Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Debbie Diller: Small Groups Ch. 1 & 2

I am linking up with Mrs. Samuelson's Swamp Frogs to read the book Making the Most of Small Groups: Differentiation for All by Debbie Diller. You can read Heidi's blog post for these chapters here.

These are my thoughts for Chapters 1 and 2:

1. Time? Isn't that always something we are fighting? Finding a balance between whole-group and small-group instruction is always difficult. Knowing I can begin the year teaching my students the routines and procedures and then changing our schedule to fit our needs helps take a little of the pressure off at the beginning of the year. 

2. Lesson planning... The lesson planning part is not usually difficult for me, but making sure I meet with all the groups is where I fall apart. This is where being organized more will be helpful.

3. Benefits of small group instruction...I believe that students benefit from the focused instruction they receive in small groups. I have to keep that focus in mind when I start feeling overwhelmed by the daily happenings in the class and in trying to fit it all in.

4. Small group space...I created a space for my small groups where I have a horseshoe table, shelves to hold materials, drawers for supplies for each group. Having that space is so helpful! It keeps the materials and books I use close by and easier to plan with.

5. Student interruptions...I need to find a sign or something I can have up during small group instruction time. The student interruptions are very frustrating! But I think the other thing I need to do is to really teach my students the independence and expectations of what they are supposed to be doing while I'm with the small group. I think if I planned that piece of it better, then the interruptions would lessen.

6. Small group planning folder...Last year, I created a folder like Debbie Diller explained in the book and I have really enjoyed it! I have a tab for each student for data like running records and I use the index cards to record information about students. This works well for me since I have quite a few transitions of students during the school year since I work on a military base. Some of the forms I use come from Mrs. Bainbridge's can find them here.

7.  I have considered trying to use an app or some technology source to keep notes on students, but I find that writing it down is my preference still. Is there anyone else besides me?

I hope these thoughts are helpful to someone! I am enjoying reading the book and hope you will join us next week for chapter 3!


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