Frankly, we were a little surprised no one said, "Zero." Just think of it -- no discipline problems, no papers to grade, no children to be not left behind. But clearly, Edutopia readers are made of more dedicated stuff. Though the most respondents were ready for twenty students in a class, almost as many considered fifteen just right. The third-place figure just about split the difference at eighteen.
Though smaller class sizes are sometimes mandated for the lower grades, it is still potluck when it comes to most classrooms. Teachers' aides can help, but students are sometimes packed in, and it's hard to bond with a sea of faces. Fortunately, researchers at the University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education, in collaboration with the National PTA, have developed a new educational tool to help teachers connect with students -- even in large classes. Students fill out the kid-friendly form, called My Learning Print, to give teachers an in-depth and intimate view of their strengths, learning styles, and outside interests and activities. In three easy-to-read pages, educators gain valuable insights and information about who children are not only as students but also as human beings with personal goals and foibles. For more information, or to receive a sample, contact www.gifted.uconn.edu.