Teaching Twins

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Ms.Jasztal, Jul 14, 2011.

  1. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Jul 14, 2011

    Just curious as to whether your school permits twins in the same classroom.

    Our school does because I am receiving twins this year. I believe they have been together since Kindergarten.

    I see this from a lot of different aspects (good ones). I feel there are a lot of educational benefits having twins together- they can learn from one another a great deal. If they desire, they can form partnerships every once in a while in the classroom and discuss what they are reading or complete a science experiment together. Though they should not partner up for everything, I think this is an interesting adventure. I believe there have been two sets of twins who have been together in classes together at our school before, but in childhood, I don't remember any twins being together, ever. I believe there were twins together in high school, but definitely not in elementary or even middle school. Sometimes I know they don't want to be together, though... and sometimes they do.

    So, does your school permit it, and how do you feel about it?
     
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  3. Rox

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    Our school permits it, but I think it should be determined on a case by case basis. Sometimes the dynamics between the twins are not as great, and they don't perform as well when the other twin is in the room with them. Others do great with their twin by their side.

    I've also heard of some teachers that just weren't able to tell the two apart and kept teaching them at the other twin's level!
     
  4. Love to Teach

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    Last year I had three sets of twins in my room..yes, three!! :) We only have one section of each grade, so there was never an option of ever splitting them up. All three sets were sister/brother twins, and it went great.

    It was fun and interesting to see the family dynamics come into play from time to time. One set of them was quite competive and outgoing by nature, and from time to time, I had to quietly remind them that they needed to treat each other with the same courtesy and respect that they would treat any of their other classmates. :)

    This year I will also have a set of twins, girls, one of which is diabetic. They are great students, but I do have trouble telling them apart...or have up until now, that is. I think once I get to know them a little better that will not be an issue. :)
     
  5. bonneb

    bonneb Fanatic

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    I had brother/sister twins last year and will loop with them this year, adding a combined class with a set of girl twins. I do find it very interesting.

    My girl/boy twins constantly crack me up. There are times I have to correct them because of their behavior toward each other, but sometimes I also back off, thinking, "They've been together since conception. Who am I to butt in?"

    The girl twins are very opposite of each other, and thankfully are not identical! I treat twins just like anyone else, try to teach at their level and help them progress.
     
  6. historynut

    historynut Rookie

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    My first 3 years I had 3 different sets of twins! I started to think that the office was out to get me! :dizzy:

    My school doesn't really have a policy. Only one set of the 3 were identical. The identical set the parents actually requested it. The other 2 sets I was told was completely random that they ended up together. :lol:
     
  7. MissT34

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    I don't think we have any sort of policy for this. Although, we had a pair of twin boys, along with their older brother who'd been held back twice, all in the same grade level last year. They were all considered at-risk and they were all in different classrooms because they did NOT get along well. in fact, I had the two twins in one of my intervention sessions and when I mentioned it to the literacy coach, she said "Oh no! We're going to have to switch them.. they CAN'T be together!" I wonder how the poor parents dealt with them!
     
  8. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    We usually ask the parents whether they prefer the students to be together or separated. Next year, I'll have a set of grade 7 twins who are new to the school and the grade 5/6 teacher will have either 2 or 3 sets of twins.

    We do try, however, to not have siblings of different ages together in a split class.
     
  9. monsieurteacher

    monsieurteacher Aficionado

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    I had twins... it was difficult at first, but then one lost one of her front teeth, and then one broke her arm... not that I would wish a broken arm on anyone, but it made it easier to tell them apart.

    I also sat them on opposite sides of the classroom, so I could easily tell which was which based on which side of the room they were on.
     
  10. Lynn K.

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    Generally, we split them up unless parents ask for them to be together or there's only one section of that grade.

    We had identical twins this year who were in the same class. I had the hardest time telling them apart! I kept them in alphabetical order in my classroom, but if they were out of their seats or in a different room, I was clueless!
     
  11. Pencil Monkey

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    My experience with twins has only been non-identical sets. Most twin parents want their children treated as individuals. So the key is to get to know them individually as you would any other student in your room. In most cases twins are very different from each other. I have had a set of twins (or half a set) in almost every one of my classes since I began teaching.
     
  12. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    My school does. I've had twins two years in a row. The first set I had were very competitve boys. One was obviously smarter than the other. This caused major behavior problems in the classroom. My second set were a dream. Both were very smart;however, the boy twin was gifted and his sister wasn't. This wasn't a problem because they loved to help each other. They really changed my view on having twins. I would love to have a pair like those two every year.
     
  13. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    We try to keep twins on the same team of teachers but in different classes. However, we have put twins and even triplets in the same class when requested by a parent.
     
  14. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I had twins in my class my first year of teaching. A boy and a girl. Very different from each other, but each other's biggest ally.

    In my current school we tend to separate twins but I think a parent request to keep them together would probably be honored. I had a triplet this year...they were each in a different class!:)
     
  15. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    WOW! THREE sets of twins!!!! All I have done in the past, ever, is teach one twin while the other was in another class. :)

    I already asked my two students when they were in third grade how I could tell them apart. They were awesome about it and very understanding. :)
     
  16. MissJill

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    I had 4 sets of twins this year in the fifth grade, but they were all separated (none in the same HR). That was a little difficult because the parents compared what each class was doing. I really loved seeing how they learned differently and the similarities between them. 1 set was a boy and a girl, I had 2 sets of girls, one identical and one fraternal, and one set of identical boys.

    It was really nice to see all of them grow this year especially since my sister had fraternal twins in May!

    It also got me asking about birth weight in class (which was very interesting considering the level of our kids and how many were low birth weight).
     
  17. kcjo13

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    You know, my town has almost zero sets of multiples! We had a set of identical boys go through K-12, and graduate a couple years ago, but before that the only other set I can think of is my cousins, identical girls...in 1982!!

    But we only have one class per grade, so we couldn't split them up even if they wanted to be.
     
  18. Toast

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    Our school doesn't have a policy. I had a set of identical twin boys a few years ago and I found they were extremely competitive with each other. So much that they were a distraction to themselves and others.
     
  19. Ellensmom

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    Our school permits it- if the parents want it. There is currently a set going into 2nd grade who have always been together. I'm not sure about this coming year. There was a set in my 3rd grade class that was NEVER together. It was actually kind of a pain to have them in separate classes. We only departmentalized for 1 subject. We had a constant battle of having to make sure the things that were taught the same, were corrected the same. If 1 of us graded a certain way, we both had too. It really got annoying ,because I was NOTHING like the other teacher. I've seen both good and bad about having them in the same room.
     
  20. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    I am the only teacher in grade, so if twins register and qualify, I get them both. However, they are split in Kindergarten, unless a parent requests (and has a good reason) for them to be together. You'd be shocked at how many parents can't bear the idea that the twins will not be together...and it's almost always the parents' issue, not the kids'.

    I had a set of identical twins this year, and the mom (who I adored) always put one twin's hair in two ponytails, while the other one was always in one ponytail. That was my saving grace.

    I do think that parents sometimes have inappropriate reasons for wanting twins together. I had a parent insist that the kids stay together for KDG (she had triplets) because, otherwise, she might have to remember THREE gym days and THREE library days, etc. I told her that I have three kids, all born within 4 years, so I have that same issue....and it isn't that hard in the end. The kids take responsibility for it at a young age, and they should.
     
  21. teachgrade5

    teachgrade5 Comrade

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    At our school the admin tries to split twins up by the time they reach 3rd grade unless a parent requests they are put together. One year one of our 5th grade classes had a set of triplets because the parents requested they stayed together. Most of the time they are split.

    I have had a partial twin set in my class. One year it wasn't too bad because the parents didn't compare the two different classes. Another year it was a pain because the parent compared my class to the other class and complained about the differences.

    I find this discussion interesting as my husband and I are expecting twins at the end of November. We have even discussed if we want to keep them together in school (I know way to soon to worry about it). I would like to keep them together when they are young, but I think as they get older I will want them to be split. I mean they are going to be together all the time anyway, maybe they will need a break from one another at school (lol!). Guess I will have to wait and see.
     
  22. shasha379

    shasha379 Devotee

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    We had triplets this year. Two were identical and one looked nothing like the others. The two identical tried the switch-a-roo. I could distinguish one triplet from the others though. The mom constantly compared the classes. This is why my P likes to keep them together whenever possible.
     
  23. TamiJ

    TamiJ Virtuoso

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    I am a twin, and my twin and I were always separated. We were very shy, so I think my mom did that intentionally to get us out of our shell. I can remember in preschool getting so sick from anxiety, that my mom finally pulled me out. Then in K (the only year sis and I were in the same class), my sister and I bawled for at least the first week. There was separation anxiety from being apart from our mom, and also extreme shyness.

    In my own personal opinion, I know how separation could be a good thing, but I guess it really depends on the set of twin. We have triplets coming into 1st grade next year, with only two 1st grades. I will have 2 of the triplets, and the other one, who is more independent, will go in the other class. So, I guess it just depends, but being that my sister and I always struggled to be seen as individuals as opposed to "the twins", separating twins is one way to begin to achieve that.
     
  24. CFClassroom

    CFClassroom Connoisseur

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    I have identical twins of my own. They are almost 2 so we haven't crossed that road yet, but I recently did a graduate research product on the subject. The bottom line from the studies I read was that there are pros and cons to both, but that it really depended on the specific set of twins.

    My school typically has them together in K and apart after that. However, I don't think parents have ever requested otherwise.
     
  25. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Interesting reading everyone's thoughts! IHeartRecess, time will tell, and TamiJ, every situation is different. :) So many factors go into the decision parents (and districts) must make.
     
  26. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    We had 7 sets of twins last year. Yes, 7. In my room I had one pair of brother/sister and 4 individual. The one set I had was a parent request, but we generally try to keep them apart.

    When I did placement for next year, I seperated the set I had in my room.
     
  27. maya5250

    maya5250 Comrade

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    As some have mentioned, it depends on each case. I haven't taught twins before. I wanted to share my friend's story about her twin brothers. They were both AP in middle school and were placed in AP classes because it was the only class taught. They fought over friends so much that her mom decided to take one of them to another school to attend the AP program. Mom was tired of the phone calls.
     
  28. myKroom

    myKroom Habitué

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    My school splits twins.

    I personally don't have a preference either way. I think at some point they do need to be split, but it's really what is best for the kids! However, if twins are split I think that the school needs to make it clear to the parents that all teachers are different and the students may not be doing the EXACT same things!

    I say this because...

    We have 3 sets of twins coming in this year out of a class of 65! Our P is wigging out and frantic that we MUST be all on the same page all the time (they had issues in the past with some twins and their parents). Well...if we are going to freak out this much about them getting the "same stuff" then put them in the same class! Every teacher teaches and runs things differently! We all teach the same content and out of the same manual, but in our own style and way. I just have a bad feeling that we are going to have to be exact copies of each other. Our P does not handle conflict well and I don't feel that she will support us if a parent complains. She wouldn't stand up for us and say that all teachers teach differently...she would just come to us and tell us to change it!
     
  29. Love to Teach

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    Congratulations...how exciting, Teachgrade5!!! :)
     
  30. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I had twins that both had learning disabilities that I saw for reading/math. They were on the same level, so I kept them in the same group. I thought it might be a problem when I found out they were twins, but really they were wonderful! They were so supportive and caring with each other. They would always encourage the other one and celebrate with them when they met goals. One met all of her IEP goals about two months before the other, and the one that hadn't met them was genuinely happy for her twin that had "filled up her whole chart" (a sticker chart tracking progress). Then the one that met the goals worked actively with the other one to help her practice. They were so cute! I'll have them next year too, but I think they both might actually test out. They're up for reeval next year and they're doing really well. The only concern I ever had was that they were so close the other group members might feel jealous/left out. They would even walk around holding hands and things like that. At one point, it was them and just one other girl in a group, and I sort of felt bad for the other girl. Other than that though, no problems. They had very different clothing styles/personalities so I had no trouble telling them apart even though they were identical.
     
  31. stampin'teacher

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    We always split them up. Part of if I think is for admin to say that both classrooms (there are two for each grade) are teaching the same material, but to also give them their own opportunities for growth. We mix up the classrooms a lot-we use flexible grouping for math, so they still have instructional time together at some point.
     
  32. MissFroggy

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    I almost was going to have two sets of twins in my class next year, but they separated the two boys. The other set is girl/boy.

    I have had twins over the years. Sometimes it's great, sometimes, not so much...
     
  33. letsteach

    letsteach Comrade

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    I have twins and the policy of their primary school was to separate (as long as parents were willing). My girls were first separated in Grade 2. Generally speaking, twins are with each other 24/7 and rarely get a break. When my (non-identical) girls went to school, they went together. They went to preschool, kindy and were placed together in grade 1 (for confidence). However, these two children who had always had each other suddenly did not. One twin found a best friend on day one (with whom, 8 years later is still her best friend) while the other twin struggled to find and develop a friendship. With hindsight, twins don't have to develop the necessary social skills to find, develop and maintain a friendship as they've always had their twin.
     
  34. loves2teach

    loves2teach Enthusiast

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    My friend had to fight to get her twins to be in class together- she honestly had to go and get a drs. note and a psy. note!

    We have had twins together and some that weren't. We also have a lot of cousins who live together and sometimes they get the same classroom. There is a set of twins coming up this year who are usually together and another set who aren't. I wonder if I will get them? Last year and they year before I had one twin and my neighbor had the other. I always felt bad for the parents trying to get used to both of our strategies (and the kids too).
     
  35. kimrandy1

    kimrandy1 Enthusiast

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    This is why I think you should seperate them earlier, during preschool, if possible, when the whole group is learning those sorts of skills.
     
  36. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

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    At my current school we seperate, when there is more then 1 section of the class. My 1st year there we had problems with a Mom who wanted both girls in the same class & the P wouldn't do it. We test our kids coming in & base classroom assignments on that. There was also an older brother.

    Because of the differences in the classes Mom had problems all year. She wanted both girls doing the same exact thing, even when 1 was reading & the other girls was still learning letters/sounds. She wanted both girls doing math (in her mind that was addition/subtraction). One of the girls didn't know her numbers!

    Yup, she complained because her 3 kids, 1 in 1st, 2 in K, had 3 different gym days. How was she suppose to remember that?!?! 3 different spelling lists! 2 different lunch times! I could go on.

    She's a mom who needed a school that everyone in the grade level did the same exact thing at the same exact time, even if the child wasn't ready for it.

    Oh, she was also studying to be a special ed. teacher.
     
  37. janney

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    In my school we have 5 reg ed teachers at each grade level so they try to split up any kids who are related or living in the same house. I did have cousins once but I don't think the office knew and they had been moved around enough so I didn't say anything.
     
  38. sevenplus

    sevenplus Connoisseur

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    I have had sets of twins in my class a few times (2 sets of identical twins that I struggled to tell apart) and I've also had several instances of having one twin and the other one was with a different teacher. At our school we let the parents decide if they stay together or go to different classes. I have never had a problem either way and I've never had a parent complain about different expectations across classrooms.

    I hope the parents who complain about having to remember "different gym days" and that sort of thing realize what an incredible blessing they have. (I have dealt with infertility and loss over many years, including the m/c of twins last year.)
     
  39. EiffelTower

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    I was actually just looking at my class list and noticed that I have twins this coming year. It doesn't really matter to me either way but it should be interesting to see how long it takes me to tell them apart.
     
  40. Miss84

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    I had twins in my class for this past school year and they were like night/day in everything! (behavior, mannerisms, grades,..etc.)
     
  41. sjnkate

    sjnkate Rookie

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    Jul 15, 2011

    My school permits it if the parents request it.
    As for how I feel about it, I agree with Rox that it depends on the twins. I'm a twin. :) My sister and I were kept in separate classes because our parents wanted us to be able to develop our own personalities (we are still extremely similar). When we were in sixth grade we were put in the same elementary school classroom. Halfway through the year we moved to a district where sixth grade= middle school. It was definitely a plus to have my sister with me that year and we enjoyed being in the same classes. That was the last time we shared classes until college (my sister is a teacher as well). I have met twins who are very competitive though, and for them I think being in the same class would be detrimental.
     

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