forced into k/1 combination

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by clynns, Jul 17, 2010.

  1. clynns

    clynns Companion

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    Jul 17, 2010

    I'm really stressed today. I've been teaching K for several years now and I've been told that I'm expected to teach a K/1 combo this year. I'm not happy about this. If I do this I will have a large group of kids that I had this past year. It's not that I don't like them because I loved them but I don't think it's a good idea to have kids back to back. I don't understand why I'm being asked to do this out of everyone else at my school. The K part would be made up of kids who didn't pass last year and those who barely did or had to go on because they'd already repeated. So these would be rather low students. I hope I'm not being totally selfish but I'm not happy about this. I've been working so hard this summer to research ways to teach and just have so much I'm ready to do. This would throw all of that off. I was recently told by my admin that I would be in K so I went ahead and got started. Anyone have anything like this happen to you or any advice? I'm just really overwhelmed and frustrated
     
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  3. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Jul 18, 2010

    We always expect that there may be some changes in our teaching assignment between the end of one school year and the beginning of the next. With new enrollments, students moving away and staffing changes, sometimes classes need to be readjusted. It's always frustrating, but be thankful that you hav some time to prepare before the year begins. (Forr 3 out of the first 4 years our school was open, we had teachers change assignments right up until Christmas--one teacher, during his first year at the school, taught a different grade each term!)

    We had a K/1 split last year for the first time. Everyone, including the principal, was apprehensive about this combination and wondered how it would work (the split was necessary because of our numbers). Surprisingly, it worked quite well. The class was carefully put together with low grade 1s and relatively high kindergarten students, so many of the students could benefit from the same lessons and activities. Some of the less mature grade 1 students benefited from being the "big kids" in the class, and some of the higher Ks benefited from being with older students instead of with JKs.

    I can hear your frustration, and it's always difficult to make a change. My sense is that you were asked to do this because your administrator has confidence in your ability to do a good job; they don't assign teachers to fail or as a punishment--that would be doing the students a disservice. The teacher who co-taught the K/1 at my school is a good friend. She's out of town until the end of July, but I can email her and see if she can offer some advice or suggestions.
     
  4. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Jul 18, 2010

    What an awesome challenge for you! Your principal must think you are a fantastic teacher to give you this position. It isn't a bad thing to have students two years in a row. They already know your routines and will be able to fall right back into were you left off. The new students will learn quickly the routines and move from there.

    If I had stayed at my first teaching job, I would have had my students for nine years in a row.
     
  5. cheer

    cheer Comrade

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I am so afraid this will be me. My P said that she would never do a split with 1st but I only have 6 students (sm. private school) and K is over in numbers. So she may not have a choice. I am not sure how to even run a split. How do you schedule 2 language arts, 2 maths, 2 sciences, 2 SS,and 2 writing blocks? I will find out in August if this is going to be my reality. I hope not!!!
     
  6. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I agree that your P must have a lot of faith in you to trust you with this new position. I do believe in looping with kids (obviously, since I agreed to do that this year). There are so many benefits-you know exactly what they need as you plan and as others have said-they already know the routines, you have a relationship with the parents. I know it's jarring, especially to find out now, but this could really be an exciting thing.

    cheer-you wouldn't need 2 blocks-if it were me, I would probably do a limited whole group instruction (make that a general objective like comprehension or blending with your read-aloud), then do small group/workstations or something like the Daily Five. That way you are targetting the kids on their levels and you could do that with math and writing as well. All classes have that variety of levels, yours would just be more defined. :)
     
  7. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I have traditionally taught K-5 in one classroom. This year I am going to be teaching 2-5. It is not as difficult as it seems. I go through the state standards and decide which ones overlap from grade to grade. Those are the standards I teach first. I normally do a whole group mini lesson and then break up into centers and small group instruction to differentiate. Many of the additional concepts are worked on in centers. This is a really short explanation but I just wanted to give you some positive encouragement that it can be done. And I LOVE having my students for several years.
     
  8. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Jul 18, 2010

    You will figure it out. And you can actually to ability grouping instead of grade grouping. I had 9 grade levels and was able to teach all of them. Don't stress yourself out.
     
  9. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

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    Jul 18, 2010

    A friend of mine did this two years ago, and I came in to observe her one day. For literacy she did the Daily 5, because it was the same to set up for both grade levels. When the kindergartners were working independently, she taught the 1st graders whole-group literacy instruction, and vice-versa. It seemed to work out well. The kindergartners went to other kindergarten classrooms for rest time, and for play time, so she had that extra time with her first-graders, as well.

    Just some ideas!
     
  10. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2010

    This actually seems like a lot of fun to me! As kindercowgirl mentioned, I would probably do a lot of small group instruction. I always think I should do more small group lessons, but never get around to it (for math). This would force me to do it!

    Luckily a lot of the standards build on one another (or at least I assume they do). I would do more of the K skills in whole group (the first graders need that review too!)... then you can build on that skill in smaller groups.
     
  11. demijasmom

    demijasmom Companion

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    Jul 18, 2010

    well again your P must think you're a wonderful teacher. Correct me if I'm wrong the grade combos are grouped by ability and not by grade level? So you're not teaching 1st and then K or vice versa, do small groups and mini lessons.
     
  12. clynns

    clynns Companion

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    Jul 18, 2010

    Thanks for all of the comments! After sleeping and reading all this I think now my main reason for not wanting to do this is I'm afraid I'll fail at it. I don't know how I'd manage it all. I have been working on Daily 5 stuff all this summer. I guess it comes down to how my principal decides to make the class.
     
  13. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Jul 18, 2010

    I would talk to your principal about how you think the kids should be grouped into classes... I think if you approach it as what is best for the kids, your opinions will be well-received. It would show the P that you have really put thought into doing the combo class!
     
  14. NC1stGradeTeach

    NC1stGradeTeach Rookie

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    Sep 9, 2010

    Thank you for this question!!! This afternoon I got the news that I would become a K-1 classroom..:dizzy::dizzy::dizzy::dizzy:....I feel the exact same way!!! I don't want to fail and this would be my first time teaching kindergarten in my teaching career.....I don't know what to expect.....
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Sep 10, 2010

    Having kids 'back to back' is called looping. There is considerable research supporting this practice:

    Students change from one grade to the next with a minimum of anxiety (Grant & Johnson, 1995). Looping provides children with additional time to build the relationships on which much of children's learning depends (Checkley, 1995; Haslinger, Kelly, & O'Lare, 1996; Lincoln, 1997; Shepro, 1995). Looping can turn parents into supporters and promotes stronger bonding between parents and teachers (National School Public Relations Association, 1995; Shepro, 1995). Looping essentially adds an extra month of teaching/learning time during the second year when the typical transitional period at the beginning of the year is virtually unnecessary (Hanson, 1995; Burke, 1996).

    Even with some 'new' kids in your class, you are sure to see some of the above benefits. Embrace this challenge. And remember- you are not being FORCED to do anything- you can always look for another job.
     
  16. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Sep 10, 2010

    I would have looped nine times with my first class ever if i had stayed there. :)
     
  17. clynns

    clynns Companion

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    Sep 10, 2010

    Okay so I originally posted this in the summer. We've been in school for 12 days and I love my k/1. It's tough and busy but each day gets better!
     
  18. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    So glad you are enjoying it! I wish I had looped with my K class last year. But I am starting to enjoy my new kids this year.
     
  19. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    Sep 10, 2010

    It looks as though we may be getting a K/1 this year as well. Our kindergarten classes are all full (as are almost all of our classes) and we have received registrations for 3 more kindergarten students. The ball is now in our superintendent's court as he needs to decide whether one of our classes can go over the cap (a certain percentage of classes in the district can), we reorganize our classes with our existing staff (which will be difficult to do, but not absolutely impossible) or whether we will reorganize with a new teacher. We likely won't know for a couple of weeks; but are getting ready for any possibility.
     
  20. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    We have a K/1 combo at my school. It's comprised of the high kindergarteners and low first graders. The teacher seems to be doing fine, mainly because she has 19 kindergarteners and only 6 first graders. She deploys her first graders (we have 6 first grade teachers, so each teacher takes one extra student) during the entire language arts block. In the afternoon, she has everyone together.
     
  21. JaimeMarie

    JaimeMarie Moderator

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    Sep 11, 2010

    19 kindergartners plus six 1st graders by herself? WOW that is crazy.
     
  22. UVAgrl928

    UVAgrl928 Habitué

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    Yay! I'm glad you are enjoying it :)

    Are these combo classes at public schools? I imagine it would be very doable depending on the students' levels, but I didn't realize so many schools did this!
     
  23. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Sep 11, 2010

    All kindergarten classes in my district have 25 kids! They do, however, have a three-hour aide each and every day!
     
  24. optimist05

    optimist05 Rookie

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    Jul 18, 2011

    clynns - k/1 combo

    Hi...I was wondering how your first year went??? I have a potential job offer for a K/1 class @ a very small public charter school...I am a new teacher & am excited for a job but feeling concerned about the split class...any thoughts??
     
  25. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Jul 18, 2011

    I might would suggest for you to do a little reserach on the Montessori Philosophy. We have several combination of splits. The main obvious ones are prek/k and 1,2,3 together or different combinations of those.

    Last year at our school (and my 1st year there) There was a k/1 split and this year there will be two k/1 split. Our splits are based upon mid to low K's and mid to low 1st.

    First congrats on the position. Although you are dreading it, everyone is right. Your P is giving you that position because h/she has confidence that you can pull it off and that you are capable of handling the challenge.

    Think of the skills that each group will need, many you can do whole group lessons with. But I also will think you will do a lot more small group lessons with each grade level. Incorporate the use of your assistant if you will have one.

    On the bright side of having some students a second year in a row you will know what works for them and what doesn't work for them... so that will cut out a lot of the puzzle work of figuring out what works for them and what doesnt.

    I have a vague feeling that you will grow to like the K/1 Split.

    Please keep us posted! Good luck!
     
  26. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Jul 18, 2011

    I didn't read this before I posted my response! My vague feeling was correct! So happy you are enjoying it!
     

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