If you're like most people, you have questions about how a combination classroom works. Let's break down how the day will look for students this year:
Most primary classrooms use guided reading groups that target each student's reading needs at their level. Students are grouped based on their reading levels or
based on a skill that needs targeting. The books used with each group are leveled to match students' abilities and the teacher chooses to work on reading skills appropriate for each student. This is conveniently a time to tease out skills specific to each of the grade levels. There will also be whole-group lessons that target universal reading skills, which overlap heavily in first and second grades.
This year, we will have writer's workshop, a time where students are exposed to skills covered in both grade levels. Students will be met with individually for writing conferences, at which time the teacher will target grade-level specific (or beyond!) skills.
Students will be given a few spelling assessments at the beginning of the year to assess the developmental spelling stage that they are currently in. From there, each student will be given a spelling skill to target their specific needs. In other words, regardless of grade level or age, students will start spelling studies at the level they are currently on and move forward from there. This makes "grade level" an obsolete concept.
Math objectives are actually quite similar between first and second grade, with just the tiniest bit of extension in second grade. We will use a guided math program that groups students in a way that meets their specific math needs, whether that be remediation, extension, or practice on grade level. Small group time will also be when grade-level specific objectives are targeted. Students will have tons of choice for hands-on games and math apps that target their needs.
Science and Social Studies:
Like math, many of the objectives for science and social studies content overlap. Students will be working on project-based learning units to cover overlapping content. In the case that units don't align, which is oftentimes the case with science, content will be taught during guided reading to specific grade-leveled groups. Hands-on learning will still
be incorporated into this time to make learning memorable and fun!
Encore, Recess, and Lunch:
Our class will attend lunch and recess in time slots that fall right between the last second grade class and the initial first grade class, so students will see grade-level peers regardless of the split. Encore time will have our class attending encore as a cohesive whole. This was a choice made in order to keep the class together and prevent intricate and somewhat difficult scheduling.
Undoubtedly, a combination class will require a good deal of planning, preparation, and attention to detail, but it will be a wonderful experience! If you have further questions, I encourage you to reach out at any time with them! firstname.lastname@example.org