Sunday, June 15, 2014

#SBS14 Chapters 1&2 Shares

Week of June 16 - 19
Chapters 1-2 Discussion and Shares

Quotes and Thoughts from Chapter One: TIME
Thought 1~ Balance of -Whole Group and Small Group Time when planning for the reading block...I think my district is using a 150 minute reading block this year, but I’m not sure if that is ALL at one time or includes intervention and RTI as well.
-I LOVE how Debbie reminds us that the beginning of the year will NOT look anything like what we do once we get into the groove.  We’ve got to take time to get expectations in place and help them adjusted to the “What to Dos” during station rotations.  I use the I Can statements for each station and create anchor charts WITH  the kids to show what to do during this time.  We all try to practice the station so we can become “experts” at what we’re doing while we’re at the station.  The anchor charts aren’t very cutsie or premade...they’re developed WITH the kids so they have ownership over what they think should go on during the station...I often have them use their senses to tell what it will look like, sound like, etc. while they’re at that station.

Thought 2 ~ Work with students at their instructional reading level in small groups...not too easy...yet not so hard that they can’t practice the skills during the small group meeting.
-want each student problem solving and applying strategies that have been taught in whole group instruction…
**I often find this a good time to reteach the skills that the kiddos didn’t get during the whole group lesson...practicing these skills in a small group setting with game-like tasks work well for me and the kids**
-focus is on having child do more work than me!

Thought 3 ~ Plan to meet with children individually as well...I usually met with students to do fresh reads and fluency checks on Friday.  I keep a list of kids I’ve listened to and took an oral reading grade (sometimes)... I’m still thinking about the best way of recording and tracking the times we meet together and the things I notice...
-Carol Stafford has a crazy neat tool for making anecdotal records using large index cards and a clipboard or file folder arrangement.
-Vicki Kinder has a neat system of recording how the kids are doing each time she meet with them using check marks. Screen shot 2014-06-12 at 10.50.45 AM.png
Here’s a LINK to Vicki’s Running Record Document.

-I am looking at using the “Good Notes” app on my iPad and creating individual folders for each child….
...possibly using google drive and creating docs for each child.  Making notes using google docs means the docs can be accessed from ANY device to add to or use in planning…
Still thinking on how to best utilize this…I seem to get started with something, but not be very good at keeping up with it as the year progresses :(
Pros and Cons of Google VS Good Notes...
--Google is typing only where as Good Notes can be notes that are handwritten on the document…
--both documents can be emailed and shared via pdf formats….however ONLY google docs can be ACCESSED and Changed in all places from any device…(we’re talking EVEN my PHONE!)
“How do you keep individualized data on your students?”

Planning for Small Group Lessons…

“In my mind, there is not really a "right" or "wrong" way to work with kids in small group.”
Debbie Diller. Making the Most of Small Groups: Differentiation for All (Kindle Locations 208-209). Kindle Edition.

~ I’ve tried planning out a week’s worth of small group and did a WONDERFUL JOB of planning!  But when the groups meet, I’ve inveritably find that I need to adjust …. sometimes A LOT…
I like that Debbie says we should be prepared to plan a little each night for the next day’s group…

~ I like how she explains how to have the group reading with a purpose and how using the sticky notes can be helpful for giving them a way to share what they learned...or thought...or found.
...and to read individually with a child or two before addressing the group…

~ I also like her suggestion that we shouldn’t try to meet with every group every day.
Debbie give several lesson plan ideas in her book...still haven’t decided which one I like the best…
Have you?

Here’s one from Dina...

Screen shot 2014-06-14 at 6.26.59 AM.png

*Dina at “Second Grade Smarties” has posted some thoughts about Chapters One and Two as well...Check out her blog post HERE
*Check out Dina’s “Instructional Planning Sheet” HERE

Quotes and Thoughts from Chapter Two:  Organizing

Screen shot 2011-06-06 at 7.40.18 PM.png

     Thought 1 ~ Creating a “Do Not Disturb” signal has proven to be a great tool for me.. I like using Donna Whytes stop signal...You can read more about it on one of my old blog posts HERE

I love all the planning binders and things that are on TpT right now for helping with organization and I DO NEED HELP with organizing…
Things I’m thinking about and planning to work on this year...
1. Where do I want to hold small groups?
...kidney table? movable areas?
2. How do I want to plan?  What kind of format?
3. How do I want to collect data?
4. Where do I keep things to work with small groups?

Do you have any organizing tips you can share?

I hope you’ll consider sharing along with us this week.  You can comment on my blog post HERE
or Tweet your thoughts using the hashtag #SBS14
or post on my Blog FaceBook page

I’m really enjoying the book!  Be sure to check back next week for chapters 3-4!


  1. This year, 3rd-5th graders had their own data binders. They never left school, but were kept in kids cubbies and they had great ownership of them!

    1. Did you also keep a data binder for the assessments you did as a teacher? I'm trying to decide how I want to do this....via iPad and keep everything paperless OR sticky notes and files for each child? I'm kinda stuck in both worlds so to speak right now.

    2. I have decided to try 4 x 6 note cards that I am going to set out by each student during groups. I might make a page for roaming observing that I can then transfer to the cards if significant. It will be a trial and error for me. I bought a box with dividers already and I am going to try this first.... then we'll see how it goes. I am excited about getting this started "RIGHT" though.

  2. She talks a lot about the setup, with focus on a table to meet at. I always sit on the floor in the carpet area when I meet with groups. I like that we can kind of huddle in and use soft voices to speak, and that kids who need to have different sensory input can lay on their tummy. A disadvantage of my setup is that I actually cant see every corner of the room. But my ears are always tuned in and I'm confident I'd pick up on a change that indicated trouble. Does anyone else prefer carpet time for small groups?
    I do keep a data folder, no ipads in our elementary, and it works pretty well. Kind of hate sticky notes for this, it gets overwhelming for me quickly. I just write on notebook paper with the name and date. But I love the idea of a group notebook, particularly the idea of pocket dividers to hold the books and can hardly hold back from rushing to the office supply store to put that together! Having a generic plan that a sub could follow is another great idea I can use from these chapters.
    Time isn't an area I have much decision making power in. My district is pretty strong with support and I get a reading teacher and an aid for small groups, but the trade off is that I get them when it's my turn and that 30 minutes is my small group time, period. A challenge I face sometimes is communicating with the assigned aid, to make sure expectations are clear. And the reading teacher is pulled away for district testing quite a bit, another challenge. Using the time well matters a lot!

    1. Ahhh to be young and easily sit on the floor again :) I used to do a lot more on the floor than I do now in Second, but that may be more about the fact that I lost 7 square tiles of floor space when moving from first to second and no rug :( I'm wondering about having other areas around the room to meet with small groups instead of just having them meet at the "kidney table"...maybe one day it will be meet at another place.