Tips and Tricks for a Split Class

Fly on in for some split class tips!

I have gotten lots of e-mails from other teachers asking if I have any advice or tips on having a split class... so I thought this would be the perfect thing to add to my website!

My biggest piece of advice is to run your split class like a unified class... not like two groups of kids who happen to be learning in the same classroom.  For me, this means doing the majority of our learning together, not sitting in grade-level groups, and rarely addressing my students by their grade-level labels.

I also am a firm believer in high standards and expectations for all children.  As someone who had experience only teaching 2nd grade, I found that I continued to teach at the level I was used to and my first graders have absolutely risen to that standard.  It was very exciting for me to see how much my first graders were capable of when the bar was set so high for my second graders!

One of the most exciting things about teaching a split class is watching friendships that may not have happened if my students had been in a more traditional classroom setting.

Academics in a Split Class

Math is the only subject where my students do not learn together.  Because we use the program Everyday Mathematics, I adhere to the curriculum for each grade level.  While one grade level receives instruction from me, the other engages in self-selected math activities.
I use the Daily Five to manage my reading instruction and it is an incredible tool for differentiation and delivering appropriate instruction to every student.  The structure of D5 allows me to teach 15 mini-lessons each week in the areas of phonics, comprehension, and grammar.  Fifteen mini-lessons is a lot and enables me to teach a wide variety of whole class skills followed by 15 small group sessions each week.
Science/Social Studies
We do all of our science and social studies learning together.  Second grade skills and knowledge build on those in first grade, so all students were taught all units and each grade level was assessed on their own specific content.  This allowed for my 2nd graders to review and reinforce prior knowledge and my 1st graders to expand their knowledge, if they were ready to!
I use a combination of Writer's Workshop and more traditonal "assigned" writing where students complete writing assignments that are graded for specific skill mastery.  Through daily modeling and shared writing during our morning meeting, students are instructed on author's craft and necessary writing skills.  They are allowed to practice during workshop time, when I confer with individual students or small groups.  Several times a month, students complete assigned writings which are graded and placed in a cumulative writing folder so we can see growth and develoment throughout the year.

Hopefully this brief overview has been helpful!  Feel free to contact me via e-mail if you want to chat further!



Christina Bainbridge 

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