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Brooke S. Brooke S. is offline
 
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Help! Important Decision
Old 04-15-2006, 08:51 AM
 
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Right now I am team teaching a 2nd grade class. The two of us have 32 2nd graders. So does the class acroos the hall. I love 2nd grade and I love team teaching.

The teacher I am with is moving. One of the teachers across the hall is also leaving. So I would like to teach with the teacher that will be left across the hall. Well, that is fine and that is not the issue. We went and met with the principal and she is fine with us teaching together.

Well, she has an idea for us to try out. We have to make our decision by Wed. She would like to do a combo 1st/2nd grade class. We would have high 1st grade students and average 2nd grade students. My first concern was what will the 1st grade students do the next year in 2nd when they have been exposed to 2nd grade material already. She said we could keep the same kids from 1st to 2nd grade. I need help with pros and cons people can think of from this situation.

Please everyone post with your thoughts and feelings on this. Thalnks!


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1st/2nd split
Old 04-15-2006, 11:11 AM
 
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Brooke what was her rationale for this. Did she give you any pros and cons to start off?
My first concern would be the emotional well being of the 2nd graders.
I'm sure if presented appropriately, a sense of inferiority could be averted.
When I was in 4th grade we did a 4/5 split. That was ions ago,
I apparently suffered no ill effects.
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split
Old 04-15-2006, 11:49 AM
 
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I taught a 1/2/3 split and loved it! I wouldn't worry about 1st graders remembering everything for 2nd graders. Mine didn't (although I'd talk to your principal about the idea of high 1st graders. Average will work better.) If you look at it as a continuous loop, you are really looking at planning for 2 years. You don't want to repeat what you've done, but you still need to get in all the standards each year. Also, if you do get to keep the kids for 2nd grade you already know half the class and their issues. Even better, those kids will know the routines and be able to teach them to the newbies at an excellerated pace. Your year gets off to a quicker start. Another piece of advice: We did everything together except math. Math concepts are so different that we found the kids were confused and it was too much work for us. Since you have a coteacher, I recommend splitting up the class for math lessons. We kept our math kids for all three years, again for ease and consistancy.
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split class
Old 04-15-2006, 12:31 PM
 
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When I was in school, many moons ago, , I was in a split 1/2, split 3/4, split 5/6. I don't remember it as a bad thing when I was a kid. It was just "your class". No one else saw it any differently, either. I remember listening at times to what the other grade was doing, but for the most part, we had our assignments to work on and that was what you did while the teacher taught the other half. We had probably 15-16 in each grade in the room. I was always in the young half, 1st gr, 3rd gr, 5th gr. We intermingled for some things, but not much. One thing I do remember from it, though, was there was another girl with my same first name, spelled differently, and she was in the older grade. The teachers would constantly mix us up! We were together in 3/4 and 5/6. That bugged me!

Now, speaking as a teacher, I've never taught a split class. I would be OK with it now, I think, as I am a product of it!
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1st/2nd grade class
Old 04-15-2006, 12:42 PM
 
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Brooke I am not sure if the team teaching is the same as being departmentalized. Are you both working in the same room or do you split the class and switch at some point during the day? I have found bridge classes to be wonderfu. You combine the high end of first with the average 2nd graders because they are generally about on the same level. I taught the 2nd grade curriculum to everyone and when needed my partner supplemented the math for the first graders but that eventually became unnecessary. At that age they are eager to learn and both grades will benefit from the strengths of the other. The following year will be even better as Teachfla mentioned for all of those reasons. A wave lifts all ships. You would have the unique opportunity to see your teaching skills improve and the results will probably surprise you. Go for it.


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Split Class
Old 04-15-2006, 04:11 PM
 
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One of the best years I had was when I had a split 5th/6th grade class. The one thing I would try to get the principal to do is to give you children who are independent workers. They needn't be the brightest academically, but they do need to be able to work on their own at times in a split grade situation even more so than in a regular grade.
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Sharon D. W. Sharon D. W. is offline
 
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Sounds interesting!
Old 04-16-2006, 07:43 AM
 
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It is nice to read all these replies. Splits and Looping are two areas of interest for me. It looks like my school will not need any splits at the lower end of elementary for this Fall. However, it might happen within the next few years.

When I started student teaching I was fortunate to have a placement in a K/1 Combined class. I call it combined b/c the master teacher really did combine things more then "split" them. Often you had to look in her grade book or attendance register to see who was in Kindergarten and who was in Grade 1. Then I was again fortunate to stay in the same school and work with another teacher in a 2/3 split class. This was a bit more of a split. One thing she really didn't mix was the Math. However this grouping was unique as it was mostly higher grade 2 students with mostly average grade 3 students which allowed us to mix the groups together more. The teacher felt this is what made this grade combo work. Otherwise she told me it would not have worked as well with these 2 grade levels and felt that a 1/2 or a 3/4 would have been more appropriate.

Could you share more about what your role is and what the role of the "other" teacher would be? Who teaches what? Do you job share a room or team teach in two different rooms? It sounds exciting and as another poster mentioned it sounds like you would Loop with at least half the class which would be a great opportunity too. I really would love the chance to Loop in my current school.

Best of luck with you decision.

sdwl
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answers
Old 04-16-2006, 12:42 PM
 
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I would be team teaching in one large classroom. We both act as equal teachers to the students. We are currently doing it now, but it is with all 2nd grade students. So the only change would be the teacher I am with and that half the class would be 1st grade students.

Both of us will teach reading groups while the other students are doing literacy centers. We will probably do math groups since the students will vary with their math ability. The good thing about a 1/2 split is that in 1st they learn pretty much the same math concepts as 2nd, they are just extended in 2nd grade. I would like to do my class as more of a combined than a split as well. I like the idea of people not knowing what grade they are in without looking.

The principal did not really list her pros and cons at this point. The other teacher and I mentioned parent concerns, standards being covered, how to address field trips, etc. She is a principal that likes to think outside the box and has faith in both of us to do the job well. We asked her if we would have a choice to opt out after the 1st year if we didn't like it and she said yes. The one big thing that concerns me is she retires in 2 years. What if the new principal doesn't want to do this? What if one of us is then stuck moving to 1st grade and the other in 2nd? So many thoughts.

I would love to hear people's thoughts and questions, even if they don't have experience with teaching split grades. I need ideas for scenarios that I may be faced with, etc.

How would you want to do field trips? I think we would do what the 2nd graders do for field trips. Then they will just do them twice. I started thinking about it and 1st and 2nd do pretty much the same thing. fire department, theater to see a play, but 2nd goes on a dolphin cruise, bigger science museum, and the post office. I don't think any of these things would be a problem to do both years.
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Breathe!
Old 04-17-2006, 08:37 AM
 
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Take a deep breath. You and your partner will figure some things out as you go along and probably will revise those at some point. The first grade parents should be advised of the enrichment opportunity that their children will have. Your work will speak so highly of itself you won't have to worry about a new administrator so don't stretch your worries out that far. Our school always had the students go on the field trip with their grade level because of the funding. That may not be an issue with your school. The administrators here have the option of moving teachers into other grade levels but they try to accomodate the teachers while doing what is best for the students so again I wouldn't worry about that right now. I like your concept of teaching in one large room together it is easier on the students and you don't have to shuffle belongings when they change classes, etc. Good luck in your decision. The fact that you are trying to gather as many facts as possible speaks highly of your concern and dedication.
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lots of groups
Old 04-17-2006, 10:03 AM
 
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I teach ESE so I have never had a class that was all one grade I love splits because you can really ability group and rely on the older kids to help the younger kids. If you have a child who is really good at something, bump him/her up to the higher level for that one topic! Especially if you have 2 teachers, you can do SO much!! I wouldn't worry about field trips, talk to the principal about it, it may be that the 1st graders go on the 1st grade trips and the 2nd graders go on the 2nd grade trips or they may pick a grade for you to tag along with and everyone goes. It will all work out. Good Luck!


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