1st/2nd grade split - ProTeacher Community


1st/2nd grade split
Old 07-23-2008, 09:45 AM
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I'm going to be teaching a 1st/2nd grade split this coming school year. I have taught 5th for 2 years and 2nd for 2 years...i student taught in 1st grade. I understand making the classroom a community for all students, but was hoping to get some advice from anyone who has taught a split before...some things i would like to know are: starting the school year, teaching reading and math- my county uses anthologies to teach reading- houghton mifflin so both grades are going to have different stories and concepts that go with each story...do i just do small groups the whole time unless something overlaps? i would love to hear how people have dealt with a split in any aspect...time, management, academics, etc! i thank you in advance!!

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Old 07-23-2008, 11:42 AM
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I had a combination class for a short time years ago. The main thing I remember is training them to work independently in the seperate grades so that I could teach the other group. I started with whole class independent work and then moved to seperate class independent work.
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Old 07-23-2008, 12:42 PM
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Hi, Sam!

I'll admit I have looped but I haven't taught a split. My mom, however, is an incredible elementary teacher and has taught in a school that had only two classrooms, a 1-2 split and a 3, 4, 5 combined, for a number of years.
I know that she moved away from the basal program because she taught broad concepts that were difficult to unite by following along with the Basal scope and sequence. She observed the concepts being introduced by the basal and also utilized their recommended order of instruction, but chose her own reading resources for students so they could have a common vocabulary within the classroom but also work with resources at their instructional level. She opened with the theme of "Community" to reinforce classroom policy and Social Science standards. I know she also chose themes such as "Becoming an Animal Expert", "Election", "Transportation" and "Tools We Use".
She always finished her year with a community sale of plants and baked goods grown and baked by student teams to culminate their year long units.
Let me know if you'd be interested in contacting her via email. I know she'd be delighted to share some strategies with you. (She's no longer in a split, but is teaching in a 1st grade classroom).
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Me too.....
Old 07-23-2008, 01:13 PM
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I want to know too! I may be doing a 3/4 combo. class and I have the same questions as sam07. Please help!
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Attn. sam07
Old 07-23-2008, 01:47 PM
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To sam07: In the future, please post each topic on one board only. Please do not post the same message on multiple boards. Choose the one board that best fits the specificity of your topic. Thanks!

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1/2 combo
Old 07-23-2008, 02:17 PM
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I taught a 1/2 combo last year. It was quite the experience, and I did learn to love it. The first step in that was realizing that all classes are really multi-level, and then thinking of my class in terms of differentiated instruction rather than as a 1/2 combo. I did what I told the parents I would do: I met each child at his or her level and taught them what they needed to learn. This is a lot of work as far as constant assessments go, but any teacher worth his or her salt is going to be doing that anyhow. The biggest challenge for me:Social Studies and Science. So, I combined units that would overlap and taught to both.

I made sure to have a list of things that early finishers could do, plus activities or self-selected learning centers that students could do during a time when I was teaching small groups. Most of the day was small group instruction with learning centers and then whole group discussion of what we learned. We would come together as a whole group for Science and Social Studies, but they worked in teams for that as well.

Here is a typical day:
8:30 to 8:45 Daily Oral Language and Daily Math Review (by grade level and review all answers out loud) I take attendance and tend to morning business and then go over the answers to the DOL and DMR
8:45-9:00 Calendar and Daily Agenda
9:00-10:00 Math Review (whole group games 15 minutes) and Math Lessons with math centers for early finishers. I teach lessons to small groups (2 or three groups) and then send them to do a practice page and to math centers for further practice. Those not with me work quietly on a center.
10:00 - 10:15 recess
10:15 - 11:45 Reading groups and Language arts
Writing lessons, phonics (it does not hurt the 2nd graders to review), reading and language arts learning centers
11:45-12:30 Lunch
12:30-12:50 Journal Writing time and share (Tues, Thurs) and DEAR (MWF)
12:50 - 1:20 Specials (PE, Music, Computers)
2:00-2:15 Recess
2:15-2:45 Social Studies (MWF) Wrtiting process lessons (T TH)
2:45-3:00 What did we learn today?/Read Aloud/Clean-up

If you have any questions, e-mail me. I would be glad to help out.
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Old 07-23-2008, 02:58 PM
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I taught a 1/2 split last year. You'll find you're constantly teaching, with little time to oversee independent work, so it's extremely important to get those independent work skills in place right away. Hopefully the students will be hand-selected with that in mind. I was lucky and had a super bunch; it makes all the difference. If you're not having to put out fires due to behavior problems, you'll find you get in as much teaching time as your colleagues.

Start the school year with whole group activities to build that sense of a classroom community and focus on establishing routines/procedures for working independently.

I divided my class into 2 teams--the red team (1st grade) and the blue team (2nd). Color coding made collecting/passing out papers/hw easier. I kept a red folder and a blue folder on my desk, with the day's lessons/worksheets for each group. I used red/blue white board markers to list assignments on the board. Etc.

Each month I introduced a list of independent activities for children who finished early or for when I was working with the other group. The IAs were either math or language arts based, depending on the time of day. Math games, especially games involving decks of cards or dice were extremely popular (i.e. Make a Ten uses a regular deck of playing cards with face cards--j,q,k's--and tens removed; play is similar to Concentration - turn over 2 cards, if they add up to 10, player gets to keep the pair). LA activities that were popular were making their own word searches on grid paper, playing Boggle, and making riddle flap books. Once the kids learned the basic activities, I could just say, for example, "2nd grade, make a mini-word book using 6 words from this week's vocabulary" and they'd get right to work. I'll post a list of IAs in a separate post.

My day started with math. I had 2nd grade work independently (generally, they'd do a practice workpage from the previous day's math lesson) while I taught 1st grade. Once the 1st graders were to the point of independent practice, I'd flip-flop over to teaching the 2nd graders.

Next came reading. Again, I'd start the 2nd graders with an activity that required little or no explanation, read with the 1st graders, get them to the point where they were working independently, and then move over to work with the 2nd graders. I'd give spelling tests concurrently. Same with timed math facts tests.

If one group was taking a reading or math test, I'd use that time to my advantage to work with the other group.

For science/social studies, I was blessed to have a 2nd grade team willing to take my 2nd graders while taught just my 1st graders. Obviously PE, art, music we did whole class. Any chance I could, I had the 2nd graders coach their younger counterparts. I also had them buddy up for special projects.

You're going to have a great year. Enjoy, enjoy!
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Independent Activities
Old 07-23-2008, 03:08 PM
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Here's that list of Independent Activities that was passed on to me from another combo teacher. I think, for the most part, they're self-explanatory and worthwhile for ANY classroom.

Chain story writing – write on roll of paper on wall, start a silly story and add to it and illustrate… keep rolling for more clean paper
Class story
Letter to main character
Letter to Mrs. S, a friend
Poetry writing
Quick poetry activities
Strange paper – foods on paper plates, things that make me sad on tissues, what I’d do with a million bucks on fake money, favorite story on gift wrapetc.
Writing to pictures
Poetry cubes – milk cartons filled with pictures & poem on each face

DEAR, log title, time page and thought about your reading
Picture reading
Read with friend, to wall, puppet, stuffed animal, teach to read, be read to in different voice
Speed reading
Tea party
Upside down reading
Identify catchy beginning, clincher ending
Story map the plot
Book report/story report
Memorize poem
Important sentences, illust
Chart story: title, author, setting, character, beginning, middle, end

Article read & report
Graphics and lit
Chart story
Map story
Mind map
Venn diagram

Dictionary words &/or pictures
Abc order
Fancy letters
Find word & page
Vocabulary work
Word bank
Fancy letters
ABC order
Write in sentence, paragraph, story,
Copy sentence
Word search
Small words out of big
Literature circle
Puppet play
Talk show
Dramatization of story, poem
Act out little plays
Tape writing

Card games
Cards – tens, memory
Cuisinaire rods
Jigsaw Puzzles
Linker cubes
Math Facts
Pattern blocks
Symmetry papers
Mathland Games
Build a number – need special cards
Cards – concentration
Cards – double war
Fifteen – card game
Numberline – guess number
Piggy – dice game
Roll Again – dice for adding
Secret number
Ten in the Bank – Coin Cards?

Art project
Comprehension questions
Copy a page
Copy a poem and illustrate
Flash cards
Listening post
Most important idea, why
Most important sentence, why?
Most interesting idea, why
Phonics review
Poster – illustrate & label main ideas, traits, theme
Questions you can ask the story’s character
Tape the story
Teach it back
Wondering about
Picture reading

ALTERNATIVES TO WORKSHEETS (This is a great book, available through CTP, I think.)
Accordion books
Alphabet book
Box activities
Circle activities
Flip books
Folded paper
Paper bag activities
Peek over
Pennants & banners
Venn Diagrams
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Thank You!
Old 07-24-2008, 05:38 AM
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Wow.... what a great list of IA. Thank you so much for sharing. This would be great for ANY classroom but especially important for a combo. class!
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:04 AM
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Cattails- I love your list of IAs. This will help so much because I am also doing a 1/2 combo class this year.
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1/2 split interview
Old 08-29-2008, 08:34 AM
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I have an interview for a 1/2 split teaching position. I have student taught in both 1st and 2nd grade, but have NO IDEA how I would teach a split class. I am super nervous and really do not know what to expect....If you can help with anything that would be awesome!!!
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