Looping Classes

loopingThere may be other names for it, but looping, or staying with the same class for more than one year, may be one of the most rewarding experiences an educator can have. Many parents and students appreciate a looping class, too. It’s usually a two-year commitment with the same students, and then the teacher goes back to the original grade for possibly another loop with another class. It works brilliantly at the primary levels, and especially well with a 1st to 2nd grade loop, for beginning reading and writing skills continuity.

The advantages are easy to see. The educator already knows the parents and students, and the parents and students really know the looping educator. Most of the personality adjustment and academic unknowns have been addressed, so teaching the next year with the same students is a smooth extension of the previous year. This transition can be even better with some connecting between the finish of the first year and the beginning of the next.

If there’s some off time, or a vacation, it’s easy for a looping teacher to check in on a student’s vacation reading or skills needing work. That not only improves student achievement, but also cuts down on the teaching review at the start of the year. That connection with parents is also appreciated, too. While knowing the students already shortens review time, it can be even better with a few vacation check-ins, which might not be possible with a traditional class assignment. Some remarkable achievement can happen during this type of looped-class experience with a continuation of learning through a traditional break.

Looping classes are not for everybody, or a good choice all the time. If there are some unresolved personality issues in the first year, they will be there in the second. The parents and the students must be given the ability to opt in or out. The teacher must understand that this is not for everybody, and the parents and students must realize that they need to support whatever decision is made, whether it’s one more year with the same teacher or the traditional change of instructor. Educators must know, also, that being part of a looping class brings you closer to being a part of each student’s family. If that doesn’t appeal to an educator, then it’s not the right choice. Looping students truly become an educator’s kids in a very genuine way.

The looping classroom may not be part of some district plans, but if the reasons are right, it might happen. For instance, an educator who has worked well with mainstreaming students with special needs, behavior, or academic difficulties might be a good choice for a looping assignment. And if you, as educator, think that there might be a chance to try looping, suggest it, and present the reasons why.

Ken Royal

Ken Royal is an educator with 34 years of classroom/school and instructional technology teaching experience, as well as a blogger on all things education and education technology. Teaching accomplishments include: 4-time district teacher of the year, Connecticut Middle School Teacher of the Year, as well as Bill and Melinda Gates award for Technology School of Excellence. He is an Education storyteller. Follow @KenRoyal on Twitter.
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