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.
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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 (37) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

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

Hi LindzyT - Great questions. If I recall correctly (our visit to Mesquite was a few years back), instruction is differentiated for reteach, and I believe the assessment is different as well. However, I'll reach out to their principal for confirmation on that, and will also ask about what happens if a student has not mastered a skill after the week of reteach. Stay tuned...

Lisa's picture

I was wondering if anyone has used the R&E within the elementary classroom (for small schools with only one class/one teacher per grade?) Any suggestions for creative

Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture

Lisa -- great question, thank you! There are lots of teachers out there in very small schools like yours, and it certainly makes collaboration across classrooms more challenging.

Just off the top of my head, I would suggest partnering up with the grade above or below you to try a model similar to the one seen in the video, or if you have teaching aides or parent volunteers, you could do this on a much smaller scale with small groups of students within your own classroom, although you'd either need very skilled helpers or activities that can be done pretty independently, which could be harder with younger kids.

You can always pose this same question to our Elementary School group ( -- start a new discussion, include a link to this video, and see if we can get some other teachers to chime in.

Best of luck to you!

Jo's picture

I would like to know how you handle having R and E for multiple subjects? For instance, how do you reteach daily ... for math, English and science (our three core tested subjects).

Jose Boroto's picture

This is a very interesting approach to addressing both the students that need support and those who have alrealdy accomplished the requirements of the program. I am an ESL teacher in Ecuador working with really big classrooms (over 40 students per class in average) and the differentiation of instruction becomes specially dificult when managing those numbers. This alternative in the other hand would allow me to create lessons and activities that would allow me to work with the whole class, keeping elements of differentiation during the lesson, but also taking an extra step AFTER the class to maximize students learning potential. I believe that this type of approach, with some adaptations related to classroom space and the nature of my subject, will really help students accomplish, not only the requierements of the school, but also their potentials.

Anabel Gonzalez's picture

In my opinion, the way the collaborative work is carried out is what makes this strategy work. It is very interesting to see that who seems to be "strongest" teacher at that particular point, is the one selected to work with the reteach groups. In a lot of schools many teachers would not allow this because for some of them this would mean that the ones not chosen are in fact bad teachers. At this school, teachers acknowledge the value of understanding that we are all different, and we all have weaknesses and strengths at different points. In addition, here, "self" moves to a secondary position and it is common goals what drive the actions of the group.

Ana Cris's picture

I found your strategy very interesting and useful. I believe that one important factor when differentiating instruction is to count on the support of colleagues, administrators, and community in general. If we really want to have students at the center of the teaching-learning process, we must stop thinking in ourselves, and start working together toward our students' success. When you Reteach and Enrich, you are differentiating instruction at all levels: content, process, product and environment, and that is exactly what makes your strategy work well. I like the idea that all students get feedback through their formative assessment, and this information helps the teachers scaffold their kids' knowledge.

Jorge M. Vinan's picture

Mastering the essential skills is a must because it allows students progress within the curriculum without much problems due to "blanks". I think Reteach and Enrich is a feasible and easy way to help our students master those skills.
R&E gives students the opportunity of upfronted feedback regardless hurting feelings. I like this part of the strategy and I agree with the girl when she said that "(R&E) is not really bad. It's just some of us need a little more help". Not everybody is good at everything all the time and viceversa, not everybody is bad ar everything at the same time.
I sincerely believe this strategy is a good way to differentiate instruction since students hold accountability for standars, and teachers hold accountabilty for their students' needs. It is a shift from making all the way through the textbook. I am thinking on applying it on my school.

Mary Ann Stoll's picture
Mary Ann Stoll
Curriculum developer for K-12

Jo asked a good question, how do you do R&E for multiple subjects.

And, I'm wondering, during the week, while R&E is happening mid-day, what's happening during math class? Or does it take the place of math class such that math objectives are on a 2-week cycle?

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