Common Core & Struggling Learners
AAM study groups each have 4-8 teachers who teach the same grade levels so that they share a common curriculum. Each group has a mix of mathematics teachers and special education teachers, so that they can learn from each other and benefit from different areas of expertise. This mix is a crucial ingredient in making mathematics lessons more accessible to students with disabilities.
The collaboration was invaluable. Special education teachers helped mainstream teachers determine how to meet the needs of students with diverse abilities; special education teachers learned content. Each learned from each other. (District Math Coordinator)
Groups meet at their school, in one of the member's classrooms. We recommend that they meet during the school day for a class period, typically 45-60 minutes, every other week. This schedule helps to sustain the work.
Because time is often in such short supply in school systems, schools take different approaches to scheduling the regular, consistent time that study groups need. Some schools have a weekly common planning period, and allot it to the study groups every other week. Other schools find that their best option is to have study groups meet after school, once a month, for 90 minutes to two hours). School administrators may have to make special efforts to ensure that both mathematics and special educators can attend study group meetings.
Finally, we recommend having study groups run for at least two years. Relationships among group members become more collaborative over time, and increasingly open to sharing both successful and less success experiences without fear of judgment. In our experience, it is important to allow this length of time for such relationships to mature.
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This project is supported by the National Science Foundation Grant No. ESI-9911831. Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation.