Best Practices

Alternative Methods—Elementary

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2nd grade teacher (on medical leave)
Denver Place Elementary School
Wilmington, Ohio

Imagine a classroom where students quickly feel they are part of a family, embrace each others’ differences, and work together for the success of the entire class.

The practice of “looping,” in which a teacher moves up to the next grade level with the same group of students, encourages a productive working relationship and spirit of cooperation between you and your young charges.

I had my first experience with looping while teaching in the Brownsville Indepen-dent School District in Brownsville, Texas, in 1986. It was a positive experience for everyone involved. The relationships built the previous year enabled the class to move forward as a team from the first day of school.

It was not until the 2004-05 school year in Wilmington, Ohio, that I was able to experience this solid two-year relationship with students again. But it was somewhat different this time, in that only half the original kids were returning to my classroom the second year.

What I discovered with my experience in looping at Denver Place Elementary School was that the kids who’d stayed with me for the next grade level were able to help those I was teaching for the first time to quickly integrate into the mix. Not only was I able to clearly establish my expectations of performance, behavior, and work quality, but also the looping students, merely as examples, helped me reinforce those expectations.

From both of my experiences in looping, I discovered many benefits. They include strengthened bonds between the participating students and teachers; a gain in quality teaching time; and, most valuable of all, less anxiety for myself and my elementary-schoolers.

Due to our changing society, more students than ever have a lack of stability in their lives. The practice of looping especially helps provide strong relationships and a sense of belonging to those students.

Vol. 18, Issue 03, Page 40

Published in Print: December 1, 2006, as Alternative Methods—Elementary
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