TCI in the Three Student Classroom

 Becky Suthers has been a national trainer for TCI for seven years. She recently accepted a unique teaching job that was all the talk at the TCI Leadership Conference. At a time when most classrooms are exploding with students, Becky’s classroom has the opposite problem. She’ll be blogging for us regularly to gather your wisdom, share her stories, and give us all a good chuckle!

The entire population of Becky's class.


I am in need of some collective brain power. Put your thinking caps on ladies and gentlemen, because this is a doozie! I am a firm believer in the TCI Approach. I have seen firsthand the success students can have when this approach is used in classrooms. Teaching any other way is not an option for me.  However, this year, I am going to have to be extra creative to fit my students’ needs.

My family and I moved back to the area where I grew up and I took a job in a small district in the Texas Panhandle. When I say small, I mean VERY small. I only have three students. Three girls. That’s right, three!!!! I am pretty excited though, because last week after enrollment, there were only two on my list of 5th graders. You can imagine how excited everyone was when the third girl showed up today. OK, by everyone, I mean me and the original two girls in my class.

This is definitely a first for me. How can I still incorporate the Six Powerful Teaching Strategies in my everyday lessons? Even my normal first day routine felt a little off. Do you have any idea how fast icebreakers go when you only have three students and two of them have known each other since Kindergarten? Forget about doing the Appointment Calendar for pairing students! These girls will unfortunately have the same partners all year long.

We will be using America’s Past for social studies and I have the Skill Builder lessons figured out. Pretty sure we can handle that. As for the rest of the strategies, I am counting on ideas from my colleagues to bring social studies alive to my students. My three girls deserve to experience these great lessons. This is a fantastic opportunity for them, as well as me, and I want to make the most of it.

What advice would you give me on how to do Visual Discovery Lesson 5: Early English Settlements? Who will they be presenting to? Me? With only three students, is that enough for a good act-it-out?
I will be updating everyone periodically to let you know how we are doing, what is working, and what isn’t. Any and all ideas are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

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