common core · guided reading · math · RTI · sale · TpT · workshop

You have small groups. Now what?

Hi, friends!  Happy Tuesday!  I’m sure that most of you are teaching right now, or maybe on your way to school still, but I’m sitting in the living room with our Christmas tree on and the twinnies are napping sweetly nearby.  I’m going to hit this hard and fast so we can be done before the boys wake up and I need another cup of coffee.  =)

If you’ve been following along at all, you know that I’ve been blogging lately about making small groups.  (I’d like to call it a series, but these posts have been so random and intermittent that I think series is too generous.)  In my last post here, I talked about how I made small groups.  So now I want to talk about what the heck you do with these small groups once you have them.  I think the obvious answer is that we all make small groups for SGI (small group instruction), so that you can give kids more targeted instruction, whether it’s for reading or math.  What’s less obvious is the best way to plan for SGI and actually run those small groups.

There are about a thousand ways to organize for SGI; most of them involve some type of work station, whether you’re using Daily 5, Cafe, project based learning, or something else.  (To be honest, my previous literacy coach always pushed upper grades to do SGI during independent reading because she felt that was more authentic than work stations, but I think that’s a little impractical in early grades, mostly because their stamina for independent reading doesn’t match the amount of time you really want to spend with small groups.)  So, assuming you’re balancing SGI with work stations the first thing you should decide is how often will you do SGI?  (For the record, I’m using SGI to refer to both guided reading and math,although I realize the process might not be the same for both.  We’ll separate them out in a later post.  Fear not!)  Here are the three SGI schedules that I encounter most often.  I’ve used two of them myself.

SGI Plan 1 (this is what I used teaching first grade):  SGI occurs daily in reading, and almost daily in math.  Teacher sees all groups at least once a week, strategically choosing groups who might need extra sessions to see teacher multiple times.  Student rotation groups go to each work station once/week.  Pros to this style are that teachers see every single student at least once weekly, so you have a good feel for student progress, challenges, etc.  Cons:  If students are out the day you see them  you miss them for that week.

SGI Plan 2 (I used this teaching kindergarten):  SGI occurs daily, and 3 times/week in math.  Teachers see all groups daily (in reading), and each student within a week (math).  Pros:  Students gets lots of instruction targeted specifically for them and generally make pretty significant growth as a result.  Cons:  high work station churn; very difficult to run without 2 teachers in the classroom.    

SGI Plan 3 (I have never used this myself):  SGI only occurs several times per week (2-3), and teacher prioritizes students with highest needs.  Pro:  frees up classroom time for other aspects of instructional day.  Con:  students with high needs don’t get as much targeted instruction.

I’d love to hear about which SGI lay out you use in your classroom.  I’m hoping to be back before the end of the week to talk about how I actually plan for SGI.  Have a great Tuesday, and don’t forget to check out the TpT Cyber Monday & Tuesday sale!  Everything is 28% off until midnight tonight!  Start your shopping here!

Stay dry!


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