Meet the Teacher


Making the Most of Small group Instruction, Part 2

I have said it before, but I truly believe small group time is the most important time of our day. Small groups are the backbone of my instruction because I can meet the needs of all of the learners in my classroom. Combined with whole class instruction and activities, small groups help me ensure my students master the standards and skills in deeper levels. 

My class size ranges from 18-26 students each year.  I usually have 6-8 groups that range from learning to read all the way to already reading so I am switching gears a lot. In my December blog post, I explained the structure of my guided reading groups.   This post is going to explain to you how students arrive to small group while I am maximizing the time we have together.

managing guided reading, managing small groups in first grade

You want students to know exactly what to do when they arrive to the teacher table for reading groups.   Some of my groups have work to do BEFORE they even come to the teacher table.

My high readers actually read before they come to me.  I have them practice retelling prior to coming to the teacher table, too.  I use these retelling slides, which are so helpful. 

My students who are just learning to read do important sight word work before reading groups.  I have them sit on the floor by the teacher table and work there as I am finishing up with a different group.  These are my babies who typically have less stamina during readers workshop so I feel like this helps them stay productive during our literacy block.

I have them practice tapping out and blending words to improve their ability to do this. This is from my Phonics All Year resource.

Other days, I have students practice reading their cut up sentences book.  Students write a sentence about the book during guided reading.  I write it on a strip and we cut it apart and scramble up the words {or the letters, if I cut up words}.  Students glue the sentence into their cut up sentence book, like the one above.

Sometimes these students work on sight words using my sight word centers.  I have these ready to go so all I have to do is grab the container and a dry erase marker and they are ready to go! I love these because they have so many uses and can be used with any group.  They are editable, too, so I can make them for any word!

Once students are at the table, they have a few minutes to do work while I get situated. 
Here are some of the activities they do:
Fluency Baskets
This is where students read familiar books, short phrases or passages.  They learn to scoop the words so they can read like talking.

The phrases above can be found here.

These cards are part of my Guided Reading Made Simple pack.

Sight Word Rings and Folders I have two types of sight word rings.  One set has a single word on each card, like the ones above.  The other has a word and three sentences using that word on it, pictured below.  

The above can be found in Sight Word Centers

For my students who are just learning sight words, I use sight word folders.  They have six pockets.  I typically begin with ten words in the first pocket.  If the student reads it correctly, it moves to the second pocket.  If they don’t know the word, it stays in the first pocket.  I send that word home so they can practice it at home.  The next day we begin with the second pocket.  If they read those words correctly, they move to the third pocket.  If not, they stay in the second pocket.  Then we read the words in the first pocket.  Again, they move to the next pocket if they know the word.  We keep doing this until the words move out of the sixth pocket.  I add new words to the first pocket when this occurs.  This is a great way for students to learn words because it calls for daily repetition and they are working at home, too.

guided reading activities, sight words

These are SUPER easy to make.  I bought the pockets at the Dollar Tree.  I glued six in a file folder and laminated it.  Using an exacto knife, I slit the top of the packets to place the words in.  I just took our first grade list, enlarged it and cut out the words in strips.  I highly recommend trying this out if you have students who need to master sight words!

Did you like my retelling slides?  You can download them here for free!  Just copy on cardstock and cut in half.  Hole punch the top and bottom and place a string, wire, or pipe cleaner with a bead on it through the holes.  Secure.  Try them out with your class and let me know what you think!

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