Elmont students beef up language skills

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Educators at Gotham Avenue School are providing differentiated learning opportunities for students by breaking students into small groups during class lessons.

Sixth-grade students in Dimitri Bernadel’s class are studying nonfiction text as part of the English language arts curriculum. During a recent class lesson, students were asked to analyze the impact of a specific word choice based on the meaning, tone and mood of a reading passage. The class was separated into small groups, each with a different focus that supported the topic. One group worked on a character study, some read independently, while others read the World News Junior Scholastic article “Are Driverless Cars a Good Idea?” and identified context clues. Bernadel said students are grouped based on their reading level, which allows him the opportunity to tailor each lesson

to the students’ specific needs. It also allows

students to work colla-boratively.

First-grade teacher Diane Arkin is also using the small-group method to help students as they learn to write questions and answers. The class recently read the book “Elephants and Their Calves.” They were then asked to review the text as a group and come up with questions based on what they read. Each group then worked collaboratively to answer the questions they had developed and created an illustration that represented their answer.

Bernadel and Arkin both said that using the small-group method allows them to meet with students individually on a more consistent basis to follow their progress more closely.