I taught first grade for the past two years and this year I was moved to kindergarten. Well, my principal came to me and told me that next year I would be teaching a K/1 combination class. I want to see if anyone else has taught a combination class and could give me ideas on management and so forth. I am excited because I really like a challenge. I will have the students who are leaving kindergarten to be first graders who are just barely passing. I will also have ten of the top kindergarten students coming in to school. I think this will make it easier.
I envision this class being like a transition class for the first graders and also a challenge for the kindergartners. Please share ANY ideas that you have with me on any issue concerning a combination class.
Here are my concerns for the make-up of your class. If you truely have the top kindergartners and the lowest 1st graders your kindergartners will be higher than your 1st graders. They will be reading well. While your 1st graders will be struggling. I was asked about this same situation and voiced my concerns. Will your struggling 1st graders feel even worse about themselves when the kindergartners pass them by? The top ten kindergartners will learn at a fast pace. Your struggling 1st graders will need a slower pace.
I think it might work with average kindergartners. I guess I wish you luck and I hope I am wrong. for your sake. Let us know how it works.
I also thought of that as a problem you don't want your K's passing your ones. Whenever we have combined classes we look to get independant workers in the class above all else. Average K's and low ones or average ones who are independant workers and mature K's would be how I would want to look at it.
I have taught for two years in a K,1,2 classroom. Grouping children in this way allows for the range of abilities that are present in students this age. I disagree with what a previous poster said about not wanting your Ks to pass your 1s in terms of their reading ability; all children should be encouraged and allowed to achieve as much as possible! Of course, the previous poster made a very important point about not wanting the grade 1s to feel badly. I think the key to this is setting up a comfortable, respectful classroom community. Also, for the grade 1s who may be surpassed by the Ks academically, can you give them non-academic leadership roles (e.g. helping the Ks get acquainted with the routines of school, leading Calendar, giving them quiet/private reminders that their job is to model good behaviours for the younger children, etc)? Can you teach reading in ability groups rather than grade-level groups? You are going to have a fun summer planning - what a great age to teach!
I, too, will be teaching a kindergarten-first grade class this fall. I'm switching from a first-second combo to the K-1 position. I will have 10 first graders and 4 kindergarteners. We are a small rural school so our class sizes are quite small. I have a para-pro that will be teaching the kindergarteners in the mornings from the plans I prep for her. She will do language arts and math. I will have the two grades together in the afternoon and do social studies, science, art, handwriting, etc. If you have an aide assigned to you, I would suggest using her/him so you can keep the curriculums somewhat separate when it comes to some of the core subjects. It worked well for us when we did a similar thing in my first-second combination class. I do not believe combination classrooms are necessarily the best way to instruct children but we often do not have any say in what we teach. My two groups this year were pretty far apart in their abilities. Because of this, I didn't feel like I did our new social studies curriculum justice. Each grade needed the specific curriculum for their grade and it was difficult to cover the two by myself in the afternoon with this group. For this next year, I plan to take the two curriculums (K and 1) and blend them somehow to be taught over the next two years.
I would like to respond to a posting. If your school district receives money for class size reduction for a combo class--you are not allowed to have an aide teach language arts or math. Look up the CSR regs. I am unfortunately teaching a 2/3 this next year with 12 seconds and 8 thirds. Because of declining enrollment I will probably be stuck with the combo. Several of the second grade parents did not want to have their students in a combo class. I can't blame them. IF I get an aide I will be using that person to take the other grade level out of the room for PE, Science, Computer Lab, Library whille I teach language arts. If anyone has the perfect set of lesson plans for a combo please let me know. Good luck to us all!
I am in the same boat as you. We started school this past week. I have very high k's and a variety of levels in 1st. I am finding it difficult to fit everything in througout the day so that all the children are getting the education they deserve. If anyone has ideas on techniques so that I can get the approprieate curriculum to everyone I would greatly appreciate.
I taught a K/1 combo 2 years ago and just found out Tuesday that this year I will have a 1/2. I had the problem of my Kinders passing my 1st graders by Christmas. My class had 11 K's and 6 1st graders. The first graders were the lowest in the grade and I had average to high kinders. As you can imagine it was fun to plan and refine lessons for that. I think that these two years are the hardest to do a combination with. I survived it by using centers for everything, including writing, and teaching similar concepts to higher levels. Math was the easiest to do this with since the kinders were ready for more before we moved onto a new concept with first grade so I could reach different levels. I don't know if this helps at all, but I am willing to help you however I can.
I didn't realize there were so many of us out there that are teaching a Kindergarten/Gr 1 split class!! It's certainly reassuring!! I know that I have some people who can share in the experiences of this year! We start on Tues so I have this weekend to make a plan for the start of the year. I taught K a few years ago and have been doing Gr 1 ever since - plus I had some gr 2's one of those years along with my ones. I agree that the 2 grade levels should NOT be taught together, but in smaller schools you just can't avoid it. I am trying to be positive as I really am excited! I loved teaching Kindergarten so it's a bit of a relief to me to have the flexibility and 'fun" aspect of K to coincide with the Gr 1 daily schedule.
I just need to know how to go about it. Anyone willing to share day plan ideas or formats?? I'm just trying to figure out how to balance all the subjects, centres, etc in the course of a day or week...
Good luck to everyone this year! Keep in touch so we can share bright ideas and things that work well!!
I am relieved to see so many K-1 classes out there. I have been assigned to such a set up for the 2009-10 school year. I am in a quandry of where to start and need help in room set up and structure for my class of 27 students. I will not have an aide. Currently I will have 13 Kinders and 12-14 First graders. How did your year go?
Hi! I'm also teaching a combo class for the first time this year. I searched the internet for 10 hours one day and couldn't find much out there. I've taught Kinder for 5 years and first grade for the past ten years. We teach with the HM program. They publish a manual that gives examples for combos for each elementary grade level combination for the first 3 weeks (Theme One). We've had our program for many years now. When I looked through a day of lesson planning, it basically separated the morning into the usual Reading, Phonics and Word Work and Writing blocks. Then the activities, lessons, were divided up into whole group (sometimes Kinder & first grade both listened to the same Big Book or read aloud; and independent for one side while the other side receives instruction. This seems like a whole lot of "hopping around" for me, and if there is no help, the children are left to work alone regardless. I am now trying to think of a way to do these things while I have centers going, instead. I am thinking of making a template on my computer with all the info. of what has to be taught on it, so I can "cut and paste" during the year, instead of writing everything out by hand. I still haven't done anything with math, social studies or science yet, except to print out the latter two standards for comparison, in case I'll be able to combine them in some way. I hope the year will get easier as it goes on, lol. Well, lots of good wishes to all of you!
I'm starting my second year teaching k/1. How in the world did you teach math with a centers model? I tried and failed miserably. My biggest dilemma was keeping the Ks busy and independently working while I taught 1st. Any ideas?
I had k-1 last year and it looks like I will again....
I had 4 k's that were repeaters and 14 low and 3 of them repeating 1st. I gained the k's in nov. I taught saxon phonics k to everyone and 1st grade math to everyone. I have an asst who worked with small groups . I hope I do not have another it was not easy!
I taught split grades for 6 years. Some years 1 & 2, some years 1, 2 & 3, and some years 2 & 3.
If you use reader's and writer's workshop, the language arts will not be a big problem. To keep the K busy while teaching the first graders math, you will need center items that they can carry to their desk or sit on the floor to do. It takes time at the beginning of the year to teach the k to independently get out the activities and work quietly, yet, they can do it. I would teach science units and/or social studies as a group. I think all students would benefit from phonics taught together also.
If possible, go visit a Montessori school to get an ideas of how to make split classes work for any grade level.
Hi, i am really sorry that you feel so down about the combined grade you will be teaching. I have taught for 24 years and of those years i have had 2 one\two classes and 10 2\3 classes. I think that the 2\3 combo is wonderful. I did whole class teaching for everything except some small group math lessons with my 3's. As 2\3‘s are so varied in language i did small group work such as guided reading by ability not grade. Science and P.E. were definitely whole group. I hope it goes well for you.