the times tables. They quiz each other and see who can say the correct answer first. We test them on how quickly they can complete multiplication problems with out any mistakes. The kids love being able to work cooperatively with each other. Since its different from the normal routine, they are more engaged in their learning.
Being able to pin point what a child needs the most help in is very important to us. That way we are more able to improve their areas of struggle quickly, helping to make them a more well-rounded student. The engaging, fun environment of small groups helps the kids to transcend their worry or negative feelings about a subject and learn to enjoy the challenge of hard work. Being able to sit down and focus on one specific concept or subject really helps the children to make significant improvements.
Helping our kids to learn and improve at a faster rate than the others in their grade is important because it makes them stand out for their academic excellence. The children’s confidence really grows when they start to understand and master what they struggle with the most. The small groups are a great addition to our many interactive ways of aiding the children in improving their skills.