a. The activity centres approach
An example is seatwork where students work independently at a desk.
Another example is pairwork where two students work together.
Three or more students working together is generally characterized as groupwork.
An activity center is best described as an area of the classroom that
the teacher has designated for a specific purpose.
Another type of centre is a learning centre, a self-instruction learning activity that has been placed in clearly defined
area of the classroom.
I can be in any subject and generally includes objectives, instructions and evaluation.
Another type of center is a subject area resource center. This is an area where student resources relating to a specific
subject are located. For example resources related to the study of science may be allocated in one well-marked area of the
b. Answers to these questions should help
you decide how to arrange your classroom in terms of activities that engage students.
What types of activities normally occur in your classroom?
What types of activities would you like to occur?
Do you have group projects?
Are there students who tutor?
Do you meet with individual students and small groups?
Is it important for students to be self-directed, or to be able to help themselves with little teacher interruption?
c. There are seven general types of activities
found in most classroom:
1. Quiet or individual study.
3. Whole-class instruction
4. Partner work
5. Group discussion
6. Audiovisual and reference work
7. Teacher tutoring or small- group instruction.
In the multigrade classroom there may be many different kinds of activities
going on at the same time. Some students in fourth and fifth grade might be working on a group art project while two students
may be peer tutoring in math. Two first-graders may meet with the teacher, and several students might be completing independent
assignments requiring the use of a tape recorder and the computer. The teachers task is to arrange the classroom so that all
these activities can take place at the same time with a minimum of disruption and of teacher direction and supervision.
d. Three step designing your multigrade classroom:
Step 1 = Describing the way it is now
Draw a floor plan of the room you will be teaching in. This may be the classroom you taught in last year or a new one.
Step 2 = Deciding on the types of activities that will occur.
Identify the specific learning activities that will take place in your room and write them on the lines below. It may
be helpful to write down the types of behaviour you expect for each activity.
Step 3 = Drawing the final plan.
Review your drawing of the classroom in which you will be teaching in terms of the activities you have listed in step
Now lay out your classroom to promote the learning activities you desire, noting the placement of furnishings, materials and
e. General guidelines:
Room to move:
Bear in mind that children and you also need to be able to move freely between the groups of desks with a minimum of
disturbance to others. Try to avoid jamming childrens desks and chairs against the wall.
Arrange the desk as far as possible so that the children do not have to work facing into direct sunlight. The light
should come from the side of the child.
Two BB, one at either end of the classroom, are very useful for multiclass teaching.
Portable BB that can be moved for group work can be very handy too.
This should be carefully placed to give you the teacher an unobstructed view of the whole classroom. Of course the
effective teacher spends very little time sitting at his or her desk.
The children come to this area for quiet, personal reading or to receive reading instruction. Be kept there, along
with books, flashcards, reading games, etc
& nature corner:
Children at primary school have an enormous curiosity about natural world around them. In this corner they can collect
things that interest them. They may grow seeds here, collect fruits and nuts, or display their leaf rubbings. They may keep
insects, reptiles, small mammals or fish in transparent containers.
This is where the art and craft materials are stored and if there is enough room, where are art and craft activities
can take place. If there is a sink and tap in the room, the A&C corner should be located there.
Scrap materials could be stored here, string, wire, tape, pieces of dress material, plastic
In lower classes the class shop is valuable for childrens social language and mathematical development. The children
play the roles of shopkeeper and costumer. Empty tins and packets can fill the shelves and coins and banknotes can be made
from cardboard and paper.
f. Teaching-learning strategies:
Grouping is on of the strategies in Multigrade Teaching situation which can play an important role in the teaching-learning
In multigrade teaching a teacher teaches more than one class in the same time or period.
The way Multigrade should be practised in Zambia is the Pamong approach;
In this multigrade approach the local community is invited to participate as tutors, local school-management coordinators,
contributors of finds, materials and facilities and para-professional teaching staff, such as local experts in arts, culture,
handicraft, language, history, religions etc
The school can be organized according to the seasons, weather, crops and customs of the area. Where children need to
work school can take place after work.
Ability groups are used.
Teachers are left to organize their own time.
Teaching can be undertaken in turn in separated classrooms.
Block times and group activities are utilized.
The teacher comes from the local community, and parents are expected to support childrens education.
g. The function and the role of the multigrade teacher:
- After cooperative group explorations activities and assessment, learners should
be ready for independent work.
- Create the appropriate learning environment.
- The teacher is modelling the task.
- Circulate the room and encourage each student to work hard.
- Ask the children to talk quietly as they complete the work.
- Once children are trained in working independently, they can go into a small
- Learners keep their work in a folder.
- Assessment is very important in determining learners levels as they progress
through the activities.
Ex: a week sample
a. The first two-day of the week are used to introduce
a concept to all the learners.
b. The next three days are spent exploring and expanding
the concept with small groups of learners.
c. Children are grouped together according to their
d. While the teacher works with a small group, the
other learners are rotating through activities, working on their own level.
e. Two of the three activities are related to the
concept previously introduced.
f. During the week the small groups extend their
knowledge through teacher led instruction while other learners work on their individual number.
Implementing this program involves a through explanation and modelling of the structure in order for the children
to become responsible for their work, especially during small group days.
He activities and rotation schedule must be reviewed everyday.
Learners are required to ask other learners for assistance instead of interrupting the small group.
It takes time to build the structure without which this type of program could not exist.
g.Implementing the Multi-class
First: Will the
benefit accrue through simply putting various ages together in the same room?
What are the advantages of having the same children over several years?
a solid base of support among key-stakeholders:
- community and parents
- Teachers and administrators
a climate throughout the school and community that is characterised by open communication and trust.
- Understanding of the process of change.
Putting a multigrade program in place is easy compared to changing the way people think, especially when grade materials
dominate curriculum and the textbook industry.
1. Teachers of MC should have extra preparation time.
2. Teachers assigned to MC should preferable be those
who are most willing to teach.
3. In service and information concerning appropriate
groupings, classroom organization, instructional strategies and curriculum modification should be provided to principals and
4. In a MC there is respect for different learning
styles. Teachers structure a positive learning environment where children feel successful, develop positive self-concepts
and are helpful and sensitive to others.
5. The student benefit from having the opportunity
to stay with the same teacher and classmates and experience the same teaching style and routine over a two-year (ore more)
6. In a MC there is time to recognize that a childs
social and emotional needs are as important as academic needs.
7. Another advantage of more than one year in a MC
is the relationship developed between the teacher and the entire family.
8. Students feel they are successful when they are
working at their own level and know that everyone should be able to do the same thing at the same time.
9. Each child is accepted at his or her own place
on the developmental learning situation. The teacher takes time to assess evaluates and plan next steps for each child. Separate
subjects are replaced by an integrated curriculum, which engages children in meaningful activities that explore concepts and
topics relevant and meaningful to the lives of the children.
In a classroom
where all children are learning at different rates and are not all the same age, there is a little competition.
By helping each
other, students reinforce their own understanding of knowledge, skills and attitudes.
are encouraged as the children talk through their work in progress. These conversations help them understand just what they
take the focus of meeting the needs of the whole group of learners instead meet the needs of each individual student.
WRITING IN A MULTIGRADE CLASSROOM
Learners are taught writing skills through large and small group lessons.
These skills may be mechanics, like punctuation or capitalization, or content skills, such as using description words,
develop a good beginning or closing
1. Students write independently or with partners
about anything of interest to them. They may write stories,
reports, letters, directions, rules, autobiographies, songs, poem
2. Students write for 30-45 minutes per day.
3. As students are writing, the teacher is conferencing
with individual learners on their progress in writing.
4. If several children are having problems in a particular
area, the next days mini lesson will be on that topic.
5. Children learn more about writing by sharing their
6. They also learn how to tell someone how to make
a piece of writing better.
7. They learn to make comments such as:
- I liked the part in your story where you told what it was like to be in the
- I think your story would be even better if you made that part longer and told
how you felt when the door closed loudly.
8. The classroom is usually not quiet there is buzz
of activity as children ask each other for help and share their writing with their friends.
9. They learn that it is good to share your ideas
with other people and get ideas from them.
But, some children
need quiet time to concentrate so there are quiet spaces or quiet times for those children who need this type of environment.
SPELLING IN THE MULTIGRADE CLASSROOM
As beginning writers learn what the letters are and how to form them they usually ask how words are spelled.
At this point we spell the word for them.
However, once the child made the connection between the letters and the sound, he/she can make a fairly attempt at
spelling on their own.
By the time a child is about 7 or 8 s/he is probably ready for more formal spelling.
1. We start the week with a pre-test to see which
words s/he is really going to have to think about the next 5 days.
2. Then each day, children work with these words in some way, perhaps:
Alphabet zing them
/ using them in sentences/ adding the number of vowels to the numbers of consonants in each word.
Friday s/he is ready for the post-test, which tells us which word, they should be able to use correctly. Any misspelled word
goes onto next weeks list.