Hey friends and welcome to week 1 of our Summer Book Study and 5 Tips for Making the Most of Small Groups! If you are not sure what I am talking about, head over to this post to read the details about it.
Chapter 1 is titled ‘Time’ and is all about planning and how to utilize your students’ and your own time effective and purposeful.
I will be sharing my thoughts on chapter 1 over on FB Live at 6:30 PST. But after reading the first chapter, I came up with 5 Tips for Making the Most of Small Groups.
- Determine your standards and literacy instructional time frame.
So whether you teach in a private school or in a public school, we all have some sort of literacy standards we have to teach. My school district has provided us with a literacy framework and has it broken down into increments of time. Here is a what it looks like. We have 120 minutes for our entire literacy block, so I use this guide to plan my instruction time.
2. Determine what you will be teaching whole-group.
This should be on-grade-level curriculum, but should be taught in a fun and interactive way. Don’t forget to use song, dance, chants, and movements as much as possible, to engage student’s brains. I have my kindergarten scope and sequence planned out for the entire year, which helps to stay focused and organized.
3. Look at your students’ data and create small groups, according to specific skill needs.
We use AIMsWeb benchmarking, plus ESGI digital assessments to determine students’ initial skill set. I then organize all of my students into small groups, with an intended skill focus. For instance, 8 weeks into school, I might have a group for letter ID, a group for beginning sound, a group for cvc words and a group reading decodables.
I created this printable to help me stay organized with my groups. I laminate it and use a wet marker on it. I do this so I can make changes easily and as needed. Do you want your own copy? Please click HERE.
4. Plan only a DAY in advance.
This is a little scary for teachers who like everything planned days in advance. But the idea behind this tip, is that doing this helps you choose your focus lesson wisely. As you work with students, you will see what is working and what’s not and be able to adjust accordingly. Find a planning template that works for you and use it to your benefit.
5. Have Balance and Be Flexible!!
The biggest tip I have for teachers everywhere is to find your teaching balance and be flexible!! Not all students learn at the same pace or with the materials that you have or the way you have ‘always’ taught. Be open-minded, flexible and have a balance of hands-on, direct instruction and fun!!
Hope you enjoyed this week’s post and FB Live…head over to my friend Greg’s blog post and read his review!
Check out chapter 2’s review here: 25+ Ideas for Organizing Guided Reading Supplies and Materials in the Classroom.
How about chapter 3, Creating Small Groups for Guided Reading?
Chapter 4: Read HERE about how Comprehension is the Key to Reading.