Curriculum and Instruction
At Russell Elementary, all students participate in Language Arts and Mathematics content specifically identified for each student’s grade level through Idaho’s Common Core Learning Standards. For approximately fifty minutes each day, students work toward deeper understanding of these learning standards in classes with students of mixed abilities. Vast amounts of education research has shown that this grouping strategy benefits students of all ability levels at much better than grouping students of similar skill sets. However, this can make it difficult for teachers to provide challenging material that push students master skills more quickly while providing the needed support for students who need additional assistance. These concerns led to the development of Russell’s Reteach and Enrich Period (REP).
Reteach and Enrich Period (REP)
Russell’s Reteach and Enrich Period was developed as a way to provide targeted academic assistance to students in the areas of Math and Literacy. During REP time, students will move to classrooms of smaller class sizes to focus on lessons designed to meet their specific learning needs. The class a student moves to will depend largely on results of frequent formative assessments, provided about every other week, given by their homeroom teacher. Each grade level will run the REP supports slightly differently but the general vision will remain the same for the whole school.
A homeroom math class may be working on dividing whole numbers. After two weeks of instruction related to this skill, the teacher gives a formative assessment to see how well students understand the steps of division. On this assessment, one student shows minimal understanding, another shows they have met what would normally be expected of students at that time, and a third student proves that they their understanding of division far exceeds others of their grade level. The student who is struggling with the basics of division will move to a learning group that focuses on reteaching the basic steps of division in a new format while also providing additional practice time. The student who showed they met the standard they were striving for will move to a classroom that focuses on either deepening their understanding of the content by creating a project that applies their newly developed skill or time to work on individualized practice with skills that particular student needs support with. Those students who showed advanced understanding of the skill targeted will move to a classroom that extends their learning through more rigorous projects and activities.
Student assignment to a REP classroom is short term. Students will moved from the basic REP class as they show they have met their learning goals. Also, students take each formative assessment with a clean slate. Their placement into a REP class occurs every two weeks or so depends on their success of skills targeted during homeroom classes. Previous REP class placement is not taken into consideration. While students strengthen their skills during a REP class, they will continue learning new skills in their homeroom math and Language Arts classes.
The table below portrays a very (overly) simplified look at what a math unit on multiplication might look like.