Project Learning Tree understands that the K–2 grade level band is unique. This developmental period represents a time of significant adjustment, knowledge gain, and personal growth, with different children developing at different paces. For example, a kindergarten student may be able to read at a second grade level, while a second grader may understand science concepts in a way that is more more typical of a kindergartner. This unit’s Level A, Level B, and Level C options provide an innovative and unique way to meet students’ varied needs.
The phrase “team teaching” can mean many things to many people. Here we use it to refer to the team of teachers that work at a single institution to teach kindergarten, first grade, and second grade. While these teachers primarily work in their own classrooms, they have access to combined resources and may collaborate to ensure the success of their advancing student learners.
“Team teaching progressions” refers to the cross-collaboration in academic planning that can take place among these instrumental K–2 teachers. In structuring shared lesson planning time, these team teachers can use this e-unit to outline pathways to success that track individual students over time. Three options to achieve such success are detailed below:
Option 1 – Individualized Instruction
With Level A, Level B, and Level C all presented within this single Treemendous Science! e-unit, teachers have the ability to individualize instruction. They may draw on each of the levels as appropriate to ensure the success of their students.
As an example, for a 5-year-old kindergartner with the academic intellect of an average 7-year-old, a teacher might use content from Level B or Level C to provide differentiated instruction (such as the addition of Level B variations of Adopt a Tree). In another example, with students who are mostly at Level C, but who don’t understand the structure of trees, the teacher might scaffold their learning by adding activities from the other levels (such as To Be a Tree from Level A or Every Tree for Itself from Level B).
Option 2 – Logical Learning Progression (Over Three Years)
K–2 students maximize their learning by repeating content over time. As content is repeated, new content is added to extend the students’ understanding and to challenge them. K–2 team teachers can adopt this unit as a logical learning progression that spans three years. In this scenario, kindergarten teachers would incorporate Level A into their curriculum, while grade 1 teachers use Level B and grade 2 teachers use Level C. In this way, after three years, a learner will have mastered the science content presented in Treemendous Science! through repetition and added depth over time.
Option 3 – Combined Learning Progression (Over One Year)
A final option for adapting this unit for classroom instruction would be to use all of the presented Treemendous Science! content (in Level A, Level B, and Level C) with one set of students over the course of one year. This option would be ideal for a classroom setting that includes somewhat older students who are considered academically behind. This combined learning progression would offer the more advanced students some essential content review, while allowing the less advanced students some valuable time to catch up.