Work Hard AND Play. A Look at Small Groups.

This is the motto in our classroom... It is the motto I instill in my students and a motto I live by professionally and personally...

I am thrilled to be able to reveal to you a GENIUS small group idea that integrates student choice, students being challenged, student interests, AND GOOGLE APPS FOR EDUCATION!

As you are reading through this, I want you to be thinking about how this could be implemented in YOUR classroom...

The majority of us conduct small groups in reading and math... How would you like to NOT be in a rotation and to be able to coach, mentor, and monitor students learning? If so, read on!

Part 1: HyperDocs Change EVERYTHING

Last year, I began implementing hyperdocs in my classroom. I didn't know at the time that they were hyperdocs... However, they are a game changer... Check out my math and reading stations below. Of course you can use a variation of this, as it is heavy on digital use. To interact with the stations, click on the links!

WARNING: Do NOT be overwhelmed! Start Small... The nice thing has been, they are already made... I just get to revise by adding new ideas and resources!  Work Hard. Then Play.

Part 2: The FlowChart

This year, needing more time to meet students needs, I began our small group rotations with these flowcharts in reading and math.

Check out the FlowCharts Below... Once again, to interact clicks on the links... Shout out to Google Drawings!

At the top of both charts are the whole group lessons that I facilitate... they usually last about 12-20 minutes.

A couple of programs you see on the flowcharts are computer-based programs we are required to implement.  So, let's go through them!

  • Reading
    • Lexia (Computer-Based Program)
    • Stations (See Part 1 of the post)
    • Book Club: Kids need time to read and discuss!  Implementing this digitally, and in-person... these are similar to literature circles.  
    • Makerspace... Yep... It's True... Playing is a part of the curriculum in my classroom... I will go into more detail later as I am trying to work out kinks... but click "Makerspace" for a sneak peak of a progress in work!
  • Math
    • Dreambox (Computer-Based Program)
    • Stations (See Part 1 of the Post)
    • Mountain Math: This is a common core based spiral review
    • Problem of the Day: Writing in MATH!!!We use the Four Square Organizer (Question, Need to Know Information, Answer, Explanation)
    • Minecraft: Not on the FlowChart just yet... I am waiting patiently to see what happens with updates... :)

Part 3: The Students

The students have access to these at home and at school through the use of our Google Classrooms. At the beginning of the year, we went over every component and the expectations for the rotations. The students create their own rubrics as they do receive a grade based on their performance.  However, at one point I had implemented a point system where students had to earn so many points bi-weekly... then, I realized that the students striving for points interfered with the authenticity of the components of our small group times. I want these rotations to be more about authentic learning, rather than the students being worried about grades! This is just my opinion. ;)


Part 4: Me

I get the pleasure to mentor my students, clear up misconceptions, ask higher-order questions, and be available for them.  They are able to reach out with any questions or problems. No more ... INTERRUPTIONS during "small group"!!! 

Once again I ask... How can you create an environment that fosters creation, opportunities, explorations, innovation, and challenges for your students?

This expression sums up why I approach teaching the way I do!  


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