Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Combo Class Management

Last school year I had the pleasure of teaching a 1-2 combo. It was my first combo. And it was great! I got to keep some of my firsties from the previous year, change up my teaching techniques, and get amazing parental support.

The hardest part of teaching a combo class, is the classroom management. I struggled with, "How do I get my students to be able to know what to do, when to do it, and allow me time to work with smaller groups of kids?" I finally came up with this board:
They can do the three things in any order. I set the timer for the day (usually 45 minutes). They have to learn to manage their time too! The numbers next to the students' names are the order they go in to work on the computer. At the computers, they have a choice of three-five different tasks they can work on during their 7 minutes. To the left of this board is an explanation of what the different tasks mean as well as their spelling words for the week.

My favorite part of this board, was that it allowed students to walk over, know exactly what they are to do, and it becomes part of their routine. This made life SO much easier for subs walking in the door. I would write in my sub plans, "They are on auto-pilot during this time. You can monitor the class and check in on ______ and _______ as they tend to 'forget' what to do at times."

I thought about printing off each individual student's tasks for the week and put it in their BEACH Binder, but thought better of it. I didn't want to be responsible for more paperwork and be committed to this board, should I decide to change it up.

I also have a board at the back of the room with almost the same idea, but for math. This board (which I don't have a picture of) had these tasks: computer, iPads, Task Cards, Flash Cards, Math Notebook (Interactive Notebook by Yvonne Crawford).

I'm hoping to use these boards again even though I'm not teaching a combo class this year. It has helped so much in just classroom management of daily life alone, that I can't see giving it up!

What types of reading or math classroom management helps you during the day?