Question Detail

I am a new ESE teacher and have been assigned a 4/5 split for this school year. I am responsible for teaching grade specific curriculum to each grade. I will have a para in the room with me at all times. I am overwhelmed at the thought of double lesson planning as well as how I will find the time to teach both grades in the time allotted for the day. Any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated! Thank you!

Aug 16, 2014 1:24pm

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  • Special Education


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    • Aug 27, 2014 4:55pm


      Someone else just posted this same exact question. You may want to connect with that teacher, who is also teaching a 4/5 split. I will share the answer I wrote to her:

      Learn all you can about Universal Design for Learning. It's a framework for planning instruction when you teach a wide variability of students. Having two different grades in the class is a perfect example of a population with significant variability. The great thing about the Common Core in ELA is that all the standards are vertically aligned, so you can focus on an anchor standard and explain to students what typical expectations are for fourth and fifth grade. Then, students can choose assignments from varying levels of challenge to meet the standards.

      The same can be true for your other subjects. If you find ways to align the curriculum vertically, you can provide scaffolding and choices to help all students work in their zone of proximal development.

      There are a number of amazing books and web sites about UDL which you can look into to learn about all the research that supports its use in learning environments like your own. Most of this research comes out of CAST, the Center for Applied Science and Technology. You can learn about UDL on their site, here:

      I also just published a book on UDL specifically for teachers who want to implement it now. It's called UDL Now and you can pick it up from various booksellers. Here is a link to Amazon where you can read some pages for free.

      Regardless of the resource you explore, I'm fully confident that UDL will help you make this year a success and you'll never want to go back to one grade.

      Katie Novak