February 03, 2022
For this month’s Teacher tip, we invited Elizabeth Venn, Curriculum Designer, to answer a commonly asked question from our DreamBox educators. This month's topic is about supporting students who are seeing material that they haven't learned yet in class. Learn more from Elizabeth:
Q: How can I support students who see lessons on DreamBox that we haven’t covered in class?
A: As teachers, it can feel uncomfortable when we see students being introduced to new concepts in DreamBox that we haven’t covered in class. Our worries or wonderings might sound like; “What if they aren’t ready for this? If they fail, they’ll get discouraged.” Or “Oh no! They’re seeing this too soon. They will be totally disengaged when I eventually try to teach this in class.” These concerns are understandable and valid. We have a lot of students, and the weight of their achievement feels like it rests heavily upon our shoulders.
First and foremost, keep in mind that if students see specific content in their lesson chooser, it’s because of their performance in other lessons. The adaptive engine has determined what they need or if they’re ready to engage with the content they are presented.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that students won’t experience productive struggle – or even plain old struggle – with new content. Regardless of whether they struggle, we know you want to support your students’ learning and meet them where they are. So, DreamBox has suggestions for how to best support your students when this scenario arises.
One method of support could be using your 1:1 conferring or small-group instructional time to address the issue. One-to-one and small group are perfect for this. Those times are meant to meet students at their individual learning level. You can use the lessons they see in DreamBox to determine their needs. For 1:1 time, consider joining them at their computer and playing a lesson together. You can model your thinking as you work through a problem. Then ask guiding questions for them to verbalize their thinking as they work through the next problem. Give students the opportunity to ask questions and wonder aloud. Work together to find the answers to those questions. Consider using your Educator Dashboard to find the lessons your students have been playing. Play them on your own ahead of time. Doing so, lets you plan helpful pointers to offer your students for this new content.
For small-group instruction, identify which students see the same or similar new content. Put them into a small group. Use your Educator Dashboard to find these students and lessons. Play the lessons on your own first. Knowing which new content and strategies your students are seeing in DreamBox can help you plan a short group lesson. Introduce them to this content and provide some practice time for strategies.
One final tip: keep track of which students have seen this new content. When you introduce it to the class, you know which students need some accelerated enrichment activities to keep them engaged in your classroom curriculum.
We hope you find these tips helpful. Reach out to us on DreamBox Nation if you have any more questions or need more tips to support your students’ learning.