Dianna Schonfield is an IXL Professional Learning Specialist with more than a decade of educational experience in the classroom.
As educators, we often talk about the beloved “aha” moment. We’ve all been there: A student is struggling with a concept, but then something clicks, and you can see the wheels turning, the lightbulb flashes above their head, and the learning process is illuminated right before your eyes. It’s exciting, rewarding, and memorable!
For me, the best “aha” moments always happened while working with students in small groups. This shouldn’t come as a surprise—students thrive on collaboration and make the most gains when they’re working at the right level. The tricky part is finding time to figure out who to work with and what to do with them. With IXL, you get instant insights that help make those decisions for you.
Keep reading to see how you can use IXL’s tools to easily and efficiently build small-group instruction into your routine.
The Skill Analysis report is perfect to look into after you’ve assigned the entire class to work on the same skill. At the top of the report, choose a skill you want to dig into. You’ll get an overview of how many students have mastered the skill and how many are still practicing.
The report groups students based on the level of difficulty they’re working on within a particular skill. It also shows you recent questions the students have encountered, which you can use as sample questions to work on with each group of students. And just like that, small-group lesson planning is done for you!
The Trouble Spots report is an essential tool for addressing student needs efficiently. The report lists trouble spots in descending order, beginning with those shared by the most number of students. This allows you to allocate your time strategically and identify which skills may require the most review and reteaching.
A student has a trouble spot when they have missed three or more questions within an item type or level in a skill. You can quickly scan the report and decide what to go over with the whole class, what’s better for small groups, and what to work with students individually.
Above the list of student names for each trouble spot, you’ll also see questions from the skill that students answered incorrectly. By including the exact questions that were missed, the report provides relevant questions you can use with your small group.
After reteaching a skill to a group of students, click “Suggest this skill” so students remember to review the skill later.
IXL Group Jam
As you can see, IXL Analytics makes it easy to create small groups and determine exactly what each group needs. Then you can invite groups of students to do a fun review of those skills with a Group Jam session!
Group Jams are different from skill practice because all participants, including the teacher and students, see the same question on their screen. You can take this opportunity to quickly reteach or engage students with thoughtful questions before they begin answering the question on their own. Since all students are working on the same question, it creates a perfect opportunity for peer collaboration and discussion.
Group Jams are also great for station rotations, centers, or flip-flop routines. For example, while one group is working with you in a Group Jam, the other students might be working on independent practice or questions from the diagnostic.
With small-group instruction, students can work on what they need, when they need it. IXL makes it easy to find out what students’ needs are and quickly address them!
Don’t have access to IXL yet? Get started with a free 30-day classroom trial.