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    Combo Class
    By Sara

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    As a special education teacher, I've had combo classes my entire career. For the last 5 years, I've had 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade learning disabled students (self-contained, so I have them all day). It isn't as hard as you're imagining...but it definitely isn't easy!

    I'm assuming that your split is high 1st/low 2nd. If not, talk to the principal immediately and see if you can get this mix.

    To teach multi-levels, you need to group for some subjects. I have 2 groups for Reading, Phonics, and Math. If you don't have an assistant, students not being directly instructed can complete seatwork or hands-on learning activities (a.k.a centers...I don't use the word "centers" because Kindergarten taught them that centers are playtime).

    I teach whole group Language/Grammar and Writing since the concepts and skills are basically the same. My more capable students are required to "do" more than less capable students. Sometimes the task is too easy or too hard...but so be it....that's life.

    Teaching Science and Social Studies is trickier. You have to pick and choose your standards/objectives then build from there. Thematic units are great.

    One set of lesson plans is more than enough! Look at the 4-Blocks plan book; it has vertical lines so you can divide your page however best suits your needs.

    It is a huge amount of work and is very stressful. Organization and preparation are essential, as is scheduling your day AND sticking to the schedule.

    You can do this...and do it very well!



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