Recent Posts


A Gem from CATESOL 2008

Here's one:

Staci Johnson and Rob Jenkins gave a wonderful talk on tackling Multilevel Classrooms. Their talk: "Getting the Most of Multilevel Classrooms" was thoughtful and relevant.

They broke down the multilevel lesson plan into 5 parts:
1. Warm-Up
2. Presentation
3. Likeability
4. Cross-Ability
5. Application

Now 1,2 and 5 are familiar to many of us, but the 4 and 5 really was interesting.

Lesson would be delivered according to their levels. They mentioned that 2 or 3 different levels at most are doable for this approach. Say low begining, beginning and high begining are the levels.

Some Gems:
The teacher would do a presentation to each group in front of all levels of students. There is a repetition of the same content (start with the most advanced group) and then go down to the next group and then to the lowest group. This way, the teacher can spend most of his/her time explaining with the lowest group and not have the higher groups waiting. The lowest groups also have chances to hear higher level language in the earlier explanations so by the time it is their turn, they may have heard and understood some of it already.

Likeability is where you may have different handouts, tasks depending on the levels of the groups.

This is whee the two or three levels mingle.
You want to create lessons that give value to the 'cross-ability' activity.
You can have a rule where you can only answer this question with someone from another group.
Other ideas for 'cross-ability':
cooperative learning activities like: team projects, role-plays, info-gap activities, other tasks differentiated by difficulty but need to be done in concert in order for the task to be completed.

Cross-ability needs planning and creativity. The presenters suggested that you introduce one cross-ability activity per week until you are ready for more.

If you need more explanation, and to ask for their great handouts, Rob Jenkins can be found at and Staci Johnson at

This workshop speaks to many teachers who daily face the multi-level classroom challenge.
Cheers to Rob and Staci!