It’s always a bit nerve-racking when you find out that you have been assigned a combined grade for the next year. Combined grade classrooms come with a variety of challenges for teachers, the most prominent being that teachers need to address two complete grade levels of curriculum expectations. Just thinking about the extensive expectations to be addressed is daunting and will probably make you feel overwhelmed. I know that when I taught combined grades in the past, it was a juggling act to ensure that not only were all expectations addressed, but that I was teaching them in a meaningful and engaging manner.
As we mentioned in our article for TeachHUB.com, one of the most powerful strategies a teacher can learn is how to integrate curriculum in order to create cross-curricular lessons. Not only will you be covering curriculum expectations, but cross-curricular activities tend to be more engaging and creative.
We have been working diligently on a combined grade 4/5 science unit to meet the Ontario curriculum expectations for Understanding Life Systems. We are really excited to announce that it is completed!
Here’s an overview of the unit:
- Learning centres: students work in small groups or individually to rotate between three centres over the course of the activity (five types of centre activities: iPad integration, technology, reading/writing activity, creative response, and a fun or hands-on activity);
- Whole class lesson/discussions followed by either small group activities or whole class activity
- Cross-curricular integration with other subject areas, including Language Arts (Reading, Writing, Oral Communication, Media Literacy), Drama, Physical Education, Art, and Health
- A focus on Assessment For and As Learning through student self-assessments and group assessments, KWL charts, exit slips, anticipation guides, and project planning sheets
- Reading strategies addressed include making connections, inferring, determining important ideas, drawing conclusions, and cause-and-effect
- Differentiated Instruction is achieved through Learning Centres, choice board for the end of unit project, RAFTS assignment, and a variety of hands-on activities and labs
The entire unit, including lessons, assignments, assessments, printables, and centre activities comes to over 230 pages!
And click the image below to be taken to the complete unit!