Tim Laner, a K-1-2 multiage teacher at Buckman Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, describes a multiage classroom at the primary level. Excerpted from a videotaped interview with Tim Laner (North Central Regional Educational Laboratory, 1998).
"In a multi-age classroom, the model that we are using is that student, we're a K1-2 classroom, so students will come in at the kindergarten and they will, for the most part, spend three years in this environment. They're grow from a kindergartener to a first grader to a second grader, and in that time, they have the opportunity to take on several different roles. Some of the kids might come in as a kindergarten student and learn from older students or learn with older students will benefit from that type of things. The older students have the opportunity to kind of grow to that and also to see themselves as leaders, to see themselves as helpers, not that they're going to sit and teach the younger kids, but again it's learning to work with others, learning to accept differences, all those types of things in with the mixed age, but you have to understand too that kids are at different developmental levels and say in math, this first grade student might be on a par or work at the same level and rate as one of the second grade student, and so you adjust for that. You don't lock kids into a spot just because this is really three grades in one. This is one classroom with lots of different learning styles, lots of different developmental levels, and it's our job to see where kids are and help them move forward."
This Critical Issue was written by Debra Johnson, a freelance writer who also is a multiage resource teacher at Lincoln School in Mundelein, Illinois, in collaboration with Cheryl L. Fox, K-12 districtwide curriculum director, Grand Rapids (Michigan) Public Schools.
Date posted: 1998