Friday, October 21, 2016

Meeting with Small Groups in Reading

I recently posted here about how I set up my small group rotations.  As an upper grade teacher, our district provides very little training on the HOW to do small groups.  They are very generous in telling us we SHOULD be doing them...


I do them...

I basically teach the same lesson 4 different times.  The catch is that I HAVE to get every group in, every day.  If not, it gets off.  This sounds like a HUGE deal and MASSIVE amounts of planning, but I have a secret

I actually spend less time planning than anyone else on my team.  This is because the lesson I plan IS WHAT WE DO IN SMALL GROUPS.  I don't plan a separate whole group lesson and then plan additional work for practice and small groups.

So I begin with a lesson.

 As you can see, I use mark the areas that I will focus on with each group.  Pink is for everyone. Then I differentiate for each group.  In this example, the yellow was an example of using specific context to understand what is happening in this drama.  This was very concrete and explicit, so I used it with my lower learners.  To the right, in blue, was some additional and more challenging information that I only wanted to introduce to my higher learners.

In this same lesson on elements of drama, we used different colored flags to identify elements of drama.  We were able to quickly use these all week in several different dramas.  (I used the same color flag on our definition anchor chart...should have pictured that!)

   Now, in this lesson, we used highlighters to highlight the information you find in the beginning, middle, and end of a story.  It is a mystery to me why they think it is so awesome to trade highlighter colors, but talk about engaged!  They were so pumped that they got to use 3 colors of highlighters!

Let's talk supplies.  Highlighters, pencils, flags, OH MY!  Every minute of your time in small group is precious, so I keep all supplies handy in small baskets.
As you can see, each seat has their own supply basket.  Inside every basket you can find a sharpened pencil, highlighter, flag, think/talk button, self assess rubric, and a googley eye.  A few of these need some explanation.

  • Googley Eye - my lower group uses to track text.  "Get your eyes on the text"
  • Think/Talk button - math counter that I've labeled with think on one side and talk on the other.  I use these with my groups that want to blurt out answers without thinking.  Only I can turn the button over.  If it says think, you need to be thinking.  Then I turn one over for that person to talk.  
  • Self Assess Rubric - at the end of each lesson, I go back over the objective and they rate themselves on how they did today.  They slide the bead on the pipe cleaner to show where they are performing.  You can find it FREE here in  my TPT Store.  
Comment below with questions!  I need some ideas for my next post in this series.