So you’ve finally managed to get your small groups running and students are working independently from you, but what do you do now? What do students work on and how do I chose? What resources do you use for each rotation? Here are some ideas to help you simplify your planning for your small group rotations. We’ll start this week on the “Read to Someone” rotation:
- One way to begin is to use the story or book you are already reading in your class. Are you using a mandated curriculum such as Journeys or Reading Street? If so, use the story of the week. If not, use the story or book of your choice for your whole class to read.
- If you are “crunched” for time in your day and struggle making enough time for some of your other content area subjects such as science or social studies, go ahead and use the “Read to Someone” rotation to assign reading from your science or social studies curriculum; literacy through content is important and is a great way to embed nonfiction text into your literacy block. You can assign a few pages, have students read to each other, and have them discuss what they have read by having pre-selected oral questions posted on your board for the rotation. This promotes listening skills, oral reading skills to build fluency, and is fantastic to get your English Language Language Learners (ELL’s) speaking aloud in a comfortable, non-threatening way.
- Once you’ve selected the text for your “Read to Someone” rotation, it is best to have each student have their own copy of their book so students can read one page or paragraph to each other at a time and take turns. To make your small group time work the most efficiently, it is imperative that your transition time between rotations be very quick, so it is best for students to know who their partners are ahead of time.
- To avoid problems with picking partners, pre-select partners within each group. It is ideal to have two students together, but if not, three will also work.
- Since the “Read to Someone” rotation is one of the most popular rotations in our small group time, it is important to make sure that all of your expectations are clearly communicated since it is easy for students to want to be lively, silly, and possibly too loud. So, let them know that this time is a privilege, and it is important to all “do our part” to make sure that this special time of the day runs smoothly so everyone learns. I let the students choose where they sit as long as I can see them from my small group table. That way they know they are visible. This definitely helps them stay on task. Help them understand that they are instrumental in helping their peers learn, and this is an important responsibility for all of us.
- If you have reluctant readers, or readers who are extremely shy, you can have them do “Ear to Ear” reading, a strategy I’ve learned through all of the “Project Glad” training that I’ve attended. It is when two chairs are opposite each other so that each student is facing a different direction, but their ears are right next to each other, so they can hear each other read. They are not able to see each other, so this lowers their affective filter, lowering anxiety.
- This special partner reading time is a great time to foster and develop student respect and to learn be kind to each other. I love the strategy developed by the “Two Sisters”, founders of Daily 5, developed a strategy called “Coaching or Time”. It is a way for a partner to respectfully provide help to their partner, help them learn, and help them develop reading confidence. The full strategy is described in the “Daily 5” book, but I have used their concept loosely and developed a poster that you can use in your classroom, describing this strategy.
Click on the above picture for a FREE poster!
Thanks for looking, let me know what you think!
The Teacher Team