A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Engage Learners in Learning - Daybook Template
Entry &
Attendance
Entrance and whole group bell work activity (Character Education, Math warm-up).
Opening exercises, attendance, and homeroom duties.
Learning
Block One
Subject/Topic:
Resources Gr. ___
Resources Gr. ___
Assessment: Checklist ___ Self Eval. ___ Peer Eval. ___ Rubric ___
Classroom Discussion ___ Group Eval. ___ Conference ___ Test/Quiz/Quest ___
Checklist ___ Other ___
Materials:
Learning Centres:
Whole Group
Grade ____
Group Share
Grade ____
Independent
Grade _____
Teacher Modelling
Instructions for:
Student
Engagement/
Practice:
Debriefing:
Guided Questions:
Accommodations:
Extensions:
Reflection:
What I liked about the learning block ...
What I would change for next time ...
f
g
g
g
g
75
g
g
g
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A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Engage Learners in Learning - Daybook Template
Entry &
Attendance
Entrance and whole group bell work activity (Character Education, Math warm-up).
Opening exercises, attendance, and homeroom duties.
Learning
Block Two
Subject/Topic:
Resources Gr. ___
Resources Gr. ___
Assessment: Checklist ___ Self Eval. ___ Peer Eval. ___ Rubric ___
Classroom Discussion ___ Group Eval. ___ Conference ___ Test/Quiz/Quest ___
Checklist ___ Other ___
Materials:
Learning Centres:
Whole Group
Grade ____
Group Share
Grade ____
Independent
Grade _____
Teacher Modelling
Instructions for:
Student
Engagement/
Practice:
Debriefing:
Guided Questions:
Accommodations:
Extensions:
Reflection:
What I liked about the learning block ...
What I would change for next time ...
f
g
g
g
g
g
g
g
g
76

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Engage Learners in Learning - Daybook Template
Entry &
Attendance
Entrance and whole group bell work activity (Character Eduaction, Math warm-up).
Opening exercises, attendance, and homeroom duties.
,
Learning
Block Three
Subject/Topic:
Resources Gr. ___
Resources Gr. ___
Assessment: Checklist ___ Self Eval. ___ Peer Eval. ___ Rubric ___
Classroom Discussion ___ Group Eval. ___ Conference ___ Test/Quiz/Quest ___
Checklist ___ Other ___
Materials:
Learning Centres:
Whole Group
Grade ____
Group Share
Grade ____
Independent
Grade _____
Instructions for:
Student
Engagement/
Practice:
Debriefing:
Guided Questions:
Accommodations:
Extensions:
Reflection:
What I liked about the learning block ...
What I would change for next time ...
f
g
g
g
g
g
g
g
g
77

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Engage Learners in Learning - Lesson Plan Template
Instructional Focus: ____________________________________________________________________
Similar big ideas/expectations/learning goals:
Hook to introduce lesson:
Teacher-directed lesson:
Student task (Group/Partner/Individual):
Sharing of work, ideas, knowledge:
Accommodations/modifications:
Assessment/Reflections for future lessons:
78

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
DIFFERENT
LEARNERS
DIFFERENT
LEARNING
79

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Plan differentiated instruction
In a differentiated classroom the teacher
plans to meet the unique needs of all
students. That means students are going to
start where they are comfortable and learn in
their own particular best way. Research has
identified three characteristics of learners that
guide differentiation.
Differentiation is guided by:
• the student’s readiness level;
• the student’s interests; and
• the student’s learning profile.
(Tomlinson, 2001)
The importance of these student
characteristics as a guide for learning
activities cannot be underestimated. When
readiness, interests and learning profiles are
accommodated in program delivery, students
are engaged and motivated and learning
comes alive.
Interest in a topic is only possible when a
learner starts at an appropriate level of skill
and understanding. Curiosity is aroused and
sometimes passion to learn more and more
about the topic or skill can be awakened.
Similarly when students can learn in their own
preferred manner, a manner that emphasizes
their particular mode of intelligence, research
has proven that students actually learn better.
(Tomlinson, 2001)
Differentiated instruction has been defined
as: effective instruction that is responsive to
the diverse learning needs and preferences of
individual learners.
(Hume, 2007)
This differentiation takes place regardless
of grade level, age, skill level, background
knowledge, or circumstances. As the
combined grade teacher plans for
differentiated learning, three areas are
considered.
Three areas to consider are:
• content - what is taught, the materials
used, and the learning mechanisms;
• process - activities designed to ensure
that students use key skills to make sense
of the content; and
• products - shows the learner’s personal
interpretations of what he/she learned.
(Tomlinson, 1999)
STRATEGY
80

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Use a sequential planning method
In general terms, the combined grade teacher
will plan differentiated learning using this
sequence.
The combined grade teacher finds the
common point in the curriculum. The teacher
identifies what students need to learn.
The teacher determines what students
already know and are able to do relative to
the learning expectation.
Learning is planned around this common
point.
Activities are built that are differentiated for
the learners’ strengths and needs and have
multiple entry points.
Students work in combined groups, pairs or
singly, according to needs with one student
acting as group leader; and
Products, which express learning, are
produced according to the learners’ strengths
and needs.
Sift through what works and
what doesn’t work
Differentiated instruction becomes the
framework for effective planning and
teaching in a combined grade classroom.
Understanding the differentiated instruction
approach gives combined grade teachers
permission to be flexible as to how learning
will happen. The combined grade teacher
uses flexible grouping and focused
instruction so each learner has the best
possible opportunity.
Teachers are constantly analyzing what
works and what doesn’t work. In the words of
researchers: Differentiating instruction is not
new, but requires a more conscious effort to
analyze data and make decisions about what
is working and what needs to be adjusted.
Keep what works. Discard practices that
don’t work. Change what needs changing.
Educators are already doing a great job!
More conscious consideration and a greater
repertoire of strategies will help educators do
an even better job.
(Gregory and Chapman, 2006)
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How can I make this happen in my classroom?
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