Teachers are often dismayed when told they'll be teaching a split grade the following year,especially if it's in an Immersion Program. Calling it a combined grade doesn't soften the blow!
And no matter which way you look at it, teaching a split presents challenges that a straight grade teacher doesn't have to face. Report cards are more complicated. Science and Social Studies are often completely different, though this program helps integrate a fair bit of it in a relatively effortless way.
On the other hand, teaching a split grade has some great advantages, and I'm here to help you put them into practice to make your teaching life easier. It doesn't matter whether it's a kindergarten/grade 1, a 5/6 or anything in between. This program is easily modified to suit any primary or junior classroom. Much of it can probably also be imported into a 6/7 or a 7/8.
I'm insanely busy at the moment because we're winding down toward the end of our program for the year. Graduation for my grade 5s is coming up, I have my 5-year professional review on Monday, my reports are due on Tuesday, teachers are moving classrooms, OSRs have to be updated in the office files.....the usual host of end-of-year tasks. Over the summer, when I have a little more time (in between trying to get plans approved for building our hobbit house farm), I'll put lots more time into getting as much help for you as I can. In the meantime, I hope there will be enough here to at least get you started.
It's a program that offers independence for both teacher and students. In fact, my program developed because I was in a split grade. I know how overwhelming it can be to face a split grade for the first time, because in my first year of teaching in the public school system I was reorganized from a grade two to a 1/ 2. A first year teacher with eleven behaviour problems, more than 80% ESL, including one little girl who had no English whatsoever, and I had no ESL support until November. I had to get those kids working independently! I taught a 1/ 2 for several years, and have since taught a 2/3. Prior to working in the public school system, I team-taught a JK/K split in a private school. There are teachers with way more experience teaching combined grades than I have, and you can be sure they wouldn't stick with it year after year if they felt it was a horrible job.
I'm not saying it's easy. We all know teaching isn't an easy job! But a combined class doesn't have to be bad, and has some real advantages. For one thing, you'll usually get the more independent students, who tend to be better behaved and generally easier to encourage toward independence. Or at least this is what they will tell you--and sometimes it's true. Sometimes, depending on the demographics, it simply isn't possible, but admin will do it's best to give you the most balanced class possible.
For another, you can occasionally use the higher grade to mentor the lower. This is a fantastic learning opportunity for students--both academically and socially--whether they are being mentored or are the mentoree. Regardless, consider that in any straight grade class, you have a wide range of learning abilities with regard to reading, writing and oral. I've had J/K up to Grade 5 in a 1/ 2 because of delayed and gifted students, and it's not uncommon, especially including ESL factors, to have Grade 1 to Grade 6 or 7 in a Grade 5 class. In a split grade you can actually end up with less differentiation!
So here we go, just as quickly as I can get the pages up and running. Just click on whichever grade levels apply to you. There will also be special section for Immersion teachers, regardless of the language.
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