Freaking out about small group independence

Discussion in 'Kindergarten' started by cml88, Sep 7, 2012.

  1. cml88

    cml88 Companion

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    Sep 7, 2012

    For the past 2 years, I taught pre-K and I was very fortunate to have an aide in my room. During small group time, I would work with a group, she was with another, and the last few children would be set up at an independent table. However, I know it K things are much more independent (AND no aide this year obviously!)
    School starts for me on Monday and I am beginning to freak out! This will be my first year teaching K. I am so stressed on how to run small groups. While I am doing guided reading groups, I know my students will need to be in small groups working independently at other stations. I would love to use some form of the Daily 5 however that is not really an option for me right now, as my school has a very limited collection of books. Anyways, My question is…how do you do this during the first week? How do you introduce the concept of “When I’m working with a group of students, you’ll be completing a tak independently”? The kids aren’t going to come in being “independent” obviously. So how do you introduce what the other children will be doing while you’re working with the small group. Do you explain it in a whole group setting (i.e this table with be doing this, this table will be doing that, etc)
    Mid-year I see this working out very well. Kids will know the routine…I’m just concerned about how you get it started. That 1st or 2nd day of school, how do you explain that they will need to stay in their groups and work independently?
    Lastly,
    Do you assign your kids specific tasks (i.e. Students in the “Word Work” group with be completing this exact activity….or do you allow them to choose the “word work” station and then choose from a variety of “Word Work” activities?
     
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  3. flowerpower31

    flowerpower31 Comrade

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    Sep 7, 2012

    I've often struggled with this kind of thing myself, but I do have one piece of info to offer.

    I think that the first couple weeks are spent getting to know the kids as part of a whole group and seeing where they are in terms of everything. For me, with our reading curriculum, small groups don't start till 3 weeks in. The first 3 weeks are, like I said, just getting to see what level the kids are on and stuff.

    If you do that, then by the time it's time to start small groups and independent work, they'll already be in a routine and know the rules, procedures, etc.
     
  4. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    Sep 7, 2012

    Don't expect the kids to be able to do it right for a while and I wouldn't try to introduce stations in the first few days! For a few days I have "station" time at their tables and give them a chance to explore with some of our math manipulatives more than regular activities., So, I have 6 baskets of activities (one for each table) and I explain each basket and appropriate use, then give it to the tables to use for 10 minutes or so and then rotate them to the next table for 1-3 rotations depending on time that day. Some years that is all we do with different baskets for the first week, sometimes even 2. When things seeom to be going fairly well, introduce rules and procedures for one station, have each table/group role play going to that station and monitor it closely. Add that station into the mix while the others are still at tables with baskets. Add another station in the next day or later the same day and repeat until you have them all introduced. Depending on how many you have and how many you introduce each day, this can take a while. Continue walking around and monitoring and observing the kids to keep them on task and teach them the appropirate volume. You can also start some anecdotal notes at this time. I usually have a few activity choices within each station, but it depends on how you want to run it, will they rotate after a short amount of time theoguh several stations a day or stay in one area each day for an extended amount of time?
     
  5. cml88

    cml88 Companion

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    Sep 8, 2012

    Thank you flowerpower & Tasha! You have no idea how much your responses helped to calm me down a bit!
     

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