Helping Struggling Students


I find that, when I formally instruct students, most fall into one of four categories.

First, there is Group A:  This is the group of students that TOTALLY get what you are saying and understand how your lesson helps them in their life.  They readily pick up where the resources are housed for their future reference and they are likely to use the resources often.

While the group above might live in every teacher’s dreams, a complete class of them would really be reminiscent of the Stepford movies (and we all know how dangerous that is!)  …Plus, there is benefit in struggle (perseverance, modesty, etc.) and there are lessons in mistakes.  We truly do not want a class complete of Group A.

Next there is Group B:  This is the group which understands the reasons for the lesson and appreciates them; they record where the resources are housed; yet they just needs to get their “sleeves rolled up” and dig into the work.  When the teacher checks in on them, they need very little (if any) assistance.

Group C follows:  These students need the teacher after the formal lesson.  When the teacher swings by, it may be a matter of the teacher modeling how to get started or having the student navigate to the resources which will help the students throughout the project.  After this little bit of work, this group of students can get started.

Finally, we have Group D:  I find myself working with these students regularly and the work is varied to their various needs.  Our school has our teachers record our “intervention” work with these students and I have created a template that aligns with large research projects.  Please feel free to use this template in your own work with your “Group D” students.

Student Name:


Classroom Teacher:  

Special Education co-teacher/Instructional Assistant (if applicable):  

Date of Reference:




Research Topic:

Thesis Statement:


Possible challenges (bold all which apply):

  • nonfiction reading comprehension

  • vocabulary development needed

  • modeling of task completion needed (resource location, notetaking, organization, etc.)

  • QuickStart Guides needed

  • Graphic organizers needed

  • conceptual assistance needed

  • writing skills assistance needed

  • assignment modification needed

  • presentation skills assistance needed

  • “dry run” of presentation needed

  • time management assistance needed

  • lack of motivation

  • easily distracted

  • student becomes frustrated

  • absenteeism

  • resistance to additional support


Actions (record challenge intervened upon, date, and content of each intervention):


Notes on resources student is consulting:

  • books from our print shelves

  • books from other libraries

  • ebooks

  • websites

  • scholarly journals

  • Twitter or Google Alerts

  • quantitative research (statistics)

  • comprehensive and specific research sources to main topic and subtopics within

  • Primary sources consulted

  • highly analytic secondary sources

  • varied viewpoints (cultural, political, religious, personal opinion)

  • copyright pertinence


Notes on student organization methods:

  • Google Site (optional)

  • Diigo (optional)

  • other (specify method)

  • Noodletools (required)


Notes on task/deadline completion:

  • thesis

  • outline

  • notecards

  • annotated bibliography

  • rough draft

  • presentation



  • communication with classroom teacher

  • communication with special education teacher

  • communication with teaching assistant


Results (list goal and data to support achievement of goal):



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