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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Mesquite Elementary School

Grades 3-5 | Tucson, AZ

Reteach and Enrich: How to Make Time for Every Student

See step-by-step how this Arizona elementary school gives its students the additional time they need to master core concepts and elevate their learning to the next level. Learn more about Reteach and Enrich.
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Reteach and Enrich: How to Make Time for Every Student (Transcript)

Calvin Baker: Most of us grew up, classic American education, you know. You can go through a unit where these was math, social studies or English, and at the end of the unit, you had a test. Then you moved onto the next unit, because you had to get through all the chapters by the end of the school year. And some kids would do well, some wouldn't. Some kids got good grades and some didn't.

Katie Dabney: In the past, we would just move on to the next chapter in the book, and sorry if you didn't get that. Maybe at the end of the year review, we'll try and touch on that. We wanted to get away from that practice. We made sure that we had a time in the day where if students did not master the skill that was previously taught, we gave them time to master that.

Lindsey Flora: So these formatives are a way of assessing everything that you have learned about prime and composite numbers.

Crystal Deryke: So we're gonna go ahead and get up our math offices. Put your first, last name on this test.

Nancy Varela: Is this a test that you have to take really fast?

Everybody: No.

Katie Dabney: What we do is we teach an objective, and that objective is calendared out for us. And at the end of teaching that objective, we would give a formative assessment, which is usually on Friday. Objectives usually last about a week. And based on the results of that formative assessment, we know if students have mastered that concept or if they have not mastered that. Then what teachers do is, they get together as a grade level and they look at their formatives, and they look at what students mastered that formative and which didn't, and they divide students into the reteach group and into the enrich group.

Nancy Varela: And so how many reteaches are you looking at?

Lindsey Flora: I'm looking at five I reteach, yep.

Nancy Varela: Crystal, do you have your number yet?

Crystal Deryke: Yes, nine.

Nancy Varela: Matt, what were your numbers?

Matt Hough: Eight.

Katie Dabney: One of the things that we found through our experience with reteach and enrich is that the teacher who had a very good turnout on that formative assessment, they did something right in that classroom. They did something right with their instruction on that objective.

Lindsey Flora: Is it safe to say a composite number is a number that has more than two factors?

Everybody: Yes.

Lindsey Flora: Very good. All right, that's what we're gonna write down.

Katie Dabney: So we felt that that teacher would be the most appropriate person to teach the reteach group.

Nancy Varela: I think they just need a little more time on this is what it looks like.

Lindsey Flora: Exactly. Well, I'm open to doing reteach for prime and composite.

Nancy Varela: What about what you've got planned, Matt? You had some enrichments planned, didn't you?

Matt Hough: Yeah, I did. I put three enrich programs together and three activities. I took what you had and I took what you had, and I took a sample on Marilyn Burns, and I just kinda read all three of them and I redid them on my board, on one of the poster boards. And I wrote it in like a child friendly version of it.

Cheryl Deryke: Of the divisibility rules?

Matt Hough: Yeah. And I gave an example underneath each one.

Nancy Varela: All right. So are we all set? Everybody feel comfy?

Lindsey Flora: Sounds good to me.

Cheryl Deryke: Yeah, I think so.

Katie Dabney: That following week, every day, Monday through Friday, from twelve thirty to one o'clock, we have reteach and enrich going on school wide. So the teachers that are teaching reteach, they have that reteach group and they stay with that group of students for that entire week. The enrichment students, they're split up and they would rotate between all of the other teachers in that grade level.

Lindsey Flora: Today in reteach, we're going to be going over prime and composite numbers.

Erica: I think reteach is kind of nice because if you don’t understand something, you won't go on until you understand it, so you won't be confused with anything else, and the teachers do help you. I realize that it's not really bad. It's just that you just need a little bit more help with it.

Matt Hough: You guys did really well on your formative last week and so today's your chance to do an enrichment portion. I really wanna challenge you. I'm giving you that option. Do you wanna do prime and composite, zero to a hundred, or do you wanna try prime and composite, zero to two hundred, using those digits? With a thumbs up, how many of you guys wanna do a hundred to two hundred? All right. I'm gonna go for the two hundred too and I'll help you out and I'll help you out as well.

Katie Dabney: We knew that it worked because the very year that we took our AIMs or our standardized test, our school became an excelling school. Our achievement is the highest in the state of Arizona, so that's something that we're very proud of.

Calvin Baker: When we hold students accountable for very specific standards, and we expect all of them to know that standard, then we hold ourselves accountable for getting that job done. And that is a very significant shift from simply saying, 'You know what, I made it all the way through the textbook.'

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Video Credits


  • Zachary Fink


  • Mariko Nobori


  • Daniel Jarvis

Associate Producer

  • Doug Keely


  • Cameron Trejo
  • Zachary Fink

Production Assistant and Audio

  • Jason Canfield

Video Programming Producer

  • Amy Erin Borovoy

Executive Producer

  • David Markus

Comments (31)Sign in or register to postSubscribe to comments via RSS

daniela's picture

I think it's a grat idea and I'd like to adapt it to implement it in my first grade classroom. However I was wondering, how do children that go to re-teach handle this emotionally? I'd be concerned that these children feel less capable, dumb or simply bad for not being able to understand the concepts the first time and for needing this special help?

Mariko Nobori's picture
Mariko Nobori
Former Managing Editor and Producer, Edutopia

Hi Daniela - That's an excellent question and one we asked as well. From speaking with several students at different grade levels, as well as the teachers and principal, we learned that the kids do not feel stigmatized at all because the program is so ingrained, it is simply part of the way the school works. Almost every student is in re-teach at some point or another, so they see it as a normal part of their experience, not a judgement . In fact, many students remarked that they really like re-teach because they get a little more time to learn things that are challenging for them.

De's picture
First Grade

Let me get this straight. You have reteach time TWICE every day, reteaching objectives from the prior week? Within that new week (OUTSIDE of reteach time) you are still introducing and continuing on with lessons in that subject area being retaught. While having two time slots for reteaching you are still able to find time for small group instruction and learning stations in Math and ELA? Thank you for the clarification.

Melanie Link Taylor's picture
Melanie Link Taylor
Educator, Blogger, Southern California

Many school sites have after school help, some teachers have homework help or tutoring, but reinforcing concepts in class should be the primary option. I call it 'Power Lessons" and differentiate instruction on a minor level with flexible grouping. The power of differentiating and recall--mighty indeed.

L. Horton's picture
L. Horton
Pre-K -5th grade Special Educator

I believe that it would depend upon the atmosphere established within one's classroom. If a teacher is hinting in any way "your less capable than the others or your dumb" vibe within the classroom and do not set some norms of classroom respect or conduct reteach could be viewed by the students in the way you have mentioned but if a teacher reinforces the importance to seek help and ask for assistance when their are misconceptions of concepts then their can not only be re-teachable times but also collaborative times where students who understand the concept can share their understanding with their peers.

Courtney Pushcar's picture
Courtney Pushcar
Kindergarten Teacher from Sheridan, Wyoming

We have almost exactly the same process in our Wyoming district. Although we call them I/E goups (Intervention and Enrichment), they follow about the same schedule. Our district has had a primary focus on writing for these groups, and we have seen a vast improvement. We will be making a transition to reading and math over the coming years. I am most worried about the time commitments that the groups may need. How do you manage grouping the students in different subjects? Or, do you just cover one subject per week?

Jouet Dotson - 480226's picture

We had a similar idea at my last school, however it was a little chaotic since it was only done near state testing time and covered various areas of content rather than what was done that previous week. I teach first grade now and I really like the idea of combining students from the different classrooms for reteach and enrich. I think this will be very beneficial to my students. Please let me know if there are any tips on how to implement this. I would also like to know what this Reteach & Enrich time looks like when you're working with different content areas such as Math and Reading. I will bring this up to my first grade team.

Mariko Nobori's picture
Mariko Nobori
Former Managing Editor and Producer, Edutopia

Hi Courtney - Thanks for your comment and questions! Here is more information from Mesquite's principal (Note: She provided this reply in 2011 to another user's inquiry, but I checked with her this week and she verified that it still holds true now.): "We began Reteach and Enrich in math because that was our area of need as a school. After seeing the positive results of the program, we have extended the Reteach and Enrich model to Reading and Vocabulary instruction. We call it VERB and it happens everyday (Monday-Thursday) from 10:30-11:00 along with Math R&E from 12:30-1:00. These blocks of time are set aside in our master schedule and considered "sacred." Students needing reteach in math or reading receive that instruction during Math R &E or VERB. However, differentiated instruction in all content areas is necessary and having a specified reteach block for every content area is not feasible due to time constraints. All objectives in all content areas follow a curriculum calendar. To help support all content areas, we have a gifted certified teacher on staff who attends our grade level Data Team meetings which occur twice a month. Her role is to provide enrichment strategies to teachers so that teachers can use those techniques in all content areas. We have focused on strategies like higher order questioning, using graphic organizers that require critical thinking (the higher levels of Bloom's Taxonomy), model products, etc. For our students needing extra support in content areas, we also have a Student Achievement Teacher on staff. Our SAT leads all Data Team meetings and serves as a resource to classroom teachers. She shares reteach strategies and resources to support classroom teachers with our reteach students. By providing our teachers with the resources they need (including professional development) they have become very effective differentiating their instruction in all content areas."

Josue Naranjo's picture
Josue Naranjo
Head of English Deaprtment and IB Coordinator at UENS

I have always been interested in differentiated instruction and after wondering for a few days on the Internet, I found out about Mesquite Elementary School experience with R&E. After thoughtful consideration, I decided to test the idea on my own backyard (the school I work at) but in terms of ESL classrooms with the equivalent to 7th graders. As a matter of fact, it's going to be my thesis project for a Master's I'm currently working on. I have been looking for the theoretical background behind R&E and I was wondering if any of you guys could provide me with some orientation. Thanks and congratulations to MES for such great outcome!

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