What is Looping?
In an attempt to better meet the social and learning needs
of students and families, Mary Lyon has been using a “looping” model of
classroom placement since 2012.
A “loop” is when an
entire class, including the teacher, moves up together to the next grade
level. For example, all of last year’s 4th
grade classes moved up to the 5th grade together with their
teachers. These loops last for 2 years,
then students’ transition to a new class with a new teacher. We firmly believe this model allows our teachers
and students to develop long-term relationships that will have a significant
impact on the overall student achievement and growth of all students.
So what are the benefits of looping?
Increased Learning Time
The academic growth of students is directly linked to the
amount of time spent learning. Looping
allows teachers to spend far less time teaching classroom expectations and
routines. At the beginning of the second
year of the loop, teachers can skip the “getting to know each other” process
and immediately focus on student learning.
Looping also buys teachers a significant amount of learning time by
giving them the opportunity to bridge the summer break with meaningful learning
activities. By reducing the amount of
reviewing at the start of the year, teachers can begin immediately with new,
more challenging material.
Looping takes advantage of the power of strengthened
relationships between the teacher, the student, and the student’s family. Classrooms in the second year of the loop
have a deeper sense of community.
Students are comfortable with their classmates and their teacher and
have a stronger sense of belonging. The
teacher is familiar with the students’ needs and is more prepared to provide
the support they need to be successful. Strengthened relationships between the
teacher and student can have a direct, positive impact on the learning of the
student. These benefits are more significant for those students with special
needs and those who speak English as a second language.
Transitions are difficult for students. Looping provides students a sense of safety
and comfort and minimizes anxiety for starting the year with new classmates and
a new teacher. Reducing this anxiety
allows students in the second year of the loop to be more engaged in the
learning process. Looping also benefits
the teacher, whose familiarity with students and their families allows them to
use their knowledge of students’ needs and to support their academic and social
What do Students Say about Looping?
things I liked about looping are:
Not having to go over directions every
I didn’t have to adjust to a new
teacher and change classmates.
I like having the same kids in the
I didn’t have to meet a new teacher.
You get to stay with the same teacher
which is cool. And you get to have the same friends. And you’re not shy.
Things I liked about looping were that
I got to know most of the students from last year.
Staying with the same teacher so they
can know me better.
I get to see my 4th grade
teacher and I get to learn more with the same teacher.
I liked that I didn’t have to meet a
whole new teacher.