How to teach Composite Classes
I remember years ago when my principal told me that I’d be teaching a split 3/4 class in the new year, I was devastated to say the least!
A million questions were swirling around my head…how do I even begin to teach a composite class, where do I start, how about behavior management??
I’d only been teaching for 5 years at the time and had just got my head around teaching Grade 2.
The thought of a split or composite classroom was overwhelming to say the least.
How on earth was I supposed to effectively teach a multi-age classroom and cater for their individual learning needs. This is not something you get taught at in university. I didn’t have much of summer break that year because I researched and googled and over planned for the new school year.
Fast forward 5 years and I LOVE teaching composite classes…it’s my first preference now!
So what are the advantages I hear you say?
Firstly, flexible learning! Students in composite classes have lots of opportunity to interact with peers of varying ages and abilities. The younger grade level learn through peer-mentoring and the older grade are empowered with class leadership roles.
Students can work together on collaborative projects which are open-ended and suitable for 2 grade levels. They can support each other in researching and developing critical creative thinking skills.
How many times have you heard teachers say ‘I wish I had smaller class numbers?’ With composite classes that exactly what you get (albeit two grade levels), but each grade level averages 10-12 students. Hence, when teaching a new concept, it is much easier for the teacher to identify who has grasped the concept and who requires extra support.
If you’re looking for open-ended no prep resources to use in multiage classrooms to keep students engaged in learning, click the following images:
How to Teach Composite Classes
If your school is anything like mine, they follow an effective composite class framework. The students from both grade levels are selected and they need to fit certain criteria – eg: they need to be independent workers but not necessarily A students. This minimizes behavior management issues greatly, however teaching positive and independent growth mindset skills is key!
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