feeling a bit overwhelmed over combo class

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by SuzieQ, Aug 2, 2011.

  1. SuzieQ

    SuzieQ Companion

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    Aug 2, 2011

    I just found out that I will be teaching a 1/2 grade class. I Have taught first grade and third but have never taught a combined class.I know there are so many things to teach in first that I am so overwhelmed about having another grade and a whole set of standards to teach. I will have an aide who will help, which makes me feel more at ease. The problem is that I know many parents who do not understand or see the benefits of their child being in a multiage classroom. What would you tell parents to convince them or help them understand that their child will benefit and learn in a multiage class? I want to explain to parents but I can picture many parents trying to debate me on the topic. Thank you.
     
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  3. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Aug 2, 2011

    I've never taught a combo class and the idea of one still confuses me. But I know a few teachers here do teach in this type of situation.

    I do want to say this though: YOU are the professional educator, not most of the parents (unless they're teachers too). You have decided how you will set up your classroom and as long as students are learning and are safe, the parents have no reason to complain to you about how you are teaching (and as long as your admins are happy too :) ).

    I got a lot of flack from parents with how I teach students science-- I was a new teacher so they love to attack me. I said "no" to textbooks, but would provide students with other text resources. Parents really want a textbook but I would simply explain that nobody learns how to do science and understand science from reading a textbook. It took a whole school year but a lot of the parents started to understand this. (If it came down to it, I was happy to provide research papers that would support my theory too. Hey, if parents want scientific research to prove I know how to teach science that's fine with me.)

    Also, if a parent keeps it up and really gets on your case, you must tell your principal. I had one set of parents get really nasty with me and my principal had to step in. She has completely supported me and at the same time offered me advice on what I can do to avoid such issues. The parents can't talk over the principal-- though the Mom has enjoyed talking to other parents to get them on her side-- but hey its the principal who gives me a contract every year. Stay confident and when you are unsure, seek wisdom and help from other educators.
     
  4. MIteacher

    MIteacher Rookie

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    Aug 7, 2011

    You mention "combo class" and "multiage" class. I have taught both, and they are very different in how your organize your classroom and deliver your instruction. Once you've decided on which one (or been told), try not to get overwhelmed (easier said than done!)...there is so much focus on individualized instruction, differentiation, etc. that even in a "regular" classroom, you have probably already used a lot of the strategies you'll need for a split class. Describe those strategies that you have already used to parents. While we all dread that split/multiage/combo class, it does provide an opportunity for a unique classroom setting for many different types of learners. Good luck!
     
  5. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Aug 7, 2011

    I teach in a multi-age combination class (prek/k). Which can be as difficult/challenging depending upon how you look at it. In any case I'm determined that this year I will look at my children as individuals and figure out how to group them from there.

    1. You will do a lot of differentiation and small group instruction that will focus on skills that are needed or to challenge your higher students.
    2. For the first grader whose advanced he/she can begin to get some second grade lessons.
    3. For the second grader whose still struggling with some first grade concepts and skills he/she can get those lessons and not feel intimidated.
    4. The students can learn from each other. Almost students as leaders in the classroom.
    5. The key is that you will Differentiate, DIFFERENTIATE. Your students will learn and grow.
    6. You can discuss individual goals and skills that you need them to work on weekly and on Friday conference with each student about how they feel about their progress.

    I'm thinking big Goals this year! I want to ensure my preks to my kinders grow! Good luck you can do it!
     
  6. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    Aug 8, 2011

    I think the reason behind the multiage class is important and will play into how the parents view your classroom.

    Is it because the school has an overflow of 1st and 2nd graders, but not enough to form new classes of each or is it because the school truly believes in the multiage philosophy?

    If it's the latter then you will have the support of administration. If it's the first then it is a fine line. There is a lot of training and planning involved in multiage teaching. If my child were placed in a classroom with 2 grade levels simply because of numbers, I would be concerned. However, I don't think you need to engage in debates with parents. I would direct their concerns to administration.

    Best of luck. It could be a challenge, but it could also be a wonderful situation for you.

    As a parent
     
  7. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Aug 8, 2011

    Here in my area of CA, combo classes are not formed because the district firmly believes in the benefits of a multi-age classroom. Combo classes are only assigned for one reason: There aren't enough students to form two separate classrooms. Period!
     
  8. RuralPAteacher

    RuralPAteacher Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2011

    multi age- vs combo

    What is the different between a multi-age classroom and a combo classroom?

    I thought they were the same. A combo class has a class of more than one grade, where the students will of course be multi-aged. Am I wrong?
     
  9. MIteacher

    MIteacher Rookie

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    Aug 9, 2011

    There are many aspects of multiage classrooms which are different from combo or split classes, but basically...in a combo class, children are instructed/grouped according to age or grade level. Conversely, in a multiage classroom, students are on more of a continuum and instruction reflects that. Often students are with the same teacher or teachers in the multiage classroom for more than one year.
     

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