How many? How often? How to assess? What's the teacher's role? We share flexible and creating strategies for leading groups, and teaching students how to partner and work well with classmates independently. Resources include everything from planning and assessment forms to scores of video examples of groups in action at many grade levels.
Karen Terlecky brings lessons from her adult book club to her structure of book clubs in her 5th grade classroom. The article includes launching and management tips.
Shari Frost writes about the “Level A Purgatory” many kindergartners and young students endure when teachers assign reading groups too early. Her feature includes other instructional options beyond small groups for early in the year that may be more appropriate for our youngest learners.
Franki Sibberson uses a knitting analogy to reflect upon alternatives to guided reading in the intermediate grades that promote more student independence.
Katie DiCesare comforts a student in tears at the end of the day, and realizes part of the problem may be that she moved the child into a guided writing group too quickly.
Shari Frost questioned the amount of writing going on in many elementary writing centers. She decided to work with a team of literacy coaches and teachers to explore ways to increase writing in classrooms – through better use of centers, or alternative programs. In this follow-up article, Shari presents two different solutions that are working well – one involves introducing writing tools in a more systematic way in centers, and the other is an implementation of a different program entirely for independent work.
In the last installment of this three-part series, Katie DiCesare shows how she translates the findings from individual students into instructional plans when she uses a spelling assessment in her 1st grade classroom.
In this video from a fifth-grade small group, Clare Landrigan talks with students about making predictions and finding evidence in text.
In this video from Franki Sibberson’s grades 3-4 classroom, boys share books that are similar to ones written by Matt Christopher.
Shari Frost shares the nuts and bolts of setting up open book clubs in your school. These clubs are a great way to expand the reading community, as well as connect school libraries and classrooms.
Kathy Collins gives a detailed definition of how reading centers are connected to the goals of different reading units of study.
Shari Frost finds writing centers are beloved by many teachers and students. There’s only one problem – very little writing appears to be going on in the centers.
In this small group from Courtney Tomfohr's first-grade classroom, students work on their "chunking" skills.
In this small group after a demonstration lesson in a 5th grade classroom, Clare Landrigan talks through strategies for inferring the meaning of new words while reading.
In this first video in a two-part series, Clare Landrigan meets with a group of fourth graders to talk about reading logs and goals. In this excerpt, Clare uses the analogy of how runners use logs to chart progress and set goals.
In this second video in a two-part series, Clare Landrigan meets with a group of 4th graders to talk about reading logs and goals. In this excerpt, Clare confers with students over their logs and debriefs with their teacher.
Clare Landrigan meets with a group of fifth graders to talk about what’s going well in literacy workshops, and to set individual goals.
In this video of a first-grade guided writing group, Katie DiCesare works with three girls on spelling issues that have emerged in their writing.
In this video, Aimee Buckner uses a mentor text to demonstrate how writers construct lively nonfiction paragraphs.
One of the challenges of working with intermediate writers is helping them understand how and when to use dialogue in their writing. In this video of a small-group lesson, Aimee Buckner uses a mentor text and a metaphor to help her 4th grade students understand the value of using dialogue sparingly in their writing.
In this strategy group, Karen Terlecky brings together three of her 5th graders to reread a nonfiction article shared with the whole class. They discuss main ideas, and do a writing activity together to build summarizing skills.
Franki Sibberson finds sports writing is a powerful motivator for boys in her grades 3-4 classroom.
Katie Doherty’s 6th grade students discuss the read-aloud through partner shares.
In this second video of a three-part series showing a teaching progression for the Rule of 3, Aimee Buckner has asked students who might want a little more information or help after the whole-class lesson to stay for a small group.
In this follow-up to a whole class lesson and discussion of fonts, Franki Sibberson pulls together a group of 3rd and 4th graders from her class who have asked to be a part of a small group on fonts.
Max Brand explains how daily student grouping can be both planned and spontaneous.
Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (“The Sisters”) discuss how their thinking has evolved when it comes to flexible groups. The article includes a video excerpt of Joan working with a group of kindergartners.
Franki Sibberson describes how she organizing writing groups in her grades 3 and 4 classroom, and shares a video of a writing group considering leads.
In this example of reading instruction with a small group, Gail Boushey of “The Sisters” leads a discussion of inference, using Peter Rabbit as a focus text. All of the children in the group are reading at different levels independently, but they share a goal of learning more about inferring.
In this five-minute video, Gail Boushey (of “The Sisters”) leads a short small-group lesson on vocabulary.
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