Teaching A Split Class (in Secondary)

This summer I had the unique task of teaching summer school but my class was a split class.  I had a Grade 12 Advanced Functions group and  a Grade 10 Academic group in a single room.  At the start I was really nervous and feeling slightly overwhelmed at the task at hand.  Worrying that the students would not be working if I wasn’t watching them all the time and trying to think about how I would give each group of students the time that they deserved were the initial thoughts I had.  

The first day felt like a rollercoaster ride, simply because everything seemed to have just happened and I didn’t know how it had all worked out.  That night I made sure that I went on to plan the day out better and to make sure I had structured my day to avoid that feeling again.  Once the structure was set out by myself, the students felt more at ease and higher learning took place for most of the students.  The next week and a half went much better although I know that if I am fortunate enough to do this again next year I will have a better idea of what to do.

 

Some of the big takeaways I found in this experience were:

– both sets of students developed their own routine in the classroom.  Students knew when particular tasks were to be completed and they scheduled their time around it.

– students developed a level of respect for one another within the first day.  When I was teaching one group the other would work quietly and not interrupt.

– Grade 12 students were given the opportunity to re-learn topics they may have not been as comfortable with (like factoring) without having to ask in front of their peers

– Grade 10 students could see the applications of the topics they were learning in the new context (I would also vocalize how the skills from Grade 10 were now considered to be skills they knew by Grade 12).

 

One of the big things I would like to do next time is try to create opportunities for the two groups to work together (have the grade 12’s teach the 10’s a skill, or even have the 10’s talk about what they are doing and work through problem solving).   I was wondering if anyone out there has had this experience and has any ideas on how to make it less of two separate groups and more of one whole group.

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