How to Cope with Large Classroom Sizes
By Nancy Mikhail
A couple weeks ago Sherry Mohr touched on overcrowded classrooms in her blog post, “Crowded Classrooms and Teacher Shortages.” Adding to her post, here are some suggestions and useful tips to help teachers and parents cope with inevitable large class sizes.
If you haven’t already, create centers in your classroom. Think of centers as in stations in the classroom in which students rotate from one station to another. It will break up the class into groups, which will allow you to focus more attention to each student. There are many ways you can organize centers. For example, reading centers allow the students to group into different levels. The students rotate between centers as groups. Create three stations: one station reads with you (the teacher); the second can be a group station where the students play a reading game or discuss what they are reading (depending on their age/level); and the third can be an independent station in which students work on an assignment/activity. Another option is to dedicate a time slot for centers that include various content areas for students to review the lessons for that day/week. Again, you could have three centers: math, history, and language arts, for example. Students can participate in an engaging activity at each one. to gauge progress, spend time at center to assess student comprehension and learning.
Keep It Simple
Don’t bombard yourself with too much paperwork. Make sure homework assignments you give your students are beneficial to them. Avoid busy work. (I talk about homework in this blog post.) It will help both you and your students to be more efficient. Also, try to limit worksheets in the classroom. I heard once that a worksheet should be a blank piece of paper. Assign worksheets when needed. If you have a worksheet that you particularly don’t want students to do, think about how to make it into an activity. Encourage your students to discuss the content, engage with one another, play educational games, or conduct research for more information.
Communicate with Parents
“A little goes a long way.” Parents just want their children to do well in school and be safe. As long as you are consistently updating your parents on how their children are doing (good and bad) they will be happy. Even writing a quick note and including it in their folder can put a parent at ease.
Keep an Open Line of Communication
Teachers are busy. They are also required to attend meetings, complete paperwork, conduct observations to name a few. It’s important for you to be assertive and keep an open line of communication with the teacher. Make sure to ask questions about your child, and inquire about his/her performance. Ask about ways your child can improve or ways to engage your child further. Also, talk to your child. It’s important to invest in their interests and ensure he/she is learning and performing well in class. Parents are great tools in achieving student success.
Know what is going on in your child’s education. Help them with homework, attend school functions, and ask questions. This will create a supportive environment and facilitate your child’s success. Your child will feel more comfortable approaching you for help and guidance.
It takes a village to raise a child and it’s important for all parties to communicate. Take it one day at a time and give those children all you’ve got!