How do you handle small reading groups?

Discussion in 'Second Grade' started by pamms, Aug 7, 2008.

  1. pamms

    pamms Comrade

    Joined:
    May 14, 2005
    Messages:
    457
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2008

    Hi,
    This year our district is starting a new reading series (Treasures) and a new 'system' where we will need to divide our class into small groups so that we can do whole group and small group instruction. We are supposed to come up with center type activities (or something) that the rest of the class can be working on while we are focused on the small group. I have done this style of teaching (years ago), but it often seemed the kids that weren't in the group would be too loud for real effective focus on the small group, or they ended up having to do busy work, or just not really getting anything out of their 'center' time. Anything that they are working on during this required 90 minute block MUST be 'reading', not writing instruction (they can write, but only as it relates to reading, no grammar or instruction in writing allowed!

    I am sure many of you deal with this type of set up. I'd love some input on how you handle the issues involved. I am a fan of keeping it as simple as possible. I really don't want to spend hours setting up new centers!
    Thanks!!!
     
  2.  
  3. Becky123abc

    Becky123abc Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2008
    Messages:
    35
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2008

    I don't have much to offer, but I eagerly await for others responses! I want to do small groups during reading also, but no one that I know of at our school does that...so I'm trying to do it with not much current training.

    I'll be checking this thread.
    Thanks,Becky
     
  4. gab

    gab Comrade

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2007
    Messages:
    293
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2008

    pamms-is your district doing RTI-Response to Intervention? It is where all students are tested to see if they are benchmark, strategic, or intensive students and teachers will either do small groups with strategic or intensive students and the benchmark are left to be independent during the 45 minute block. I have no clue how this works, I receive training in a week. We are one of 3 elem. schools in our district of 15 or so elem. schools that will try to fully implement this program this year with the other elem. schools beginning next year.
     
  5. MsX

    MsX Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2008

    I use a reader's workshop model. I'm not sure if you can use that model exactly since you have a reading program, but you might be able to use some of the components.

    I start my reading block with a reading mini-lesson (whole group) where we talk about a particular strategy and then my class had independent reading. During that time, I pull my guided reading groups.

    You could also give different groups of kids tasks (some could be reading alone, some could be reading with a buddy, some could be listening to a book on tape) all while you are meeting with a group. This is basically what I'm planning for this year... kinda like centers without all the work! This wouldn't take much set-up at all and since everyone has a reading task, it should stay relatively quiet.

    But with any time that you're meeting with small groups, it takes lots of modeling and practice to make sure that the volume is right and that everyone stays on task. I usually wait until mid october before pulling guided groups, just so i can be around to monitor the class as they learn the routine.
     
  6. Touchthefuture

    Touchthefuture Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Messages:
    275
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2008

    pamms,
    I am from Florida and we have done the 90-minute literacy block for the last 3 years. (That is when the school opened). My 1st year it seems like I spent days planning new weekly centers. I simplified them now.
    The key to keeping the kids focused is to make them interested in doing the centers. My centers are:
    Computers (They read on the computer)
    Listening Center
    Word Work (magnetic tiles using words of the week)
    Poetry Center (illustrate/read poems, find rhyming words)
    Writing Center (practice min lessons learned) (We have not been told that they cannot write like this)
    Journal Writing (open writing any topic)
    Take it your seat centers
    Read/write the room ( search for words/read environmental print)
    Penpal Center - write to penpal
    Independent reading

    Towards the end of the year when they are mature enough to handle it I add game center, library center (research) and buddy reading.

    I have examined a lot of the Treasures resources and there is a lot that you can incorporate into centers. They have flip charts specifically for small groups, word cards, magnetic letters, white boards,etc. Also are you aware of the following website? They have many center activities that tie in nicely with our standards. You have to make copies and do some laminating but they are worth it.

    http://www.fcrr.org/Curriculum/SCAindex.htm

    Where in Florida are you? Hope this helps.
     
  7. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,132
    Likes Received:
    140

    Aug 7, 2008

    When a teacher sits down - small groups, at desk etc. - the advantage of using proximity (working the crowd) is lost. This equates directly to "Distance is safety while proximity is accountability."-FJ There is a reason many students fall off task during centers, independent activities -- kids gamble teacher is too far away to notice it.

    Just for fun, try teaching small group from a standing position. As you teach saunter around the room pausing at centers. Note any difference in the centers' engagement rate compared to teaching from a sitting position.
     
  8. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Messages:
    2,699
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2008

    Ugh loomistrout. I noticed last year my kids would be loud and crazy during centers, and I'd stand up, and a hush would fall over the room. Crazy! I'm like, just because I'm sitting down doesn't mean I can't see/hear you!
     
  9. MsX

    MsX Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2007
    Messages:
    213
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 7, 2008

    Haha! :lol: Sometimes I really think that first graders think this way! My kids last year would do things, and I'd just think "um, do you think I can't see you?" Being discreet is not something first graders have mastered (which is probably a good thing for me!)
     
  10. Loomistrout

    Loomistrout Devotee

    Joined:
    Dec 24, 2007
    Messages:
    1,132
    Likes Received:
    140

    Aug 7, 2008

    Ah, but kids are gamblers and play the odds. There is a a far better chance (gamble) I can whisper to my neighbor if the teacher is 20 feet away than if teacher is 3 feet away. And if the worst that can happen is interrupting the teacher I will take those odds any day.
     
  11. teacherintexas

    teacherintexas Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2005
    Messages:
    5,277
    Likes Received:
    743

    Aug 11, 2008

    I used Debbie Diller's Literacy Station book as a model to set up my stations. Once all of the activities have been taught, I don't change the activities all year but the kids always have something to do since most of the stations have lots of open ended assignments.
     
  12. Goldie

    Goldie Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2008
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 11, 2008

    The biggest thing is to model, model, model, and practice appropriate center behavior, clean up, etc. I spend a week on this and do not teach small reading groups. And yet, during the year there is that one child (or two or three) that seem to get off track!! I don't spend more than 30 min. a week changing centers. Though this year it may take more time as I'm teaching in a different district and 2nd grade.
     
  13. donnaleecam

    donnaleecam Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2008
    Messages:
    22
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 11, 2008

    Treasures

    I am also in FL and we have this series this year. We get our initial training on Wed. It is a bit overwhelming...we are starting RTI and Positive Behavior Support, in addition to AYP mandated goals!! I have already spent hours in my room, etc., though today was my first"official" day. I like centers, but agree that some kids are not self directed and easily distracted! My principal said ALL of our reading centers must be from Treasures...hope there are some interesting, motivating activities...and easy to assemble and use!
     
  14. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2007
    Messages:
    4,391
    Likes Received:
    5

    Aug 11, 2008

    I agree with reading Debbie Diller's books and with modeling. It takes me several weeks to get to a point where I can meet with groups for a long period without having to stop and redirect, but it is great once I get started. One thing I do at the beginning is to send a few kids to a center (after it has been modeled) and keep a majority of the kids on the rug while I read a story. It gives the kids a chance to see how quiet they really have to be so that they other kids can hear. I do this for at least a week so that all the kids have the chance to go to the center while I am reading one day. The next step is to have one small group come to the table while the other groups have a simple activity at their table or one of the groups does something on the carpet/in a center. Don't try to let them all free at once. It also helps to start with monitoring for 15-20 minutes and alternate that with meeting with a group for 15 minutes. This would only last about 4-6 weeks until the kids should be able to more or less handle it on their own.

    The last thing is to be really firm on the rules and remove kids quickly who are disturbing your small group. When the kids see that you mean business and will remove them from centers, they take it much more seriously!
     
  15. Newteacher21

    Newteacher21 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 11, 2008

    I use treasures also

    I teach in Florida and we also use Treasures. It's brand new for me this year, so I'm still a "rookie".. but I'm a second year teacher so I'm a rookie to most things anyways. The curriculum gives you flip charts that focus on each literacy component. When I pull my guided reading group, I emphasize how important it is that the other groups are quiet and a lot of the flip chart centers (word study especially) involve buddy work. I LOVE buddy work but I find it can easily get out of control if I'm not circulating the room. Some of the charts are REALLY good though and provide you with literacy activities across the content areas. My groups change frequently based on need. Some weeks my focus is comprehension and some weeks I really work on fluency.

    I'm in a portable so space is limited so I only have 4 centers:
    Guided Reading
    Back Table Work
    Seat Work
    Media Center

    Seat work is usually sustained silent reading and the kids can respond to their reading in their response journals.

    Back table work varies. Whatever I feel they could benefit from is what I plug in. I typically use a word study, fluency or writing center back there.

    Guided Reading is where I really work on comprehension. I model the skills I use to comprehend and we talk about the skills they are using. We also sometimes employ the "skill of the week" on a leveled reader.

    I'm still figuring this out myself but I can tell you that by working with my "approaching" group individually every single day, I have seen enormous improvement. I can't wait to read more tips!

    Like other teachers have said, it takes a serious amount of modeling for this to go smoothly and even then, the kids need reminders every once in a while. I wear 3 big puffy hair scrunchies (green, yellow and red.. attractive I know) Instead of interrupting my guided reading group, if my other groups are chatty I just move one scrunchy to the other wrist and the kids act like I've just kicked a puppy. Three moved scrunchies and my kiddos lose their Amazing Animals video and popcorn on Friday.
     
  16. dr.gator

    dr.gator Comrade

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    20

    Nov 11, 2008

    You may also want to try CC Bates' website. You will have to google her. Since I am new I can't post her link. Excellent resources are here. She will email you back and converse with you too. She is busy, but will take the time to answer questions.
     
  17. Beezus

    Beezus Cohort

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    563
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 12, 2008

    How many students do you have? How much time do you take for small groups?
    I would like to keep my groups relatively small, but that of course means more groups, which means more time (which I do not have!).
    Please share a bit more about the logistics of your small group time.
    Thanks!
     
  18. Newteacher21

    Newteacher21 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2007
    Messages:
    6
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 13, 2008

    Well I'm fortunate to have only 16 students this year but I'm sure it will fluctuate a great deal (never topping 18 however per class size reduction). I spend about 15 minutes with each group. I have 4 kids in 2 groups (these kids are on-level/average but sometimes need pushed) 3 in my "high" group and 5 in my approaching group. Sometimes if I'm doing fluency and one of the kids in my average groups could use practice, I pull them into my approaching group for the reading block. Same for comprehension etc. My approaching group needs help with everything. My reading block is 90 minutes. I do my regular lesson in about 30 minutes.. (sometimes it takes a bit longer and I have to shorten my guided reading time with certain groups) and then the whole hour is devoted to centers. I'm shocked at how quickly my kids fell into the routine. I give them time to settle into their centers and then I count down from 5 so they know it's time to be silent.
     
  19. Kinder Preppie

    Kinder Preppie Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 30, 2008

    Hi... I am a kindergarten teacher. Although I teach at a small school this year, prior to this year, I had classes of 24 students. What I did is 30 minute rotations, 8 children at a time. The first group would do a picture with crayons and an invented spelling story. I would have them do a 5 day story each week, and have them pick a new topic (of their own choosing) for the following week. The second group would do an art project (preplanned by me) that related directly to word learning (using glue, scissors, construction paper, googly eyes, etc.) and the final group would be in small group reading. I used a timer, and once the bell rang, the children had five minutes to clean their desks (baby wipes supplied) and be prepared for the next rotation. I did not allow the children to talk at all during this time, and if they completed a task, they were allowed to read a book which was under their seat. We focused on creativity and detail in art rather than rushing through to get done. I provided something special to anyone who was able to occupy themselves in this task for the entire time without talking or complaining. (For example, we use the dot system at my new school.. green dots for positive behavior and completion of work to my expectations... the child with the most green dots at the end of the day is awarded something special) Anyone who did not follow my direction sat out for recess and sat alone for lunch. If they still chose to misbehave, then they sat out the following day from the art projects. It only took a few days for them to discover the appropriate way to behave. Even the poorest behaved students wanted to do arts and crafts... and if they didn't care too much about those, then they certainly liked recess and to be with their friends at lunch... I hope this helps.
     
  20. MrsAC

    MrsAC New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2011
    Messages:
    1
    Likes Received:
    0

    Mar 26, 2011

    2 book recommendations from a believer!

    I have taught first grade for 6 years. I have used guided reading for all 6 years, but I started out using literacy stations/centers. I grouped the students heterogeniously, and then rotated them around the room so they did different activities each day of the week, as I read with small groups of students who were grouped based on the same reading level. Well, I will never go back to stations/centers, because I have fallen in love with the daily5!!!! Google "Daily 5" It's written by 2 women nicked named "the2sisters." You must read this book! It outlines a readers' workshop model that sounds too good to be true, but let me tell you, it works!!!!
    I also HIGHLY recommend Making the Most of Small Groups by Debbie Diller.
    I have created a wiki on wikispaces called GuidedReadingGroups. I am not allowed to post a link yet, since I'm new to this site, but do some searching on wikispaces and hopefull you can find it!
    Give daily 5 and guided reading a try - you won't be sorry!
     
  21. EdEd

    EdEd Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2011
    Messages:
    3,750
    Likes Received:
    217

    Mar 26, 2011

    Hey there - sounds like there are some other good ideas. I've found this one to be pretty practical and cheap. Not sure how it compares to some of the others out there.

    Pat Pavelka - Guided Reading Management (Amazon Link)
     
  22. ecclipse

    ecclipse New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    0

    Apr 7, 2011

    Oh boy!!! Im new on the forum and feel like I seriously need to reinvent myself!!!!:unsure:

    Im teaching two grades with two languages being taught - what an experience!!!! I let me kids do buddy reading twice a week under the trees and do group reading everyday. I have divided English and grade 2 together and then two other groups according to strength in reading. The rest of the class is busy doing other work while Im busy on the mat and we do the word lists, fill in the reading card and they read. They do first and second language word lists and reading daily. Am I way off course here?
     
  23. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,875
    Likes Received:
    102

    Apr 20, 2011

    I use the Daily 5.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. have_to_teach,
  2. RainStorm
Total: 192 (members: 5, guests: 165, robots: 22)
test