Struggling with small group reading

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by Bella2010, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Jan 7, 2015

    Do you alternate the days you work with a certain group? Like do you work with low and semi low one day and then on level and high another day? About how many kids do you have in a group at one time? How long does you small group reading session last and about how many kids do you have at one time? I'm still having trouble fitting everyone and everything into a day. :|

    Thanks!

    Beth
     
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  3. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jan 7, 2015

    I meet with my low group daily. My high group is reading independently at least two grade levels above, so I meet with them twice a week. My other two groups are both on level, so I try to get with them three times a week each.

    Groups are 15-20 minutes depending on what we are doing. How long each day do you have blocked for groups?
     
  4. TnKinder

    TnKinder Companion

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    Jan 7, 2015

    Reading Groups

    I see three groups each day. I see the low and simi low groups each day and alternate the high and middle groups. I see the high group twice weekly and the middle group three times weekly.
     
  5. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Jan 8, 2015

    Two grade levels above!!! :woot: I was lucky to have half my class reading somewhere near 3rd grade level.

    Scheduling is one part where I run into problems. I feel like I have to choose between reading a class novel and between small groups. I really don't want to toss the class novel because the kids enjoy it, but I know my kids need smaller group instruction. IDK what to do.
     
  6. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    I have six groups, so I really struggle to fit everything in. My schedule is:

    way above level - 2x per week
    above level - 2x per week
    on level - 3x per week
    just below level - 3x per week
    far below level - 4x per week
    waaaay below level - never (They see other teachers for reading, and I honestly just can't fit anymore groups in.)

    I would love to have only four groups, but I just can't make it work with the varying reading levels I have. I have everything ranging from A to O. I don't always stick to this schedule. I might see one group more or less often, depending on where we are in a book and whether someone is absent or out of the room. I usually have 3-4 students in each group, but that number has ranged from 2-5 when feasible. It also depends on the behaviors of the students in the groups and how they mesh together. I have to keep some groups small simply because the behaviors would be too much to manage if the group were any larger.

    Like you, I struggle to fit in all of my small groups planned for the day and still fit in my ELA curriculum. I usually have small groups go for 45-60 minutes, and then I have 30-45 minutes left for whole-group reading instruction (which includes read aloud and science/social studies content integration). I then have another 55 minute block for writing and handwriting instruction. It's tough.

    ETA: Oh, and I also have to schedule around a variety of interventionists, sped teachers, and reading specialists. So, I sometimes think I could make my groups larger and have fewer groups, but it wouldn't matter much, considering I'd be missing most of the kids I would want to fit into those newly opened slots. Very frustrating.
     
  7. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jan 8, 2015

    After writing my previous response, I opened up my group schedule on my computer and made some changes. I'm still not seeing the waaay below level kids, and I'm no longer including my student with the most challenging behavior in a group. Half the time, he is not in my room when his group is supposed to meet anyway due to his behavior. Removing him from the group allowed me to combine two others. I figure I'll try to fit him in 1:1 when I can and not put too much worry into it. Surprisingly, he is already slightly above level with the limited instruction he's been receiving, so I'm not overly concerned about making it official on my schedule. Anyway, here is my new plan:

    way above level (3 students) - 2x per week
    on level/slightly above level (5 students) - 3x per week
    slightly below level (4 students) - 5x per week
    far below level (3 students) - 4x per week
    waaay below level (3 students) - never
    AIMSweb progress-monitoring (which takes the time of a group slot, 7 students) - 1x per week

    Thanks for prompting me to dig deeper into this. I think this will be a big improvement for me! Hopefully my thoughts were somewhat helpful for you too.
     
  8. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    Jan 8, 2015

     
  9. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jan 11, 2015

    The number of kids varies depending on how many kids I have on each reading level. Right now I have groups that range from 2-6 kids. The number of times I meet with them per week varies based on their reading level.

    My highest readers (above grade level) meet once with me, and once on their own. They're in book clubs. They answer comprehension questions for homework before the "meetings."

    My on grade level or approaching grade level students are met with 2-3 times a week. I do very targeted lessons with them to get them where they need to be by the end of the year.

    My lowest students are met with 3-4 times. Some of them are still struggling with decoding.

    I meet with them for about 20 minutes. But my co-teacher meets with a group at the same time. So we meet with 1 group per day and see 10 groups were week.
     
  10. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jan 11, 2015


    You don't meet with the lowest students at all? Why? Do they get some other kind of intervention? :mellow:
     
  11. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jan 11, 2015

    Yes, they go to other teachers during my guided reading time, making it next to impossible for me to meet with them, unless I cancel something else during the day. I have three students reading at instructional levels B and C in second grade. One of them goes to a sped teacher for reading, and the other two go to an interventionist. Based on their other class schedules and my class schedule, I just can't fit them in. I talked to my administrator about it, and we decided that since they were getting reading instruction from another teacher every single day of the week, it was okay for me to never meet with them. Ideally, I would like to see them in addition to their other teachers, but I don't think it's fair to cancel my whole group lessons that they other students are entitled to just so I can provide additional reading instruction to these students who are already seeing other teachers.

    To fully understand, it's important to note that I have very limited flexibility in when my guided reading time is. Our administrators made a schedule for when each grade level is required to do their small group reading instruction and math intervention, which happens to be at the same time students are pulled out by other teachers (the point being that no whole group instruction is missed during pull-out times). I can extend beyond those times if needed, but I have to be doing it during those times. I already have 45 minutes to one hour per day scheduled for guided reading, and extending it beyond that would mean that I just couldn't get to all of my other objectives. So, it seemed to be in the best interest of most students if I just don't meet in a small group with the three lowest.
     
  12. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Jan 18, 2015



    From the way it sounds it doesn't sound like it's your fault. Your admin should be more flexible. In our school students can't be pulled during reading time. Sometimes that means the pull-out teacher rearranges their schedule, sometimes it means the classroom teacher rearranges their schedule.(It's unfortunately common for us to have students reading a B or C in 2nd even 3rd grade) I wouldn't feel comfortable if there were students in my class that were not getting small group instruction from me, even if they were being pulled out by another teacher.
     
  13. bella84

    bella84 Aficionado

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    Jan 18, 2015

    Thanks for the support. I whole-heartedly agree with the statement I bolded above. I, along with many colleagues, am feeling very micro-managed this year. I guess it makes the admin feel like they're doing something towards our achievement goals, but it really doesn't seem to be benefiting the kids overall. Personally, I'd rather have those three low students missing my whole group lessons and getting small group time with me instead, but I don't have the leeway to make that professional judgment at my school. I wish the admin would leave more up to the teachers, and it's often a little insulting to our intelligence and professionalism that they don't.
     
  14. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    It doesn't seem fair that these children will count as students in your class for evaluation purposes but your admin is okay with the fact that you don't have time in your schedule to see them for guided reading.
     
  15. Rabbitt

    Rabbitt Connoisseur

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    Jan 18, 2015

    I've really simplified it this year and love it.
    3 groups...
    5 students above
    5 students on level
    4 below
    2 students have another teacher for reading

    I also meet one on one conferencing with each weekly.
     

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