Reimagining Elementary School

Category: Education

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Reimagining Elementary School: A New Way of Learning Together:

Reimagining Elementary School: A New Way of Learning Together Presented by Kalyn Bridgewater

Traditional Elementary Model:

Traditional Elementary Model New teacher and classroom environment each year Possibility of early ability grouping Single classroom teacher for the majority of the school day

Is it successful?:

Is it successful? U.S. students rank in the middle overall for reading and math Rankings have been falling in recent years (Johnson, 2010) Achievement gap exists for minority students (Fore, Burke, & Martin, 2006)

Slide 4:

(Shepard, 2010)

How can we do better?:

How can we do better? Introduction of: Looping Co-teaching Grouping based on age, not ability

What is looping?:

What is looping? Students are kept together in a group for a long period of time Teachers move with the students to the next grade The pairing between teacher and students usually lasts about two years Can be seen in schools in Finland as well as schools in the United States, most prominently in Waldorf Schools (LAB at Brown University, 1997)

Benefits of Looping:

Benefits of Looping Enhances the bond between teacher and students which can improve social and cognitive competence. Teachers become more familiar with student needs and can more easily individualize instruction. Allows children to grow at own pace, not at one dictated by a fixed grade. Teachers can more easily give summer assignments and begin instruction in the second year.

Benefits of Looping Continued:

Benefits of Looping Continued Units of study can extend across school years. Often collaboration among teachers increases. Research indicates that English-language learners gain more confidence. Families feel more comfortable communicating with teachers (Hitz, Somers, & Jenlink, 2007).


Implementation Most elementary teachers are already certified to teach multiple grade levels. Collaboration among veteran and beginning teachers can help reduce the burden of increased lesson planning. Students that do not work well with his or her assigned teacher can be put in another classroom to avoid prolonged personality conflicts.

What is Co-Teaching?:

What is Co-Teaching? General and special education teachers share teaching responsibilities. Requires increased collaboration in school environments. Serves students with and without disabilities. Works towards meeting NCLB and IDEA mandates by increasing inclusion and universal learning (Cramer, E., Liston, A., Nevin, A., & Thousand, J., 2010).

Benefits of Co-Teaching:

Benefits of Co-Teaching Teachers have assistance in sharing responsibility in efficient routines and roles Can result in more productive planning time when teachers collaborate Improvement of attitudes and academic abilities for students with disabilities General education students receive individual help and modifications (Malian & McRae, 2010)


Implementation Special education teachers will be assigned two teachers to assist with planning and teaching of core subjects. Shared planning periods will be required for teachers working together. Regular meetings of teachers working with the same age groups will be held to increase collaboration for the whole school.

What is aged-based grouping?:

What is aged-based grouping? Grouping is the placement of students into educational settings based on specific factors. Traditional grouping in American schools related to academic achievement or perceived ability. Can also be done by putting students in groups based on age.

Benefits of Aged-Based Grouping:

Benefits of Aged-Based Grouping Traditional ability grouping may increase the gap between white and minority students (Lleras & Rangel, 2009). Research shows that early on teachers may be identifying students based on maturity rather than ability. Incorrect assignment into ability groups can limit opportunities and persist through higher education Grouping by age allows students to compete only against those at similar levels of maturity (Gladwell, 2008)


Implementation Schools can make placement decisions by dividing students by birth month Teachers can pace instruction to match developmental needs of students Can be used throughout the elementary years to best serve students

Final Vision:

Final Vision Elementary schools will have classes that spend two years with a single teacher in the same classroom. Every elementary school teacher will collaborate and co-teach with a Special Education teacher to best serve diverse populations. Children will be assigned to classrooms by birth month, allowing a more even playing field to increase chances of success past elementary school.


Conclusion By combining the practices of looping, co-teaching and age-based grouping, students can receive more individualized instruction. Stronger relationships can be developed in the classroom to better support student learning. Collaboration can become the driving force in schools and spread to the community.


References Cramer, E., Liston, A., Nevin, A., & Thousand, J. (2010). Co-teaching in urban secondary school districts to meet the needs of all teachers and learners: implications for teacher education reform.. International Journal Of Whole Schooling , 6 (2), 59-76. Retrieved May 9, 2011, from the Academic OneFile database. Gladwell, M. (2008). Outliers: the story of success . [Kindle DX version]. Retrieved from Fore, C., Burke, M. D., & Martin, C. (2006). Curriculum-Based Measurement: An emerging alternative to traditional assessment for African American children and youth. The Journal of Negro Education , Winter 2006 . Retrieved May 8, 2011, from;col1 Lleras, C., & Rangel, C. (2009). Ability grouping practices in elementary school and African American/Hispanic achievement. American Journal of Education , 115 (2). Retrieved May 10, 2011, from the JSTOR database. Johnson, J. (2010, December 8). International Education Rankings Suggest Reform Can Lift U.S.. Blog . Retrieved April 26, 2011, from


References Looping: Supporting student learning through long-term relationships . (1997). Providence, RI: LAB at Brown University. Malian, I., & McRae, E. (n.d.). The benefits of co-teaching. College of Education and Human Services . Retrieved May 9, 2011, from Shepard, J. (n.d.). World education rankings: which country does best at reading, maths and science? | News | . Latest news, comment and reviews from the Guardian | . Retrieved May 13, 2011, from dec/07/world-education-rankings-maths-science-reading#data