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Updated by Emilia Jane Pomales on Jun 14, 2015
Headline for Toolbox for Multigrade Educators
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Toolbox for Multigrade Educators

A collection of methods, applications, advice, and ideas used in elementary multigrade classrooms to maintain order and teacher sanity.


"With ClassDojo, teachers and parents help children learn important soft skills, such as grit, curiosity, and focus - for free! ClassDojo replaces classroom management tools and behavior trackers like gold-star charts, with positive feedback and parent communication.

Teachers use ClassDojo to give their students instant, positive encouragement during class. Teachers choose and customize behaviors that matter most, and then award a student in class Dojo points when a skill is demonstrated. Best of all, teachers can engage parents with ClassDojo progress reports and instant messaging so they can stay involved in their child’s success at school."

Parents can see how their child is doing in real-time, and chat with teachers easily and safely using ClassDojo Messaging. Teachers love sending broadcast reminders to all parents at once, but also private, meaningful communications like text messages, photos, and voice notes so that parents are connected to the classroom without the hassle of emails and school newsletters.

This application works well across all age levels, and so is perfect in a multigrade environment for motivation and behavioral progress tracking. It is not grade specific, so all your students are in the same classroom - but if you want to separate them by grade, you can create multiple classrooms and sort them that way.

Homeschool Workbox System

"Check out how we organize our homeschool day and keep everyone focused and on task using the Workbox System."

The workbox system is a popular homeschool classroom and work management tool that can have a huge impact on multigrade education in a classroom setting. Through the workbox system, students take responsibility for their work, pace themselves, develop a more individualized learning style, learn to be independent, and keep things organized. It can be customized for small spaces and various age levels, and used from kindergarten all the way up to 12th grade. It was originally designed by a mother for her autistic son, and works great with students who have learning and developmental disabilities.

A short book based on an article by Bruce A. Miller in 1989, written and offered online by Education Northwest Regional Laboratory. It contains a lot of helpful advice for managing and teaching multiple grades in one classroom, as well as research on the effectiveness of multigrade classrooms in multiple countries.

Flexibility Makes Multi-Age Classes Work

"Multi-grade classes sound like a lot of work for teachers. But by regularly assessing students, differentiating instruction, and using flexible groupings, the experience can be revitalizing for a teacher. Included: Tips for planning lessons in multi-grade classes."

An interesting read for multigrade teachers, but also something to direct parents who are curious or skeptical about multigrade education to.

Marvelous Multiagers!

A blog kept by a teacher from a multigrade classroom, with multiple resources, ideas, and advice for other multigrade teachers.

Ideas for Teaching a Multi-Grade, Multi-Age, or Multi-Level Class

"Teaching a multi-grade classroom has its challenges. Even a single-grade classroom has students learning at different levels. Many things you do in a single-grade classroom to accommodate those differences will apply to the multi-grade classroom as well."

The first half of this article addresses teaching with themes, which is something I do quite a bit of in my own multigrade classroom. It's an extremely useful way to group content and meet grade level standards across a wide span of age groups. It's also a good way to foster unity among students, which is necessary in a setting where age might play a part in how groups/cliques/friendships are formed. My theme this year was space, and next year will be safari!

Curriculum planning in a multigrade classroom.

This is a great article on the challenges and opportunities of multigrade educators written by an educator in Zambia, and comes with both insight and advice.

Tables vs. desks

One of the struggles I had my first year in a multigrade classroom was putting very young students in desks the older students were accustomed to. The various compartments were a constant distraction and storage issue, and it was hard to size the desks just right. I now have two tables, custom built by my mother and I for my classroom management system, and it makes instruction a whole lot easier. I'm able to put the K-1sts at a small table and the 2nds-3rds at a larger one, and can easily mix things up for group projects when I want older students to work with the younger ones. This teacher had a similar experience and found the same things, and I've sent this particular blog post to people who don't understand the benefits of using tables over desks with a lot of success (and a decrease in criticism!).

Spelling & Vocabulary Website: SpellingCity

"Teaching spelling and vocabulary is easy with VocabularySpellingCity! Students can study and learn their word lists using vocabulary and spelling learning activities and games. Students can take final or practice spelling and vocabulary tests right on this engaging site."

This website has been an invaluable resource for spelling practice in my classroom. It's very simple to create different age groups and assign spelling lists of varying difficulty, and the games are fun for kids across multiple grade levels. The site does require a paid subscription for full functionality, but it isn't a huge cost and it's well worth the fee in the end.

Amazing Classrooms: Engaging the High Achievers

"In a multi-grade class of fourth, fifth, and sixth graders, students learn to work and communicate in teams. Through projects and a class structure that supports differentiation, Ms. Ehrke is able to keep students challenged and engaged. Her strategies for differentiation and communication can be used in any classroom."

This is a great look into a functional and thriving multigrade classroom!

Multi-grade Teaching

This is a useful video discussing the different ways you can group students according to ability, age, interest, etc.

America's One-Room Schools

"One-room schools still exist in America, although they've dwindled from 190,000 in 1919 to fewer than 400 today. The bulk of them are in isolated Western towns. But there are schools sprinkled across the United States."

This is a series of podcasts by NPR on one room schools throughout America. Not every multigrade situation is found in a one room school, but some are - mine is - and it's interesting to hear about the experiences of other teachers and students in those settings.

JMS 1-2 multi-age classroom

A blog written by a teacher who was in the process of setting up a multigrade classroom from scratch. It talks about the classroom policies and strategies she uses, as well as the way she handles things like birthdays, and is a good read for ideas!

​Lessons to be learned from a one-room schoolhouse

"There's nothing like a desk and a chalkboard to bring back memories of the one-room schoolhouse. Unless, that is, you live in one of the American towns where these fabled schools are more than just a memory. They're alive and teaching."

Another article on one room schoolhouses and their multigrade settings.

Gethsemane Multi-Grade Classrooms

Another look at a multigrade classroom from a multigrade teacher, who talks a lot about the benefits younger students have from being around the older students. I have a kindergartner who is multiplying because her third grade peer is learning to multiply, so you really do see the effect it can have.

Group Guided Reading Using Prompt Panels (Grade 1, 2 and 3) - Afrikaans

"Mary Stewe at Booysendaahl Primary teaches a lesson on Group Guided Reading. This lesson comprises of various activities for each group. The teacher is innovative and assists the learners continuously through their activities. She ends her lesson with a lovely story."

This is a video series about teaching literacy in multigrade classroom. There are fifteen videos in all encompassing a wide variety of literacy subjects over a wide variety of grades. Therea re some great advice and ideas!

"Ideas wanted for setting up a multi-grade classroom!"

A forum discussion on setting up a classroom for a large 4th/5th combination class. A few teachers give their ideas and advice in the comments.

SurvivingtheMulti-GradeClassroom - home

This is so cool! It's a huge collection of resources for teachers of multigrade classrooms. It's got classroom management ideas, assessment tools, methods of differentiation - so many useful things!

Gazette " You Want Me to Do What?

"Impending budget cuts and imbalanced enrollments many times impose the placement of multi-grade classes upon a school, the teachers, and the students. Without adequate support in place, such an assignment can be tremendously difficult. Academic achievement and individual growth can be attained through intensive, strategic planning, team teaching and teacher collaboration, professional development, and careful scheduling."

A fantastic article about multigrade classes. My favorite part is when she says that every teacher teaches a multi-level classroom, because there is no one same learner. I've found that to be true - my multigrade classroom is multi-leveled even within the same age groups.

Multiage Education

Another fantastic website detailing how to set up a multigrade classroom, what methods are effective, what foundations you should set, how to communicate with parents, and more.

Choosing Multiage

"Choosing Multiage: The purpose of this website is to contribute to the awareness and understanding of multiage education and to facilitate networking with others that are interested in implementing multiage education."

Information about multigrade classrooms, and how one particular classroom got started in a time where there weren't a many resource available as there are now.

Multi-Grade Matters: Ideas for a Split Class

This blog contains many lessons and activities from and for a multigrade setting.

The 7 Styles Of Learning: Which Works For You?

This isn't necessarily multigrade specific, but it is an interesting read about the various learning styles that can help you individualize your teaching methods to suit your students' needs.

Learning in Flo-Motion

A blog about a one room, K-8 school. May or may not be written by me about my students and I.

This is an interesting study on multigrade classrooms in Virginia that compiles their most common problems and practices. It's good to read if you're having a particularly difficult time with an issue; you might find the solution here! Warning: it's a little challenging to read due to its format.