Three tips for managing a large Public School Montessori Class

Three tips for managing a large Public School Montessori Class

It is a truth universally acknowledge in Public School Montessori that sometimes you get thrown curve balls.

Sometimes one of those curve balls is a large class size. If you are doubly 'curve balled' you may also get a large class with uneven cohorts for example: 16 six year olds, 3 seven year olds, 5 eight year olds, 9 9 year olds.
So how does one cope with these situations?

Here are a couple of tips from personal experience which I hope may provide a little relief and allow you to not feel as stressed.

1) Behold the beauty of the buddy
For some materials or activities we or the assistant might check in on an individual student or give a lesson. When we have bigger classes this isn't always possible. Have a think through who your competent students are in particular subjects for example
-Knowing where supplies are (e.g. spare paper)
-Good at explaining math concepts
-Good at reading books aloud to students
-Good at organising outside games
- Has mastered the 'parts of a frog'
- particularly good with younger students
Jot down the names somewhere handy like in your teacher binder or on a wall. 
You can call on these students when needed in an impromptu manner and/or offer them the opportunity to teach a lesson.
I even put this into my planning and said something like Sadie or Mehana to teach X,Y and Z 'stamp game addition.' Obviously you will need to check in with the 'teachers' to see if they are able or want to take on the 'job'
You may even have a child do a daily job e.g. Sally reads with Marco out of his reading box. I tried to always have a 'back up teacher' too to allow the teaching child an option if they were not up to it or were too busy.
2) Checklists
As you know sometimes in Public Montessori we have to cover certain state mandated things. In situations like this where I had to show that a certain concept had been covered and follow up work done I put up a checklist with each child's name up on the whiteboard when the child had done the follow up work or whatever it was they came and ticked it. This is helpful for you as you can quickly follow up who may need extra help or get a general sense of how the work is going.

3) The domino teaching method -not a real name I'm just using it to explain things :)
Related to 1 and 2, sometimes you have to teach a 'thing' to everyone but you don't have time to teach the 'thing.' I use the domino method teach a group of children the thing and then have them teach another 2/3/4 children as it where they are the teacher e.g. the child gives a group lesson to 2/3/4 children. I call this the domino method because like dominos when you line then up and push one over the same happens with this methodology. To make this even more workable you can have preassigned 'teaching/domino groups' e.g. if I gave Tane a lesson Tane would go and teach his domino group (I called them buzz groups) whatever the thing was. If the concept involved a material I would organise with the lead dominoes who was going to teach the concept first to their buzz group so that the material would be available for children when they needed it.

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