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Running Head-Literature Review Domain D

Week 3: Domain D Artifact #3 Supporting Literature Review

Kelly Burkhead

National University

March 17, 2018

In partial fulfillment of the requirements for

TED 690−Capstone Course

Carol M. Shepherd, Ed.

Running Head-Literature Review Domain D


The article reviewed discusses literacy learning in mixed-age classrooms in an article titled

Designing Literacy Learning Experiences in a Multiage Classroom. Social and cognitive

benefits exist for both younger and older students within the multiage classroom. Literacy is one

area that is heavily based on social interactions. A two-year study that focused on flexible

grouping and organization within a multiage classroom is described.

Running Head-Literature Review Domain D

“Advocates of multiage classes suggest that teachers can apply Vygotsky's theory by

capitalizing on a wider age and ability range than we would normally find in single-grade

classrooms, so that older or more able students can act as mentors of younger or less able

children” ("Designing Literacy Learning Experiences in a Multiage Classroom", 2018). The

thought is that students may better learn from one another by teaching and modeling literacy

aspects, and by exposure to both reading and writing.

A study based on a multiage classroom comprised of twelve first graders and thirteen

second graders was conducted over a period of two years. Grouping was one aspect that needed

to be addressed, as ability variances were wide and not just based upon physical age. Grouping

formats included whole class, teacher-led small group, small student groups, partners, and

individual groupings were included.

Whole group interaction was a major component and allowed the instructor to create an

environment that gained shared experiences, build a community of learners with common goals,

and collaborate by exchanging ideas without fear of judgement. In posing open ended questions

to the whole group, students were able to discuss their experiences and reflect upon them.

Teacher-led small groups allowed students to gain more personal attention with more

assistance. Students were grouped in this fashion based upon specific needs primarily. For

example, a group of students who may need writing practice by using invented spelling were

grouped together. The basis for grouping in this category was not based on age or overall ability,

but rather on area of focus, which may be seen across age groups.

Small student groups were another category, also referred to as “cooperative learning”.

This method includes the reduction of teacher support and allows for student driven activities

and increased social interaction. Within this style of learning, all students are expected to take

Running Head-Literature Review Domain D

part and learn together. Helpful was when younger children needed help, the older students were

able to assist. Surprisingly, the younger students would ask for help instead of waiting for an

older student to take over and older students learned to not take control over others.

Partner work or “buddies” took place through supported practice, mentoring, tutoring, or

sharing a task or response, or sharing a common interest. These connections allowed for

guidance and modeling of older students to younger ones.

Individual experiences were quite effective when timed appropriately. These included

the teacher working with the student as well as the student working truly independently.

Examples included one-on-one instruction, individual assessment, individual assessment,

independent practice, and individual response.

Multiage classrooms are an interesting concept to consider. In the modern day, inclusive

classrooms, there are so many diverse cultures, needs, abilities, strengths, and interests. The only

aspect not included today for the most part is age. When younger students form a bond with an

older student that they may imitate in a positive manner and older students mentor younger

students, it is logical that learning would be a positive outcome of the interaction.

Running Head-Literature Review Domain D


Designing Literacy Learning Experiences in a Multiage Classroom. (2018). Files.eric.ed.gov.

Retrieved 16 March 2018, from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ899315.pdf