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Teaching in the multigrade classroom
Multigrade teaching guide for Zambian teachers.


Guide for organizing a Multigrade Teaching Workshop in your province,district,zone or school.
What is multigrade teaching ?
Classroom management
Multigrade material development
Tips for the multigrade teacher
Teaching in the multigrade classroom
Survey to assess the impact of a multigrade teaching workshop
Demonstration lesson plan for a multigrade lesson on the subject staggering option
Lesson plans integrated per grade.You can put yourself the lessons in the multigrade way.
More sample lesson preparations. Have a good time.
Lesson preparation book made by students.

A.    Planning in the Multigrade classroom


Many teachers are worried when asked to teach a multigrade class.They don´t feel comfortable preparing for two or more grades, so they develop different programmes for the different grades.Trying to do this is very difficult to plan and manage. It would be impossible to cover all the work for each grade.


The multigrade teacher needs a strategy to help with planning so thatµ


·  One programme is created for the class, with different objectives and outcomes for different groups in the class.

·  Objectives which need to be covered in the syllabus are included and common topics are identified (over the grades).

We dont need a separate curriculum for each grade in the multigrade classroom, but

a continuum or progression of challenges in our teaching which will meet the needs of students in our class.



There is no one syllabus program for teaching multigrade.

A program needs to be developed using the new syllabus documents for Lower and Upper Primary. The new curriculum gives the teacher much greater flexibility in providing for the needs of students in their class. The objectives and suggested content areas are given, but it is up to the teacher to plan and organise the learning experiences best suited to the students in the class.

For each unit of work or weekly plan, the whole class will work on the same topic or theme. However, the activities completed by each student will depend on what you want them to learn, based on the syllabus documents you are

using and the pupils level of development. There are methods and strategies that teachers can use to assist with their planning for a multigrade class.


Activity 3


Take your syllabus Mathematics and write down the objectives in multiplication for grade 3, 4 and .

What is similar about each level of the objective?

What is different? (read them carefully)

What can you say about the differences between the three grade levels for

this particular outcome?



B.The Curriculum Scan


A curriculum scan is completed by scanning (or looking)

through all the curriculum documents which are relevant to

the multigrade class you are teaching, and selecting the

relevant sections. After selecting all the relevant sections from

the different syllabus documents, you will be looking for

common elements and themes from which to build your

program. If you remember that learning is a continuum, or a

process of building on, you will see that the themes in the

subject areas cover a number of grades, with the learning

objectives building on from what has been taught before.



The steps in completing a curriculum scan


Step 1. Identify the grade levels you will be programming for and find the

relevant scope and sequence pages in the syllabus documents.


Step 2 . Cut and paste or write just the parts of the scope and

sequence that you will be teaching. Paste or write these on to a large sheet

of paper.


Step 3: Look for common topics or themes across the curriculum.

Brainstorm some main themes, and try to fit the topics under a heading.

Step 4: Write your main themes on a large piece of paper and list topics.

Step 5: Set your themes out on a grid.

 Step 6: Transfer your topics to a term program.


Activity 4


Using the blank proforma and some syllabus documents, plan a unit

theme. First consider the theme, then the main understandings you want

the pupils to have. Find some objectives from the relevant grade level

syllabus documents and plan the sequence of activities. Consider how

you will group and what skills are being taught.


C.Timetabling in the Multigrade Classroom


The multigrade block timetable operates much the same as it would in a traditional class.

Subjects or thematic time is planned for the whole class, however within that time, groups will

be completing different activities.

In the multigrade classroom working with a number of grades and in block thematic teaching

situations, you have to be a little flexible in your time allowance. Some grade levels require

more time per subject than others, but if you average the time, and take into account the

subjects integration with others, you will find that you are adequately covering the

recommended times for each subject.


Some factors to consider when developing your multigrade


Program language and maths activities in the morning where possible, when the students are fresh and their concentration is better.

Your timetable should be planned to make sure that you, the teacher, are able to give the maximum amount of attention to the different groups in your classroom and that you are able to teach all the necessary subjects.

Some subjects may be taught to the whole class, others may be taught in groups and your timetable should take account of this.

Your timetable should be displayed clearly and be familiar to the students.

Make sure you balance your teaching time equally, so sufficient attention is given to all students.

Consider the maturity and attention span of the pupils. Young pupils need to change their activities frequently, so their lessons must be shorter. They need more physical activity too, both inside and outside the classroom.


D.Assessment and evaluation in the multigrade classroom


It is common practice in many classrooms for the teacher to prepare lessons, teach them, andthen test the students for knowledge acquired. This is done in a sequential way.

Assessment and evaluation in integrated programs, on the other hand, are part of the instructional process. They are ongoing and are centred both in the classroom and in the daily activities of the students.

Instead of teachers trying to capture one moment in time, like a snapshot from a camera, they try to capture the students shifting patterns of growth and development. As assessment and evaluation are ongoing, they form the basis of daily instructional decisions.

Testing is only one small part of the process of assessment, that is, gathering information for purposes of evaluation. Testing should support the teachers judgement and never define it.What teachers should be doing is gathering a profile of growth and identify those areas in need of attention.



Activity 5


Make a test on the table of multiplication for grade 3, 4 and 5.

Write the points on a self made point scale.

Try to asses all the pupils in the three grades.

What were the difficulties?




This module has introduced some useful strategies and perhaps different ways of thinking about learning in the multigrade classroom.

It is very important to remember that these ideas and practices are relevant in ALL classrooms, not just with multigrade groups. All teaching should be student centred, and the teacher should be making every effort to accommodate the learning needs of each student in the class.

It is helpful to try out just one or two of the strategies at first in your classroom, then when you feel confident, add another to your list.

If you have the opportunity to teach a multigrade class, take the challenge and enjoy the experience.

Be a partner of multinset.
Zambian teachers need training, support, materials.
Zambian pupils need textbooks and multigrade activity books.
Multigrade schools in Zambia need blackboards, chalk and classrooms.