Small Class Sizes

I have a small class of 3! It’s difficult, as the they all have such different abilities and interest. Any helpful suggestions welcome. We are in-person learning.

Hi @vickie.stutzman,

Can’t say I’ve had to handle this issue before. Specifically what problems occur with the super small class size?

I have taught the old version to as few as two students. It’s hard because the group activities don’t work as well. This year I have 6, which is a little easier, except that two are virtual, 4 are at school, and I’m virtual. When teaching just two, I found that sometimes I couldn’t just let the students reach the learning objectives through the activity. Sometimes with a big activity, it’s assumed that a few students will catch on and share their insight with the rest. With a very small class, it’s more likely that no one will catch on. I found that the best thing I could do was to be very clear myself on what the lesson objectives were and have a dialog with the students to help them understand what the point of the activity was supposed to be, even if it was impossible with two students. The advantage is that sometimes we could move pretty fast, when they both caught on right away. This was probably no help at all, but I thought at least I could offer some camaraderie.

The biggest difficulty I have is that we just don’t have enough students to really engage well with the group discussions. There are many group discussions in the lesson plans, and I can see where they would be extremely beneficial, but with just 3 students, it’s hard to get them engaged.

In my experience, you have to ask them a lot of leading questions, and if you can’t get the desired result out of them, you have to just tell them the point and move on. Otherwise it becomes painful. Some of the warm up discussions are there to engage their social brains with the topic, but if you can’t make it happen in a tiny class of introverts, there’s not point in torturing them.

Hi Vickie,

I also have small class sizes. 4 of my students attend class in person and the others are virtual. Every other day I have a different group of kids for our hybrid model. I don’t know if it fits your context, but I’ve found some success by starting a discussion prompt online and asking students in all of my sections to respond to the same prompt for homework. That way they’ve been able to engage with a broader group of students and when they come to class they’ve been seeded with a little info.

I agree with @coxc that sometimes it becomes difficult when we’re hoping for one student to teach the others - and then no one catches on. Identifying the goal of each challenge (often the lesson objective) seems to help me as well, and I try to do a lot of pre-scaffolding of questions for the group to help walk them through the thought process needed to solve a problem.

I’d love to hear if there are any strategies that are working for you!

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I really like the prompt!!! That way they can think but aren’t put on the spot. Thank you

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I have a small in-person class of 3-4 as well. I have started using PearDeck to get responses from the students. It gives them each a chance to answer the question and then I make comments based on the information they give. The lessons don’t take as long because either they understand or they don’t and need to give an explanation.

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