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Multi-age Learning Pods

Grouping students in grade ranges to allow for more flexible instruction and collaborative teaching

Context

Lovett creates flexibility for its teachers to better meet the needs of all students. While their students are in elementary school, their range of content mastery is highly varied. As such, Lovett created systems that help meet more learners’ needs. Lovett created “grade pods” consisting of two grades each for its students. Students in second and third grade are grouped in a pod together, as are students in fourth and fifth grade. By combining students of two grade levels, the band of content and teaching expertise that students have access to is greatly expanded. This enables greater flexibility for students that may be behind or ahead of their current grade level content.

Lovett intentionally selected grade bands of 2-3 and 4-5 to ensure students are able to interact with developmentally similar peers. Childhood development was a key factor in designing these pods, as second and fifth graders working together is less developmentally appropriate than those closer in age. The learning objectives within the grade bands also have a good degree of alignment.

(This Approach is Illustrative of LEAP's Learner Demonstrated Strategies)

Student Does

  • Progresses through content in level class (low, medium, and high).
  • Shares progress with teacher through tracker sheetsconferences, and informal check-ins.

  • Switches leveled class if the need arises, often due to performance or change of content area (e.g. a student may be in the medium level ELA class but high level math class, or move up a level in math if they’ve demonstrated the necessary skills to do so).

Teacher Does

  • Groups students in low, medium, and high classes based on RIT score for different content units (e.g. reading fluency).
  • Changes makeup of low, medium, and high classes as content units change (e.g. A student may be in the “low” group for reading fluency but the “high” group for vocabulary).

  • Analyzes data on student progress to determine if any students would be better served in a different class.

  • Flexibly places individual students in different classrooms if a student has shown a particular need (e.g. a student performing strongly may try out the “high” class).

  • Collaborate continually with other teachers to ensure student make-up of low, medium, and high classes is correct. Collaboration may include meeting during lunch and prep, informal check-ins throughout the day, and weekly group planning sessions.

Technology Does

  • Provides program data for tracker sheets.

  • Provides a repository of student progress data for teachers through Learner Profiles.