I had never done a combo class or a 1st or a 2nd grade before, so I did not have a formal lesson plans. I had a bit of trouble with what each grade was capable of. I did some themes: Snow, Gingerbread, 3 Little Pigs, Christmas Around the World. A lot for the themes, I would do both classes together. I would assign something and have the second graders do it on their own/guided and have the first graders correct. Since neither grade had good paragraph writing (2nd had an introduction to it in 1st, but a lot did not do that well), I reviewed everything with both groups. When I assigned writing, I would just differentiate it-those that could would write a formal paragraph, most of the first graders would write a few sentences. Same thing with Research. It was quite difficult to handle when you actually had to teach a grade with their curriculum(reading from the Anthology, the Science, etc.). I also taught at a high level for first grade, fortunately most of them could handle it. I had a couple really smart first graders who frequently helped the others. It was also difficult because 2nd has the state test and first doesn't. Do as much as you can with both groups. I feel like all I said this year was "________ grade be quiet, _____grade is taking a test or I am trying to teach ____grade a lesson." For the most part it worked. I have 3 second graders who are still low, 2 who have no business going to third grade. I think though the situation would have been the same though no matter what. One girl is ADD and needed glasses. She finally got glasses 4 months into the school year and wore them for a week. Nothing was done about the ADD, she did 17% of the work we did this year. Of that 17% she probably did not follow directions on 8% of it. Overall I think we had a good year. A lot of my students want me to go to the next grade with them.
I wish you luck and if I can be of any help, please PM me.
Are lesson plans to not have to be as specific as some of you post (typing out standards etc)
So I just made a template that had 3 columns. One for the time. Then a column for each grade. Then for each time slot I would right now what each grade was doing. If it was something we were all doing together then I would just write it out across both columns. As I was making my day plan I would make sure that I had planned it so either both groups were doing the same thing or that one group was working on something independetly while I worked with the other group. This was for a 2/3.
I taught a 1-2 this past year, and my lesson plans looked the same way they did when i taught a straight second, third, or fifth. The only time students were broken up by grade was during Math (because we have an actual curriculum to follow). Otherwise, when they were in groups (word study and reading) it was by ability, regardless of grade level (because frankly, if a second grader can't read a level H book, why should they be trying to read anything more difficult??). I broke kids up for reading groups based on reading level and need (fluency, comprehension, etc.) and for word study using Words Their Way. But as for lesson plans, they looked the same as they did when it was a single grade classroom.
Here is an example of how I laid out my week (on paper). I used my pensive to keep track of where kids were individually in reading and that is also where I formed my small groups. I also had a separate writing workshop binder which I used when I met with the kids. Loved both of them and I felt like they really helped me stay organized and on task. Spelling words were individualized made up of a word work (my school uses Houghlin M. - but I only used the word work concepts out of it for each week) concept we were working on, key words from science and social studies, and then the words they misspelled in their writing (first graders started spelling after Christmas). Another thing that I did over the summer that REALLY helped me lay out the year was to make a spread sheet with everything I needed to cover for both grades. I made out a map for week by week what I wanted to cover based on GLCE's (Michigan standards but I teach in a private school) and aligned the concepts so that both grades were doing similar concepts at the same time (I used rubrics a lot this year so that the kids knew expectations right away). The spreadsheet really helped me feel less overwhelmed and made planning very doable.
Another piece of the 1/2 classroom... tables and desks… I had taught 1st for 5 years and had always had tables (love them). The big tradition for 2nd graders was desks... this did not seem like a big deal to me but to my students it was really important. My compromise was to have tables at the start of the year and then we switched over to desks after Christmas break. The kids loved it! I can't say that I loved having the desks. I had a lot of first graders that stored EVERYTHING in their desk and have spent a lot of time going through their desks organizing. I am definitely starting the year with tables again next year!!
I replied about 1st/2nd on the first grade board but I will say it here too.... I love the split. It is challenging but the rewards of it are amazing. I loved having some students for a second year. Second graders helped the first graders with multi-step directions and really a lot of the beginning of the year stuff. I really feel like a split or combo classroom really goes along with my perspective of teaching... you teach each child. First graders come in with a huge range (knowing letter sounds to reading chapter books) having second graders just makes the range a bit bigger but I feel like I have been able to challenge my high second graders as well as support my low first graders in the classroom this year.
You have some great ideas. THanks for sharing. I teach life skills classroom grades 6-12 all subjects. It can be overwhelming at times. Would you mind sharing your spreadsheet that you developed? It sounds like I could adapt it to my needs. Thanks Kelley