July 18, 2019 at 8:20 PM #73435Myron Brubacher@myronbrubacher
Our school is set up so that Grades 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 are together in the same classes. For many years we have had these combined grades do some subjects together (not much in Grades 1&2 and somewhat limited in Grades 3&4). Math and Language we keep separate but things such as Reading, History, and Science we combine. It seems to work really well for our school but recently I have heard from a few concerned parents who don’t feel it is fair to their children. Can you help me with some of these questions?
-Do other schools do it this way?
-What are pros and cons for students?
-What are pros and cons for teachers?
-What recommendations do you have?
We won’t be changing anything for this coming year, but I feel like I need to be able to share in a positive way with these parents and I don’t know quite how to respond. Thanks for any input!
July 24, 2019 at 9:25 PM #73511Carolyn Martin@carolynmartin
Do other school do it this way? Yes. We have combined subjects in the past and still do in the classrooms that have two grades.
Here is my perspective. Pros: For the teacher and the student more class time can be spent on the subject. The teacher has less subject material to review and prepare for. It is usually a teacher time-saver. Cons: Classes will have a greater number of students, therefore, the teacher may not be as aware of student attention or inattention. Here is probably what parents will question: some students will be working at a higher grade level than they are in.
Most materials in grades 5 & 6 and 7 & 8 in history, science, and Bible are interchangeable. The level of difficulty is not that much different for many curriculums. You will often see a jump in difficulty between grades 3 & 4. We don’t combine grades 3 & 4 science because of that. We use Living History so that isn’t a problem. We have also stopped combining reading in any grade combination. (We use Christian Light.) It tends to be somewhat cumulative from grade to grade.
One thing that we try to do to even out the student load is to use different grades for different subjects. We may use grade 5 science with grade 6 history. The next year we would use grade 6 science and grade 5 history.
July 25, 2019 at 9:12 PM #73518Myron Brubacher@myronbrubacher
Thank you Carolyn! This is very informative and gives me something to work with to reach a positive plan for our school.
August 3, 2019 at 6:14 PM #73952Jonas SauderModerator@jonas
Carolyn’s outline of combining classes describes well how many (especially smaller) schools create a manageable schedule of classes. The creation of “grade levels” has a somewhat arbitrary history and makes most sense in large “graded” schools. (What “grade level” is Little House in the Big Woods?) Thinking in terms of several levels (lower/upper elementary) is helpful when combining classes. Planning for instruction of students separated by a year or more in age in a class is very similar to planning instruction for those of different skill levels in the same year’s age group.
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