Multi-grade elementary classes

Discussion in 'Multiage' started by time2teach, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. time2teach

    time2teach Companion

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    Apr 14, 2009

    I'm curious as to how teachers of multi grade elementary classes (say 4th/5th or 5th/6th combo). What do you do when the curriculum for each level is totally different? Do you take one group back to a small group type area and teach or teach at the board and the others do seatwork? What works and doesn't work in these situations?
     
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  3. TeacherShelly

    TeacherShelly Aficionado

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    Apr 14, 2009

    I teach a 2nd/3rd grade multiage class. I have the kids for two years. I teach almost everything to everyone at the same time, with plenty of differentiation in terms of showing mastery and understanding.

    For example with Science, I have two 3-unit science curricula, a total of six units. I choose three, then do the other three the next year. All of my students get all six over two years, but not in grade level order.

    Math is one area that I separate kids more than the others. I do it based on the student's understanding, though, not just grade. In other words, if a 3rd grader would benefit from what the 2nd graders are doing, I'll include her. If a 2nd grader is advanced, she may be doing work even beyond what some third graders are doing.

    There are many advantages to having kids for two years. It is sometimes really hard to find ways to meet everyone where they are, though. Challenging.
     
  4. Ambrosegirl84

    Ambrosegirl84 Companion

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    Apr 28, 2009

    I teach at a one-room school, where I have (the potential of) all grades. Usually I just have 5-7 kids with varied ages, but I LOVE the multi-age environment. I have my older kids teach the younger ones simplified versions of what they have learned in, say, science. I love to watch my 5th grader read aloud to the 2nd graders and hear her ask, "why do you suppose they did that?" or "what do you think will happen next?"

    Also, younger kids who are advanced listen in on the older kids' lessons. Their new knowledge shows up in their work, so I can see that they were listening. Older kids that need a little boost benefit from hearing the younger kids' lessons again.

    Not to mention the social skills gained by learning to interact positively with students of all ages.
     
  5. Lotte

    Lotte Companion

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    May 25, 2009

    I have worked in two multi-aged schools.

    Both vary every second year when it comes to curricula.
    f.i. 1. and 2. grade together get taught 1. grade curricula one year and 2. grade the next and then you differ between how deep they should go at the different age groups.

    I think it's super to have them together. :)

    Positive: It's very easy for the strong 1. grader to get a challenge by being taught with the 2. graders. (And vise versa)
     
  6. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    May 25, 2009

    I have taught grade 4/5 and grade 5/6 split classes. Split classes are becoming more and more the norm in many of our schools here and I'll be teaching English to a grade 7/8 split next year. Instead of focussing on the differences in grade level expectations, I begin by focussing on the similarities. Most of the time, I have been able to teach a common lesson, and then differentiate based on student need and to extend for the upper grade. My focus has always been on teaching one class, not on trying to teach two classes in one room.
     
  7. FitTeach

    FitTeach New Member

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    Jul 5, 2009

    That is great advice and I will definitely start by looking at the similarities in both curriculums as there are definitely several areas where concepts are overlapped and the upper grade just needs the extended activity!
    Do you have an example schedule for your day and how you structure it?
     
  8. SashaBear

    SashaBear Companion

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    Jul 25, 2009

    I have a thread about this on the elementary forum. I'm interviewing a 3/4 grade class in a few days.

    The advice I received was 1) teach 2nd grade curriculum one year, teach 3rd grade curriculum the next year, or 2) teach as many subjects the same as possible, differeniating when necessary.
     
  9. Springdruidess

    Springdruidess Rookie

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    Aug 25, 2009

    I spent last year teaching in a grade 5/6 class and it was a definite experience :) I think how you approach it depends on wether you are in a school that regularly uses split grade classes and so approaches split grades in a looping format (like TeacherShelly described) or are the single split grade class in a school that only has a split class b/c of numbers this one year (and so the students will go back to single grade rooms the next year).

    I was in the latter situation and so essentially had to teach both curriculums. For Language Arts and Math I taught everybody together, focusing on the similarities between the two grades. If there were specific skills that only my 6's needed to learn, it became an 'optional' lesson for the 5's. If they weren't up to it or just didn't want to participate, they had alternative grade level work to be doing (extra practice). If there were specific grade 5 skills, I enlisted my 6's as teaching assistants (great review for them!).

    For Science and SS, I taught two separate curriculums most of the time (combining into whole-class lessons whenever I could overlap the curriculums as much as possible). For the most part I tried to organize everything into 3 lessons per week for each grade - two of which they could work through on their own and one where they worked as a small group with me. That let me spend 1 dedicated lesson with each grade and a third lesson where I could float between the two groups or work with students who were struggling etc... It's a lot of set-up time, but I had some great team members who were wonderful at sharing resources/activities/lessons.

    There are lots of ways to handle the multi-age classroom - this was just how I did it :)
     
  10. WannaTeach

    WannaTeach Companion

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    Jan 22, 2010

    My multi-age is Kingergarten, First and Second. We have 3 teachers and an assistant. We make a three-year plan and will rotate our grades after. Currently, we have 48 students. I teach kinder math, second grade reading/lang. arts and we take weekly turns teaching calendar (add geography, Spanish, Frech and American Sign Language), science, social studies, health to all of them at the same time plus the other stuff like attendance, early morning baggy book time before school starts. We all work very well together. Our classroom is a "pod" with semi walls separating each of our rooms with a central area with a sink, the students mailboxes and cubbies. Our curriculum is the standard course of study but we don't use textbooks, it is very outside the box and creative. I love it. Differentiated learning is the key. I have sent kinders to the 1st grade math class and I have 2 first graders in my reading class with all kids on grade level and higher. My second graders are grouped and my kinders work at their level.
     

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