As educators, how do we organize and facilitate small groups in our classroom? It seems like an easy question, but also, as educators we know that nothing is easy. This week, let’s explore some of our pre-made small group bundles specially designed for effective learning and instruction in the classroom! We’ll cover everything from math, ELA and phonics- all great topics for a well rounded learning experience.
The big question
Some of us are seasoned teachers and some are fresh into the classroom. No matter the experience, there is always the opportunity to ask the following question. “What is the best way to do (insert concept, skill, practice, etc.)?” Certainly, there is more than one way to get something done. Additionally, what works for one may not be as effective for another for a variety of reasons. That being said, there are tried and true methods to instruction. Many are easily adapted to any teacher’s grade level and learning environment. With that in mind, we are here to help!
We have come prepared. Stock your teaching arsenal withgreat recommendations from our best educators. We will also provide you with ready- made small group bundle resources to use in your classrooms. Save them on a rainy day, have them prepped as sub plans or intentionally integrate them to your everyday lessons. They are flexible and adaptable to you, your students and your classrooms.
Routine is key
Research has shown that routine is critical to the development of children. As children transition into young adulthood and then beyond, establishing good habits and healthy routines works to support academic and personal growth.
My husband and I recently visited our second graders classroom for American Education Week. We know he has been having some challenges with distraction and staying on task, but we were also glad to see him successfully navigating classroom procedures. We arrived in the middle of a lesson. Once that ended, they took a brain break where they got up and had the chance to move. Many of them sang along with the words and mimicked the dances moves in the Youtube video. Already, it was clear that this was something they were familiar with. Following the brain break, they were instructed to go to one of three stations. Detailed instructions were not provided at this point, so as observers, we weren’t sure what to expect, but it was clear that the kids did! Why? Routine!
Framing small groups out
Using our small group bundles in the classroom, you can easily frame the work out by sticking to routines. Let’s say that each day you have a dedicated small group time. Each day, things will go more and more smoothly when the kids know what is expected of them. Just like my son and his classmates did for their teacher!
Try this structure and tweak where needed:
- Consistent time frame for the instruction
- Expectations of achievement/ effort
- Noise level- maybe use a code word to settle things down. I like “waterfall”- shhhhhh.
- Movement- are they staying seated at stations or able to move around?
Small group instruction routines are the key to fostering independence in young learners. Watching my son and his classmates in action really reinforced this step for me. When the teacher said that it was time to move to the next stations, they knew exactly what that meant. I watched them tidy up their current work, shift to their new space and settle in there with the new set of structured work. Fantastic!
Small group flexibility
As educators and as humans, we know that every day can and will be different, especially in the classroom. Keep this in mind for your students. Watching my son doing a math lesson, he was super confident. I could tell that this was a skill he had been working on and learning. Other days, however, when he is learning something newer, I know he struggles and can get frustrated. This is where small group work comes in clutch- it moves to support the learner and his needs. So, for my guy, on a challenging day, he’ll be able to get more one on one attention and support from his teacher and his peers.
Cross curricular functionality
Oftentimes when we think about small groups in a reading and language arts setting. Small groups work just as effectively across content areas. The efficacy of small groups relies more so on the ratio of student to teacher rather than the subject matter being covered.
For teachers, it allows us to more effectively gauge what a student is learning and really engage with them in a more comprehensive manner. I find this to be very effective when I am working to determine how a student may have improved or to identify where they might be struggling.
Don’t be afraid to fail. So maybe your small group work totally bombs one day. This is ok. Keep it doing. Stick with it and remember that “practice makes perfect”. I like to stay away from the whole idea of “perfectionism” in learning and the classroom, but you know what I mean. Keep the momentum up, do the drills, put in the work. You and your students will be the better for it!
Small group bundles
One thing (well there are many things) that I love about these small group bundles is how easy they are to use. They also can be used from grades K-5. You know your students and some of the lessons may need to be adjusted based on the needs of your small groups!
Starting off with our Math Small Group Bundle, you will have the following available:
Contains over 150 pages including:
– Small Group Plans
– Rotation Charts & Card
– Fact Fluency Challenge
– Roll & Write
– Comparing Numbers Activity
– Place Value Activities
– Multiplication Activity
The Reading Small Group Bundle includes:
A 90-page bundle containing:
– Small Group Plans
– Rotation Charts & Cards
– Fluency Activities
– Guided Reading Lesson Plan
– Comprehension Bookmarks
– And more!
The Phonics Small Group Bundle offers the following:
This 100 page bundle contains:
– Small Group Plans
– Rotations Charts & Cards
– Fluency Activities
– Word Sorts
– Heart Word Cards
– Prefix & Suffix Activities
– Standards Checklists
These bundles are available for download through subscription with MTTES. Once downloaded, you have them available to you for your classroom and students. We hope that they encourage great collaborative work amongst you and your students!
We here at MTT and MTTES want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. From ours to yours, have a very happy holiday. We are so grateful for you. Take care!
Courtney is an MTT tutor, academic coach, and blog contributor for MTTES. If you check out our FB and Instagram pages, you might see her giving a storytime with her son Jack through the company’s Facebook Live service. Courtney’s love of the English language, learning, and creative writing inspired her to contribute relevant content to teachers, tutors, parents, and homeschoolers seeking support across an array of trending topics. She and her teacher husband have two small children and reside in Baltimore, MD with their dog Lottie May.