I started something new last week. After I finish the lesson portion of class and it's time to start on the homework, I have the kids move around. Those who feel like they've totally got it, ready to rock head to the back and work quietly. Those who are still feeling a little (or a lot) fuzzy come to the front, and I work with that smaller group on a few select problems from the homework.
The first day I did it was interesting. My A1 class had several takers who were like, "Dude, yes, help!" Most other classes, I had to twist some arms to get anyone to join in.
Second time around, though, more people joined in. I think some kids were like, "Uh, yeah, that actually looks helpful. Might be a good idea."
It's nice, because in those smaller groups, the struggling kids are more likely to ask questions, stop me when they don't understand. I'm liking it. I think I'll stick with it.
Still, some kids who I know really ought to join in are heading to the back and working with their friends instead. That'd be fine if their friends were helping them understand, but based on the daily quiz results and homework scores, it's more likely their friends are breezing through the assignment and distracting them with random chatter instead.
It makes me mad at the struggling kids for not prioritizing. It makes me mad at their friends for not recognizing how much harder they're making it.
I mean, I get it. Social pressure and all ... not wanting to "look stupid." I wish they'd notice that several popular kids are joining the extra-help group. Then again, an outward self-confidence often coincides with teen popularity. (Comes with its own problems, often under the surface, but that's another post.)
I've only been through it two times with each class so far. I could force it, telling specific kids they have to come to the front. I'd rather not. For now, I give a strongly worded suggestion that if they didn't get the homework done, struggled on the daily quiz, or got a bad grade last quarter, they really ought to join us.
Hopefully the more we do it, the less stigmatized kids will feel.