Saturday, April 28, 2012

Southeast Michigan Teacher Meetup

Attention Michigan teachers...I am planning a Southeast Michigan teacher meetup.  It will be on Sunday, May 20th at 3:00 in Troy.  If you are interested in joining and meeting fellow Michigan teachers, please send me an e-mail to: clossell @ (no spaces).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Split Level Class Linky Party

Christina Bainbridge is having a linky party to share tips for teachers who have several grades together in one room so I figured that I would join. I am finishing my 2nd time of teaching a 1st/2nd split class.  My first split was split evenly 11-11, but this year it is 9-13 so it is a little different.  I love teaching a split as I am capped at 22 students whereas I may have up to 29 in a straight 1st grade, and 32 in a straight 2nd grade.  So here is how I manage things...

Morning Work: Each grade level has their own corresponding daily math practice sheet to do.  I only copy Monday-Thursday, as they each have their own day to "book shop" for their books for the week.  We also have library right away on Wednesday morning, so Friday is their "catch-up" day for morning math.

Morning Meeting/Calendar: I combine skills appropriate for both grades during calendar time.  You can see my calendar packet here.  I do the 2nd grade "daily oral language" as we do it together as a group I find that it is very manageable.

Daily 5: Students are in flexible groups so this works out well as no matter what grade level a child is in, they are reading at their own reading level.

Word Study: I use individualized spelling words for all of my students.  I may have a 2nd grader who is still mastering 1st grade words, and a 1st grader working on 3rd grad words.  I plan to make something for TPT about how I start and manage this.  I do "making words" with the 1st graders on Monday while the 2nd graders are doing their 2nd grade level word family practice sheet.  I then flip-flop this on Tuesdays with the 2nd graders.

Read Aloud: I do this together.  Right now we are reading Matilda and the kids are loving it.  It was one of my favorite books as a child.  I love read aloud time and so do the kids:)

Writing: I am fortunate in that some of the writing units overlap at least a bit.  Depending on the day/topic, I may give a mini-lesson to the entire class, or give it to one group while the other group works on their writing.  I do have different expectations for each grade that they are aware of while writing.  It is great to see when the 1st graders are aiming to do the 2nd grade expectations too:)

Math: I use a guided math/math workstations approach in my room (even when I don't have a split).  I have 4 flexible groups: two 1st grade and two 2nd grade.  You can read more about how I teach math (which I love) here.

Science/Social Studies: I teach with read aloud partially.  I also teach full lessons.  Depending on what I am doing, I may have the grade that is not working with me work on something at their seats, with a buddy, or do "read to someone" during this time.  Right now, the 1st graders are learning about animals, and the 2nd graders are learning about plants (it's a miracle that they are growing right now as I have by no means a green thumb!).  As a class, we planted several vegetables in a large and clear vase, and everyone has been so excited to see how much they can grow even over a classroom day.  Then everyone (even the 1st graders) planted their own flower seeds.  I figure that planting two years in a row won't hurt them.  :)