Tuesday, March 10, 2015

SLG: Small Learning Groups

Centers...The Daily 5...Rotations...Reading Groups
Which name do you use for the time when you conduct several small reading groups at the same time?  I guess it doesn't really matter as long as you're incorporating them into your classroom because of the HUGE benefits they provide.  But...I will admit that I'm annoyed with the Daily 5 and here's why: I incorporate pieces of the Daily 5 into my small reading groups BUT the Daily 5 is copyrighted and branded and you have to be careful how you use it, talk about it, blog about it and create products for TPT that involve it.  This rubs me the wrong way.  Okay, down off my soap box :-)
courtesy of mycutegraphics.com by Laura Strickland

I've found myself referring to any groups that I do (or plan to do) in my classroom as Small Learning Groups.  We do reading and math this year and I hope to include writing next year.  SLG: Small Learning Groups.  Ooh, I think I'll go get a patent for those words...just kidding!

It takes a lot of time and work to get small groups going in your classroom.  At my school, another primary teacher I work with is being pushed to start doing reading groups right now at the start of the 4th quarter....are you kidding me?  There is no humanly possible amount of time and effort that you can muster to get this going NOW in the year.  So my advice for this teacher is to definitely do 'Read to Self', Computer time and Guided Reading.  And I would do 2 additional groups and have them be something along the lines of Literature Response (drawing and/or writing about a recent read-aloud) and Word Work (from the weekly Spelling lists).  But you could also do: Playdoh, Coloring, Puzzles, etc.  These are not tied to reading but they are groups that can be quickly and cheaply put together and the kids will be happy and QUIET so you can do Guided Reading.

I'm a mentor in my district to new teachers and the thing I hear most often is, "I want to do small groups for reading but I don't know what to do" and/or "I don't have the resources and materials for these groups.  Again, it takes a lot of time and work to get small groups going in your classroom.  I encourage new teachers to read about what kinds of groups to do and start buying, collecting, making, finding the needed materials but in the meantime, do what you can. AND there's a WHOLE LOT of behavior management that goes along with successfully implementing SLGs....but that's a whole other can of worms :-)

So I would like to share the SLGs I do for reading to help, blogging about each one separately, to encourage and inspire teachers out there who are or aren't doing small groups. 

I do my groups 3 times a week for the entire morning (add in a Storytime & Snack break).  Each group lasts anywhere from 10-15 minutes depending on different things.  Here are the groups I have (not all at the same time though, I pick and choose and usually have 7 groups including me):
Read to Self
Read with Someone
Listen to Reading
Word Work
Reading Game
Computer Time
Handwriting Practice
Art Project
Independent Writing
Guided Reading

I'll also share my 2 main management techniques with these groups: the SmartBoard, student choice.
 Up first, tomorrow, is Read to Self!

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