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Q&A #17101


Adapting a single math classroom for multiple curricula and grade levels

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From: Suzanne A. (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 12, 2006 at 10:20:26
Subject: Re: Adapting a single math classroom for multiple curricula and grade levels

Hi Jeffrey,

I empathize completely! I've had the experience of teaching "from a cart"
and I assure you that even though you'll have four preparations, you will
LOVE having your own classroom. 

Some things will remain the same whether you have four preparations or
not and that is that you'll have a "special" space designated for each of
your groups of students. I used portable file folder holders to keep students'
portfolios organized along one long counter. I used one bulletin board to
post the various class/home work assignments with a heading for each 
class period. (Even if the class is the same it's good to make a space for
each class period in case there are variations).

You have the unique opportunity to capitalize on the continuity of math. 
I'm thinking that some of your bulletin boards can show the introduction
of a concept, the development of a concept, and the mastery of a concept.
For example, if you are developing the idea of variables -- you could have
a display of a concrete manipulative approach, then the transition from that
to the symbolic, and then the actual use of the symbolic to solve a problem.

I would think that the tools of the mathematics classroom would serve
all levels (calculators, rulers, manipluatives of every sort). It might even be
nice for the older students to have the opportunity to use some of the 
manipulatives the younger students use just as a refresher of how things
"really" work before they return to their algorithms and short cuts.

Posters seem like they cut across all levels - history of mathematics, 
mathematicians, math in nature, etc. Having student work posted is always
a plus, too. I think I would try to reserve a space for each class to have some
work posted for everyone to see. I wonder, too, if you might not have a 
"word wall" that could start with more basic vocabulary and work up to more
advanced?

Those are some ideas. I hope others join in and suggest more!

Sincerely,
Suzanne

>Next year our school is moving to a new campus and teachers will have
>their own classrooms that all students will move to and from for each
>subject.  Our school is departmentalized from 5th grade to 8th grade, and
>I teach mathematics to grades 5 through 8.  From my experience, this is a
>very unique situation for a math teacher to be in.  I basically have to
>plan four different sets of lessons for four different curricula each
>week, and next year I will finally have my own classroom (i've been
>teaching 'from a cart' since I started at this school in 2004).  I have
>begun to think about how I will set up a space that will accomodate four
>different grade levels in the same mathematics classroom - i'm teaching
>elementary math all the way to High school Algebra all in the same
>setting.  I am just looking for some overall suggestions on how I should
>maintain this mathematics classroom next year.  Any insight would be
>appreciated.


 -Suzanne A., for the T2T service


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