Duh, I’ve been writing this for over two years, and this thunderbolt just struck me as we are sitting in a meeting talking about the struggles of our school right now: I’ve got questions, why not ask someone via my blog??
Our school’s financial situation isn’t great and was dire last year. Due to this, we’ve cut all of our sections, K – 6, from two sections to one. All of our classrooms have gone from around 15 students to classrooms of 28 – 30 students now. The dynamics of our classrooms have changed considerably, and not entirely in a great way. Much comes from the fact that personalities that were separated are now all together, feeding off of each other.
So my question to those of you who large class sizes are a norm: What strategies do you use in your classrooms? What have you found that is successful? What have you maybe done that isn’t successful? Any advice that you can throw out there for me to take back to my staff would be awesome! If you are a parent of a child in a large classroom, what things have you taught your own children about being a learning in this group? How have you dealt with them when they’ve been drawn into some of the silliness? What have you seen the teachers doing that you’ve thought, “Wow, what a great idea!” If you’ve got things/ideas/strategies that you’ve seen in practice that are working, please share.
I appreciate the fact you are taking the time to read this, and if you have a comment or something to share, even better. From our staff and myself:
October 26, 2013 at 12:32 pm
Anxiously awaiting replies….
October 27, 2013 at 9:14 am
I don’t even know where or how to start answering this question. 31 little ones in a class is just TOO many!! I team taught in two claseses last year that had 32 8th graders and that was tough enough!
If you have to option of teaming up with an intervention teacher I say split the class as much as possible.
Other than that I’d say classroom management is key – rules and expectations, procedures, control techniques. A lot of prompting and cueing.
Don’t know if that was what you were hoping to hear….but Good luck!!
November 13, 2013 at 8:26 am
Hey Melanie, thank you for your reply! I’d agree, 31 one is too many in ANY classroom, but that’s the hand we’ve been dealt as of right now. I know we’ve all been working on keeping those expectations and procedures front and center, but at this point, we are starting to look at the other “stuff” in the classroom, looking for positive changes we can make in some of those structures. It’s the first year of this, so hopefully, next year will be a bit easier as we adjust to a new “norm” in what our classrooms look like.
Thank you for taking time to reply! 🙂 – Darin
October 28, 2013 at 8:35 pm
Hey, we could really chat for days on this. I have 26 in a 3-section building. We used to have 4 sections, but the year we each had 20 kids, apparently that was too few. (Sorry for the snark).
In all seriousness, I would research the Responsive Classroom and Morning Meeting. My Morning Meeting holds the class together. Last year I had delightful personalities. This year the chemistry is bumpier. But the time in this meeting I feel is critical for building community. The time we spend attending to Social-Emotional work in our meeting time has made the day flow more smoothly. A couple books I like are Morning Meeting, and The First 6 Weeks of School from Responsive Classroom.
Disclaimer: I’m not trained in RC at all, our assistant principal has some training. I’ve just done some reading on these topics.
I’m also starting 3 lunch bunches this week, to rotate, so about once a month I’m connecting with a smaller group of children at this time. The connections just pay off when it’s time for academic work.
November 13, 2013 at 8:23 am
Just wanted to say thank you for your reply! I’m going to be getting the resources you’ve mentioned both for the remaining part of this year (colorful, VERY colorful personalities) and next year when I get 30 kids in my room! Any little bit helps! 🙂
Thank you again,