Education Northwest

The Multigrade Classroom: A Resource Handbook for Small, Rural Schools

“The Multigrade Classroom” is a seven-book series that provides an overview of research on multigrade instruction, identifies key issues teachers face in a multigrade setting, and offers resources for multigrade teachers. Produced in 1999 under the Rural Education Program to address multigrade teacher training in rural areas, the handbooks are also applicable to schools in other settings and are among the few practical resources available on the topic. The books define multigrade instruction as grouping children of two or more grade spans with diverse ability levels into a single classroom where they “are encouraged to share experiences involving intellectual, academic, and social skills.”

Book 1: Review of the Research on Multigrade Instruction
In this book, the research on multigrade instruction is reviewed
in order to answer two questions: (1) What effect does multigrade
instruction have on student performance? and (2) What kind of training
is needed in order to teach in a multigrade classroom? Detailed
information focusing on organizing and teaching in a multigrade classroom is also presented.

Book 2: Classroom Organization
This book describes strategies for arranging and organizing instructional resources and the physical environment of the classroom. Sample classroom layouts and a “design kit” for organizing your classroom are also included.

Book 3: Classroom Management and Discipline
Establishing clear expectations for student behavior and predictable
classroom routines has been shown to improve student performance.
In this book, research relating to classroom management and discipline
are presented, along with a checklist for planning management routines
and discipline procedures.

Book 4: Instructional Organization, Curriculum, and Evaluation
Research-based guidelines for planning, developing, and implementing
instructional strategies are presented. This book emphasizes the development of cooperative work norms in the multigrade classroom and
explains how to match instruction to the needs of students. An overview
of curriculum and evaluation planning concepts is also provided. This
book is a close companion piece with book 5: Instructional Delivery
and Grouping.

Book 5: Instructional Delivery and Grouping
This book emphasizes that instructional quality and student grouping
are key components for success in the multigrade classroom.
Instructional methods such as recitation, discussion, and cooperative
learning are reviewed. Planning guides and examples are also included
where appropriate. Strategies for organizing group learning activities
across and within grade levels, especially those that develop interdependence and cooperation among students, are discussed.

Book 6: Self-Directed Learning
Developing skills and strategies in students that allow for a high level
of independence and efficiency in learning, either individually or in
combination with other students, is essential in the multigrade classroom. Ideas for developing self-direction are presented in this book.

Book 7: Planning and Using Peer Tutoring
This book provides guidelines for developing skills and routines whereby
students serve as “teachers” to other students within and across differing grade levels. The research on what makes for effective tutoring in the classroom is also reviewed.

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