Two grades with low-lows to high-highs...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by teacherwithlove, Oct 10, 2012.

  1. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Oct 10, 2012

    I feel like I'm hitting a wall. I don't know what to do with my class anymore. I have students in 2nd grade who are LOWWWWW... then I have 3rd graders who are HIGH, like reading at the 5th grade level type of HIGH. Then I have everyone in between. 1/4 of our school year has gone by and I feel like I still have not been the most effective teacher for my students. :(

    To be honest, I was never taught how to teach a combo class. I am tired of feeling like I am barely cutting it. I want to be an effective teacher for my whole class.

    This is more of me just venting than me seeking advice but if you have any advice, please send it my way...

    this is only my 2nd year teaching btw. :help:
     
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  3. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Oct 11, 2012

    Teaching a combined class is really like teaching K-5 in one room! I always have kids at every level. I teach a 2-3 and have a 2nd grader who is reading level B and a girl who read every word on the QRI through HS flawlessly! In math I have a third grader who doesn't understand basic addition and subtraction, and a second grader who can do double digit multiplication IN HIS HEAD!! Amazing!

    What's saved me is Daily 5. I do everything independently. We have book bags and a leveled library. I do reading conferences. I do some small group, but honestly, I'd have 10 groups, so I only do guided reading for my below level readers. My on level readers get the comprehension mini lesson and independently read and have conferences with me or my aide once if twice a week.

    I do individualized spelling lists based on high frequency words (the kids test into a list and choose their words based on the list they are on. ) kids pair up and test each other. The do words they miss again and again until they are right. One girl missed NO words through 1000 (I tested her on 20 words) so she is exempt and does vocab instead.

    In math I do math partners. In groups of 4, two sets of partners, they do a daily activity. Puzzles, number of the day, problem solving, which is story problems or logic, or inside out problems (the answer is provided sbc they figure out the problem using the information they have.) another station is graphing the answers to the question of the day or games. I have one group a day do IXL. I do a 5-10 minute mini lesson each day from the curriculum, but I can't follow it through and through! It doesn't work. I sit with 1-2 groups a day to do another lesson. I spent 5 weeks establishing this routine and it's finally getting functional. I just started actually getting to the curriculum because it took so long to establish the routines.

    I hand two handwriting curriculums (cursive and print)

    I do science, social studies and writers workshop whole class.
     
  4. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 11, 2012

    It's definitely a struggle when you have students so spread out. I would not fixate on the grade level so much as each student's ability.

    **And I second the Daily 5 (or at least a similar structure).
     
  5. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Oct 12, 2012

    I have never taught a combined class, but I would say small groups would be very necessary, especially in this case when you have such a diverse group of learners. Have you done small groups yet with them?
     
  6. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    Oct 12, 2012


    I really like how you are running your class. Can you tell me what lists you are doing for spelling, or are you only testing HF words?
     
  7. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I third the Daily 5! I couldn't do without it.
    Every year you teach, you will have a W I D E variety of levels and Daily 5 helped me solve that problem.

    I also do all indepentent spelling and word work.
    I do have my class divided into 3 level with each level getting a pretest. If they miss a word, it's on their spelling list. The remainder they choose from lists I have created.
    I have wordlists for basically K-1 (200 words), 2-3 (400 words), and 4-5 (400) that the kids choose from. They may also choose a few festive words or recent interest words (Halloween, president, scarecrow, pumpkin, coen maze, etc).
     
  8. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I don't even teach a split and I feel like that. I go home most days thinking I let some of my kiddos down. And I am a huge advocate for making sure advanced kids are challenged-it's just been really hard for me this year. I think because it's such a big group and most came in so low.

    Anyway, no advice or anything, but just know you are not alone. ;)
     
  9. Rebel1

    Rebel1 Connoisseur

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    Oct 13, 2012

    Prayers coming your way.
    Remember to take time out for yourself; get your favorite snack for Monday, favorite ice cream for Tuesday, favorite dessert for Wed, favorite drink for Thursday, favorite main dish for Friday dinner, favorite movie for Saturday, and favorite music for Sunday!

    Get the positive attitude going, and count your blessings and see what God has done for you. He's only a pair of knees away, SO seek his help and guidance. He's the Man with the Plan!
    Your handle says it all! Right?
    Rebel1
     
  10. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2012

    Thanks TamiJ. I do HF words and I do individualized pattern words. I review the pattern of the week with the kids (for example, "ai"). Then, each child gets a list of 20-40 words following that pattern. They might range from a word like "rain" to a word like "complain". I get them from a website called "First School Years."

    I let the kids pick all of their own words, at their level. The first week, almost everyone chooses words that are 2-3 syllables, but soon they learn to pick at their level- just like they do with books. I write down everyone's words, and they copy them on to their homework sheets. Then, the kids test each other. I'm working on a big file to put on Teachers Pay Teachers about this spelling strategy.
     
  11. MissFroggy

    MissFroggy Aficionado

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    Oct 13, 2012

    I love this! I'm going to add it to my lists!
     
  12. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Oct 14, 2012

    Thanks for all of your wonderful advice!

    I do use DAILY 5 in my classroom and I am beginning to incorporate content centers for early finishers. I will officially begin this tomorrow.

    I just feel like combo classes are the pit in today's classrooms. We don't have nearly enough hours in the day to teach double standards (haha pun!) in every content area.

    TO MAKE THINGS WORSE, my boss has said that I might need to teach grades 2, 3 AND 4 next year because of a decline in enrollment. Just the thought of it makes me want to rip my hair out.

    This may be my last year working for _________ school district.
    :/
     
  13. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Oct 14, 2012

    I wish I could just focus on ability and not so much on grade level standards but it's really hard when your admin. pushes for higher testing results... and the grade level standards are different.
     
  14. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Oct 14, 2012

    Thanks, I ended up treating myself this weekend and wound up buying a new car. lol

    Thanks, prayers do help! I know that's for sure.
     
  15. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Oct 14, 2012

    I am an avid TPT shopper so when you put your file on there, let me know! :)

    That website has literally taken 10% of my salary this year. lol
     
  16. teacherwithlove

    teacherwithlove Comrade

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    Oct 14, 2012

    All of you guys are so amazing! Thanks for taking the time to reply with your own tips and sweet messages! This has really made me feel better, especially knowing that I'm not the only teacher who feels this way.

    *hugs through the computer*
     
  17. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Oct 14, 2012

    I think the best thing to do is teach EVERYTHING in small groups. Create workshops for each subject area and individualize lessons with open-ended activities as much as possible.
     

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