I think I'd like to nickname my reading groups next year

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Pisces_Fish, Jun 30, 2009.

  1. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 30, 2009

    My reading groups are based on ability. Last year my mentor created my groups for me and automatically numbered them 1-6, with 1 being the "brightest." I hated that the kids in group 6 must've had the sense they were the lowest group, so this year I want to nickname them. I thought about colors, but I'd like to be more creative. I can't ask the kids to name their groups because the groups change a lot. I'd like to have a theme, but I'm not sure what. Ideas?
     
  2.  
  3. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jun 30, 2009

    My kids always use car names-and even when my kids change groups, they become the newest "car". For example, last year I had 4 groups-the Lambourghinis, Limos, Jaguars and the Ferraris.
    When I had to move around, we made a big deal about moving to a different car group. None of my 5th graders really "caught" onto the lowest group-can you tell the lowest from the name?? :)
     
  4. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 30, 2009

    I can't! Is Lambourghinis the first one?
     
  5. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Messages:
    803
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jun 30, 2009

    I always start the year with a theme. Then I have my reading groups choose a name for themselves within the confines of the theme. Last year, for example, the theme was Detectives/Mysteries. The group names the kids came up with were the Dirty Detectives, the Magnifyers, Golden Detectives and another one I can't think of right now. The year before, we did fish, and I remember one group name was the Seaweeders! Kids are very clever!
     
  6. Go 4th

    Go 4th Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 3, 2006
    Messages:
    942
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 30, 2009

    You could do the planets--Mercury, Venus, Earth, etc.
    Candy bars--Hershey's, Snickers, etc.
    Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Flavors---Cherry Garcia, Moose Tracks, etc.

    If you did the candy bars or ice cream, you could use that as a reward when they achieve a goal. :)

    I do like Lynn's idea of letting them choose the names.
     
  7. Newto3rd

    Newto3rd Companion

    Joined:
    May 28, 2009
    Messages:
    116
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 30, 2009

    I did animals last year. I couldn't even remember who was high, med, low. :) So I'm sure the kids didn't catch on totally. Ok, I'm sure they knew the TOP and BOTTOM groups! We had lion, blowfish, dolphin, seahorse, elephant.

    I grouped them by DIBELS scores. I just chose the group names based on the cut-outs I had. I like the idea of using the theme for your room - if you have one. But, I realllly like the idea of letting them choose. They have more ownership and pride in what they accomplish that way!

    Thanks, friends! ;)
     
  8. Lynn K.

    Lynn K. Habitué

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2007
    Messages:
    803
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jun 30, 2009

    When I let the kids come up with their own group names, I get a quick glimpse of their ability to work as a group, which kids are leaders, etc. Bonus!:thumb:
     
  9. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jun 30, 2009

    I taught 5th grade last year, and I had the kids come up with their own names, and when I regrouped from time to time, they changed their names. This year, I had some pretty cool group names...Savage Sharks, Infernal Knights (might come from a video game), Golden All-Stars. For the reading group "What Am I Doing?" chart, I found funny pictures off of the Internet for each group. When I Googled "Golden All-Stars," the first picture that came up was a pair of golden Chuck Taylors, so I used that. I also agree that it gave me a chance to get a feeling for the group dynamics as I watched them choose their names.
     
  10. scooter503

    scooter503 Comrade

    Joined:
    May 27, 2008
    Messages:
    392
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jun 30, 2009

    When I was subbing I worked in a school that had theme names for guided reading groups. They were different for each grade level. Here are some of the ideas I remember: NFL football teams, cereal names (that one turned into a really cute bulletin board), insects, and animals. I can't remember any other ones right now.
     
  11. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,376
    Likes Received:
    809

    Jun 30, 2009

    Give them nicknames if that is what you want, but I have to tell you -- the "low" group will still know they are the low group -- and so will everyone else. They always do.

    When small group reading was the newest "fad" back in the late 60s and early 70s, there were two groups -- the red birds and the blue birds -- and even then, we all figured it out. Everyone knew you wanted to be a red bird.

    I do name my reading groups just because it makes it easier. I generally use an arctic theme, because habitats are the first unit in our science. I have the penguins, the polar bears, and the puffins.

    Just realize that the children do know... they have already figured it out if most of the other students read better than they do. They notice that they stumble on words, while others "sound like grown-ups" when they read. They realize that they are the ones always having to sound the words out, or ask what they mean. I always tell them "you read where you read, until you are ready to read someplace else." We work on being the best reader we can be. I remind students that some people are really good singers, others (like me) enjoy singing but aren't terribly wonderful at it, and then others can't stand to sing -- and that is okay. Some people are great at math, and some struggle a bit and may even use their fingers to figure out an answer -- and that is alrright too. We all have gifts and talents.

    So if you want cute names for your groups, that is wonderful -- but don't be fooled -- they will still know which group is which.
     
  12. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jun 30, 2009

    Oh I totally understand the kids will "know" which group they're in, I just hated how obvious it was by naming the groups 1, 2, 3, etc.
     
  13. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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

    Jul 1, 2009

    See, this is why I love teaching Kinder - they don't figure it out. I have had parents who have asked which group their child is in, but the kids just think they are coming to read with me. I have done birds - flamingoes, penguins, etc. and cats - jaguar, panthers, cheetahs, etc.
     
  14. DHE

    DHE Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2007
    Messages:
    1,909
    Likes Received:
    29

    Jul 1, 2009

    Kinder~it is the same for first grade. Last year I used animal names, but I have used sport teams, cars, ice cream flavors, cartoon characters, candy, cereal, colors, and school supplies. One time I combined colors and school supplies, red folders, blue glue....
     
  15. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 1, 2009

    I don't know, Rainstorm, if I totally agree. I teach 5th, and if you are doing guided reading according to Fountas and Pinnell, you change groups daily or weekly in order to teach a specific skill, not by ability level. I group my kids by the skill they are weakest in, so my groups change weekly. So when I say that they really didn't catch on, they really didn't.
    I do let the kids pick the names of the groups. Cars seem to be the most popular way to group. I have done sports teams in the past- but I love the idea of candy, ice cream and animals!
     
  16. Pisces_Fish

    Pisces_Fish Fanatic

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2006
    Messages:
    2,735
    Likes Received:
    5

    Jul 1, 2009

    I have zero control over my groups. We group our kids by their Words their Way scores, not by reading level. Don't ask me how that makes sense :|. We have no input, either. Last year I had a student who was a poor speller but a great reader. I wanted to move him up a level but my mentor told me to leave things the way they are because of his scores.
     
  17. Kindergarten31

    Kindergarten31 Cohort

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2007
    Messages:
    500
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 1, 2009

    I do colors, since I use colored baskets to keep each groups materials in, but I add a name-this year we had the blue kangaroos, the red rabbits, the green gorillas and the yellow yaks (of course). You could change it up that way.
     
  18. lemonhead

    lemonhead Aficionado

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2007
    Messages:
    3,563
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 1, 2009

    I had animals.

    Cheetahs, frogs, lemurs, monkeys, and tigers. I had 5 groups and the group names were in alphabetical order from lowest to highest but none of the kids knew that.
     
  19. FootballGal

    FootballGal Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 1, 2009

    I have a space theme this year so I named the groups: shooting stars, suns and moons. Last year I had limes, blueberries and oranges.
     
  20. CiniMini

    CiniMini Rookie

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2009
    Messages:
    68
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 1, 2009

    Last year I let my kids name their mixed ability groups for centers. They came up with: White Tigers, Football Players and Princesses (my personal fav) and "Spongebob." It was kinda awkward to call that last group sinces is a singular noun but they named it and they were proud of it.

    As far as my small reading groups I just called them by 1st, 2nd and 3rd according to the order I called them. My kids were all about ordinals last year so it worked.

    Next year we're going to be required to call them by the color coding for our reading program--Green (lo), Yellow (mid) and Blue (hi).
     
  21. smurfette

    smurfette Habitué

    Joined:
    Nov 25, 2008
    Messages:
    895
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 1, 2009

    Yikes! I had separate groups for word study and reading. I several kids like yours, and the reverse where some of my good spellers had reading comprehension problems. :unsure:
     
  22. KinderCowgirl

    KinderCowgirl Phenom

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

    Jul 1, 2009

    The fruit names would make me too hungry when it came to small group time! :p
     
  23. kidsr#1

    kidsr#1 Companion

    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Messages:
    228
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 1, 2009

    Totally agree

    I agree. Kids know more than we sometimes think. We may have our kids for a year, but they have been in the same classes with some of the other students for several years. They know who struggles and who they could go to if they need help in reading, spelling, etc.

    I usually use colors.

    Red-to remind me "stop" this group needs a lot of help
    Yellow-not so much help
    Green-students can "go" on their own with some help

    If I need other colors I choose orange and purple, too.
     
  24. FootballGal

    FootballGal Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2008
    Messages:
    215
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 1, 2009

    haha I never thought about that and neither did the kids!
     
  25. peggy27

    peggy27 Cohort

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2004
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 1, 2009

    I don't name mine. I have sticks with their names on it in my chart for rotation. They get to know who's in the group and look at the chart. I switch my students in and out of groups so it makes it much easier.
     
  26. Teaching Grace

    Teaching Grace Connoisseur

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2005
    Messages:
    1,731
    Likes Received:
    3

    Jul 1, 2009

    You could do sports teams and play-up the teamwork aspect :)
     
  27. MissKH81

    MissKH81 Rookie

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2007
    Messages:
    92
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 1, 2009

    Thank you so much for starting this topic! Ironically I was just thinking about how to do this diplomatically and I got a lot of fabulous ideas from all of you (as always).
     
  28. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,376
    Likes Received:
    809

    Jul 1, 2009

    I have tried various methods over the years. I've named the groups myself. The problem comes when it is time to change students around. Our district requires ability grouping, but it has to be flexible based on topic. So if I'm working on fluency this week, my group might be one way. But if I'm working on identifying the main idea, then the groups changed based on the data.

    What would happen is that if you were in the "blue" group last week, and now you are in the "green" group -- kids would get confused when I called them for group meetings. (Same thing with animal names, etc.) When I let kids choose their own group names, and then had to move somebody, there would be inevitable disappointment -- somebody wouldn't like their group name -- or liked their old group name more.

    I also tried changing the group name every time I changed groups -- so this week it was arctic animals, but in two weeks when I changed groups, it might be desert animals. Disaster! I couldn't keep track of it all. It got confusing.

    To add to the mix, we often have students pulled during guided reading for extra help -- but we are still required to make sure they get guided reading each and every day. So if Bobby was pulled right when it was time for his group to meet, then today, I need to stick him in another group and "make it work" so I can meet the requirement of meeting with each student in small group reading each day. On days when gifted instruction does pull outs, I would sometimes have 11 students pulled out at once -- and they were not all at the same reading level -- some where below grade level (they were gifted in math), some where on, and some were years ahead. My only option was to pull them the second they got back from pull-out -- yes, all 11 at once, and figure a way to do the lesson with mixed-abiity grouping. (It isn't hard once you get used to it.)

    So now, I just call names... "Class, I need Billy, Mary, LaTonya, Gregor, Simon, and Jasmine please." It is just so much easier.

    If I didn't have so many pull outs (I have 4 different pull outs going on -- some each day, some every other day, some Wed-Friday only) and then sometimes the pull-out instructors get detained and don't show up on time, or don't show up at all -- so I have to be very flexible.

    That's why I love this forum -- you can get so many different ideas that you are bound to find one that will work in your particular situation.
     
  29. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Messages:
    4,376
    Likes Received:
    809

    Jul 1, 2009

    I just had to add this -- last year, on Wednesdays, I had 3 students pulled for 1 hour and 15 minutes (during my 2 hour language arts block) for a special literacy mentorship program. I had 11 students pulled for 45 minutes for gifted services (and sometimes they'd come back in 45minutes, and sometimes after an hour or more, I'd have to send someone to hunt them down -- they'd get so engrossed in their activity the teacher would totally lose track of time.) About 30 minutes of these programs overlapped. One student got pulled for ESL. Two students got pulled for occupational therapy. Uhmmm-- that is 17 students -- out of 20! It was hysterical! For about 1/2 an hour each Wednesday -- I'd only have 2-3 students! (One of my students was in both the literacy program and the gifted program, so he was gone most of the time.) I have to say, those 2-3 students got some wonderful fluency instruction on Wednesdays!!!!!!!! They got thirty minutes of my undivided attention.
     
  30. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2007
    Messages:
    1,396
    Likes Received:
    4

    Jul 2, 2009

    Rainstorm,that is crazy. How are you ever supposed to get those kids' guided reading in-and change up the groups? That is where I am lucky-our literacy coach worked with me to make sure she wasn't pulling them during guided reading so that I could do the mandated switching group members according to weak skills. If I had your problem-then I would definitely just call names.
    Just a side note-all this "extra support" did NOTHING to help my test scores. It would have been better if I just kept them the whole 90 minutes for literacy. Not to make is sound like bragging-I simply mean that I firmly believe consistency is the key to helping kids perform better on state tests.
     
  31. newbie0809

    newbie0809 Companion

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2009
    Messages:
    244
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 2, 2009

    Something one of my mentors did was give them positive names like the Excellent group, the Wonderful group, the Terrific group, the Fabulous group etc. Can't tell which ones are high or low
     
  32. mom2alex

    mom2alex Companion

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2009
    Messages:
    193
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2009

    I love this idea of naming the groups this way!
     
  33. 2inspire

    2inspire Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2009
    Messages:
    155
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2009

    I have a colored iris cart that I use for my groups. Orange, green, blue, red and purple. Any materials I need go in the corresponding colored tray. Like others have said, especially when you get to 4th kids know that if you get in the group with so and so you're in the high group.
     
  34. MissH225

    MissH225 Comrade

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2008
    Messages:
    315
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2009

    I like this too! I remember a teacher who had the class split in two for something and one side was the rich the other the famous haha.

    My cooperating teacher had her groups name: Diamonds, Rubies, Emeralds,Silver and Gold...the diamonds were lowest. But I agree the kids totally know what group is what
     
  35. little317

    little317 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,289
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2009

    I'm doing a space theme this year too. My tables will be the different planets, so I don't want to do planets for the reading groups and confuse the kids. So, for reading groups I will have the different space shuttle names: Team Endeavour, Team Columbia, Team Discovery and Team Atlantis.
     
  36. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2005
    Messages:
    5,363
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2009

    I love the space-related names! :)

    I may go for travel-related names- I've been thinking about that for a few years now, but I don't know what to call the groups yet, whether it will be based on explorers, places, or animals in Florida.
     
  37. little317

    little317 Groupie

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2006
    Messages:
    1,289
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2009

    For animals you could do alligators, panthers, manatees and flamingoes.
     
  38. mom2ohc

    mom2ohc Habitué

    Joined:
    Sep 7, 2008
    Messages:
    974
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 19, 2009

    I usually called the students by the day that I met with them! SO the kids I meet on Monday - were the Monday group! creative huh?
     
  39. futureteach21

    futureteach21 Habitué

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2008
    Messages:
    821
    Likes Received:
    1

    Jul 20, 2009

    I remember all the way back to first grade and picking the name of our reading group. We were named after a hockey team. I think you should still let the kids pick their own names. Those names can stay the whole year, but the kids can just move around in them. Or, if the entire groups changes, have them pick new names. I think a sense of ownership in the classroom is important and gets kids excited to be there. Whatever you choose to do, will work out fine!
     
  40. NYSTeacher

    NYSTeacher Companion

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2006
    Messages:
    191
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2009

    I name my groups. My school's theme is Pirates so I centers my guided reading groups around that idea:

    Shipmates
    Parrots
    Captains
    Deckhands
    *I can't remember the last one (it was two words)
     
  41. msmullenjr

    msmullenjr Devotee

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2009
    Messages:
    1,161
    Likes Received:
    0

    Jul 20, 2009

    I've always let my kids pick their own names but it had to be an adjective and an animal.

    Grey Wolves
    black panthers
    soaring eagles
    Pretty Pink Unicorns with Sparkles (it was the oddest name ever, I think they just liked the look on my face when I had to call for them) BTW that group was all boys.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. Pikachu
Total: 154 (members: 2, guests: 136, robots: 16)
test