How many reading groups do you have?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Danny'sNanny, Aug 27, 2013.

  1. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,912
    Likes Received:
    14

    Aug 27, 2013

    In 2nd grade, I usually had 6 groups or so with 3-4 kids in each. I did not meet with every group every day. I met with 3 groups a day, and sometimes an aide or parent would do another couple groups for me.

    Now that I've moved down to first, I really want to see every kid every day in reading group, and tried making 4 groups and having 4 rotations... it is NOT working! My low groups are too big, the kids are getting squirrely by the 4th rotation...

    So... I'm revamping my plan. Split my 2 low groups (11 kids) into 3 groups. Hopefully have 3 rotations in the morning, and then right after lunch when most of my lower readers are out at resource or title I, meet with my middle and high group.

    I usually prefer things a little more loosey goosey and not such a strict schedule, but I have so many kids with special needs, and quite a few on the spectrum, and I think they'll do better with a solid plan.

    Fingers crossed plan B works... I can't wait till I get a student teacher in January, and we can both pull groups at the same time!
     
  2.  
  3. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Aug 29, 2013

    That sounds like a good plan.

    I wouldn't have a enough time for that, though. I usually have 5 groups, and I meet with them all 3-4 times per week.
     
  4. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,320
    Likes Received:
    499

    Aug 29, 2013

    Ability grouping is a no no in our district. I taught third grade last year and used one novel for the whole class. It worked great. Highest scores ever for our school. This year I'm doing this with upper grades. Can't wait.
     
  5. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Aug 29, 2013

    That's interesting, because everything I have read this summer speaks highly against whole-class novel studies.
     
  6. princessbloom

    princessbloom Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2010
    Messages:
    443
    Likes Received:
    2

    Aug 29, 2013

    I ability group when the students come to me, but have them heterogeneously grouped when they're doing their center work.

    I had 4 groups last year. Haven't started my groups this year. Waiting until all of my beginning of the year assessments are completed.
     
  7. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,276
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 29, 2013

    I do almost identically what princessbloom does. I have one group that I will actually see twice a day (my lowest). I have three other groups (ability grouped), and I will definitely see two of them every day... I hope to see the fourth (my highest) every day, but at least every other day.
     
  8. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,320
    Likes Received:
    499

    Aug 29, 2013

    That's so interesting. Have you found any studies that support ability grouping? Everyone from Marzano to Oakes produce studies to show the practice harms the low groups the most and show no benefit to the high groups.
     
  9. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Aug 29, 2013

    No, not really...Almost everything I have read supports students choosing the books they read, and teachers providing strategy groups, and/or conferring with students.
     
  10. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,653
    Likes Received:
    233

    Aug 29, 2013

    I have 20 kids. Last year I had 4 groups of 4 or 5 (I fluctuated between 18 and 20 students last year), but this year I am strongly considering having 5 groups of 4. It's impossible for me to meet with 5 groups a day, so it's still hard for me to give up the idea of meeting with everyone every day, which I really wanted to do last year. However, I can't help but think that maybe working with smaller groups will make the time more productive. I think I am going to wait until I figure out what levels my kiddos are this year (we haven't started school yet), and then see how it would make sense to break things up. I know I have some REALLY low ones (as well as some really high ones!) so 5 groups may work better...

    I've always thought of "ability grouping" as grouping by class - like the "low class" and the "high class," etc.

    I couldn't run my centers in first grade without leveling the groups. I have everything from nonreaders to kids reading beginning chapter books. There's no way to meet in the middle - the low kids would be frustrated and the high kids would be bored. I see leveled small groups as a time to give my low kiddos the intervention they desperately need, fill in any gaps my middle kids might have, and challenge my high kiddos.
     
  11. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 29, 2013

    I have 7 groups. I do have a very low group, and a very high group. This is because my low group is reading at a 2nd grade level (3 kids) and my high group is reading at a 7/8th grade level (4 kids). I teach fifth grade. There is no way I could willingly put one of my higher kids in that group and have them sit with us while the lower kids struggle through reading out loud. Or talk through very basic comprehension strategies.

    I WILL, however, put them together in groups when the work does not depend on reading the passage together. If it's basic group work, or cooperative learning, I would love them to work together-the lower kids can learn from the higher kids. It's just painful when you're a fast reader to have to wait for the whole group to catch up.

    Interesting note-when I gave all the groups the same passage to read, just in their own groups, my high group all read it silently. Most of the other groups were reading out loud. I found that really interesting-they had no interest in hearing the other kids in their group read it, and just wanted to read it on their own. Not sure what to make of it, other than it was a stark difference.
     
  12. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2011
    Messages:
    2,653
    Likes Received:
    233

    Aug 29, 2013

    How many kids do you have, and how often do you meet with each group? I'm curious. :)

    I totally agree with the heterogeneous grouping for other purposes. I follow Kagan's method of having a low, medium low, medium high, and high student at each table group for cooperative learning activities.
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

    Joined:
    Apr 1, 2006
    Messages:
    4,858
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 30, 2013

    I'm just curious. So none of your elementary classes does small group instruction based on level? I also don't see how that would work. In my class alone right now I have kids who can read 2 wpm and ones that can read 110 wpm--as others have said I'd never be working on the same skills with them, much less the same reading material.

    I typically have 5 groups.
     
  14. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,320
    Likes Received:
    499

    Aug 30, 2013

    I'm not sure what the first grade classes are doing. They are on the other side of the building and have a different lunch period than us. We had tons of staff development and read lots of research before starting this.

    When doing our class novel, we provide additional support to the weakest readers who would be unable to read it on their own. We also adjust assignments for the highest readers since they don't need the practice like the others.

    The novel forms the basis behind all the literacy instruction, it gives the whole class a common vocabulary: contrast, suspense, characterization and so forth. However we address the individual needs of every student.

    What I noticed as a big change from when I had my 4 reading groups, is there's no busy work for the other groups while meeting with my high needs or advanced students. The bottom line is my students read about 3,000 words a day more, than when we were doing the ability groups. It works for us.
     
  15. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Aug 30, 2013

    I think it's really important for kindergartners, 1st graders, and some 2nd graders to be in ability groups. In my class I have some students as high as a level O, so they can easily read chapter books. I also have students that are a level A. My lower students would benefit more from being in a small group together, reading books at their level.

    I think it depends on the grade, and even the class.
     
  16. Jem

    Jem Aficionado

    Joined:
    May 7, 2008
    Messages:
    3,544
    Likes Received:
    0

    Aug 30, 2013

    Yellow-I have 24 students. About half of them are above grade level by a grade or two. I will meet with them twice a week. The others I might meet with 3-4 times a week. We start meetings next week-I've been trying to figure out the Lexile system and level my library up until now. First year at this school means a slow start to many of the systems I want to have in place. ;)
     
  17. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    121

    Aug 30, 2013

    No ability grouping for us either yet we have intervention which groups some kids.

    I use the Daily 5 CAFE and meet with kids nearly daily for either reading or writing. Some are one on one and some 2-4 per group. The groups are based on individual goals and not abilities. Keep in mind I have just 14.

    I teach whole group mini lessons on CAFE strategies, phonics, word skills, writing, etc. Mini lessons are about 7-10 minutes each and often build on one topic. For instance, compound words for 10 minutes, then a Daily 5 round, then compound words for 10 minutes, Daily 5, etc.
     
  18. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
    24,958
    Likes Received:
    2,112

    Aug 30, 2013

    No groups. I'm in a reading workshop philosophy based school. Each student is reading a self selected book at his or her own independent level. I teach a whole group mini lesson, kids practice the skill or thinking in whole group...I crawl around on carpet and listen in, then off they go to do the work in their own reading while I confer one on one. Group gathering and share at end of workshop.
     
  19. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,918
    Likes Received:
    121

    Aug 30, 2013

    WONDERFUL!
     
  20. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Aug 30, 2013

    That's what I would love to do, but I really think that beginning readers need more. I have 5 students reading at a kindergarten level. They don't even know all of the letter sounds. :( I need to meet with them longer, and mix in word work.
     
  21. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    2

    Aug 30, 2013

    I can't stand whole-class novel studies and am disappointed to hear this is going to be part of our new program. But luckily I don't have to give up my guided reading time. I can't imagine being told you can't use ability grouping at all in reading.
     
  22. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2011
    Messages:
    2,096
    Likes Received:
    2

    Aug 30, 2013

    I usually have 8 or 9 guided reading groups. My co-teacher and I each only meet with one group a day though. The rest of the time is used for individual conferencing. If there's 8 groups we would each meet with the lowest groups twice a week. I have a feeling I might even have less groups this year because I don't think my kids' levels are as varied as they have been the past 2 years. It would be nice to be able to meet with each group twice a week, or almost all the groups.
     
  23. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2013
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    92

    Aug 30, 2013

    4 Groups. I meet with the bottom two groups every day, my aide meets with the bottom two groups every day and most of the kiddos in the lowest group are in resource, so they meet with the resource teacher every day.
    On T/Th I meet with the highest group and my aide meets with the 2nd highest group, and on MWF I meet with the second highest group and she meets with the highest group.
     
  24. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,912
    Likes Received:
    14

    Aug 30, 2013

    Tyler, I can't imagine NOT ability grouping with my littles. Some kids don't even know their letters, and others are reading at a 3rd grade level. This year I'm doing work at your own pace spelling words, and one kid just finished the entire first grade list. We're on day 18. Yes, half my class is still on list 3, which makes sense. But I refuse to let my higher kids be bored spelling in, it, an, etc.

    But even with firsties, I do my best to have them really reading during the time that I'm working with other groups. I usually have a parent doing some kind of word work (and am so thankful that my reading group parents this year are former teachers), while the rest does independent reading, partner reading, or listens/reads along with audio books. They are not doing mindless worksheets during reading time!

    Cza, I did way more 1:1 conferring with my 2nd graders. I loved it, and went away feeling like I did more in a few minutes of conferring than I could in a 15 minute small group. And I may move that direction with my higher (already really reading) kids. I'm just terrified of messing up my firsties - its a much more intimidating year to teach than 2nd was!
     
  25. Danny'sNanny

    Danny'sNanny Connoisseur

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    1,912
    Likes Received:
    14

    Aug 30, 2013

    Rabbitt,
    I love Daily 5/ CAFE, but always had to put my own spin on it (which changed each year based on the group of kids...)

    I'm taking notes in my ability groups right now to try and create a few strategy groups. Once we're a little more settled I'll try and mix them in and do a combo of the 2.
     
  26. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,320
    Likes Received:
    499

    Aug 31, 2013

    Ability grouping is when a teacher puts kids into static (basically unchanging) groups for instruction. If you avoid ability grouping, you can still form groups of kids who don't get how to use quotes in a sentence or some other skill. Also, students who are profoundly behind or ahead are special cases.

    Most kids in an ability group are not there for the same reasons. In a low group, Juan might be there because of ELL reasons, Suzie might be there due to low cognition, Ricky might have attention problems, and so forth. Yet they are often given materials generally designed for a lower grade level reader and not materials designed to meet their real problems.

    I'm really happy with our whole group reading program. We still address the needs of individual students and for the first time teaching reading is really fun for me and my students. It's not drudgery, like it was with the workbooks and blackline masters. You know that magic that comes when you read a great story to your class? Imagine if that was the backbone of your reading program.
     
  27. pwhatley

    pwhatley Maven

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2007
    Messages:
    5,276
    Likes Received:
    1

    Aug 31, 2013

    I use very few worksheets or blackline masters. We do lots of cooperative learning activities, and I use multisensory instruction techniques whenever possible. I have 2 students who are reading below kindergarten end of year level, 2 who are reading at mid-first grade level, 5 who are around beginning 2nd grade level, 4 who are on grade level, and 4 who are above (a couple significantly) grade level. My lowest students still don't know all of their sounds. Two have pretty significant cognitive issues... not sure about the other two, but there is absolutely no way that I can think of that they would be able to keep up with my highest students. My groups are, however, not static at all. I listen to my students regularly (most every day, others 2-3 times per week), and adjust their groups according to needs.
     
  28. Tyler B.

    Tyler B. Groupie

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    1,320
    Likes Received:
    499

    Sep 3, 2013

    Sounds like you have a great program and that you are a talented teacher.
     
  29. Pashtun

    Pashtun Fanatic

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2013
    Messages:
    2,985
    Likes Received:
    435

    Sep 3, 2013

    This post is money!!
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. MrsC,
  2. Ima Teacher,
  3. Ava Brooks
Total: 273 (members: 5, guests: 238, robots: 30)
test