Fifth and sixth grade teachers have started blending classes across grade levels in some elementary schools to better meet students’ needs for math instruction.
At Alta Vista Elementary in Cheyenne, Wyoming, team teaching efforts led to the blended classes.
“One of the big things that we’ve found is we really are a team,” sixth-grade teacher Christina Mayle said. “Taking that ownership from ‘mine’ to ‘ours’ has been a really nice, big paradigm shift for us because they’re our kids, our success and our failures.”
Several years ago, Mayle and fellow teacher Kelly DeBruyn began their team teaching effort. “Originally, Kelly and I were team teaching, and we had this huge gamut of skills and confidence,” Mayle said. “So how do two teachers help 50 students when we’re not all right at the start line?”
There was a wide range of student avilities, from below grade level to several grades above. The teachers teamed up to start group work with other teachers. “We’d keep our kids for the grade level curriculum,” Mayle said. “Then in the afternoons we would split them three different ways just for some of that hands-on, one-on-one time for specific skills.”
The project them moved to the core math classes. For the past two years, students in other grades have also been included.