I NEED HELP WITH CREATING GROUPS! In efforts to increase student achievement, our school wants us to implement more group time in math and reading. They would like these groups to be working during a 30 min. period so that we can target the 2 lowest groups of kids (15 min. each) to reteach. I'm in third grade and honestly not very good with activities to keep the other kids working while I reteach. We are limited on computers, so having internet activities is not really a good option, because there would probably only be 1 computer open for that. I am looking for activities that aren't just "fluff" but would be valuable to my low groups as well as middle and high groups. As always, TIA!

Sorry, another group question! If you have groups in math, can you please share with me how you set them up? I just can't figure out how to operate them smoothly. Do you have stations, and everyone does something for "X" amount of minutes? (like you rotate to a new station after 15 min.) Do you have the groups do 1 main activity per day, and so maybe you will have 5 activities, and each group does a different one daily for 30 min? I'm so used to teaching whole group and then pulling small groups while the rest work. I'm NOT good with having everyone up and working in groups simultaneously, and I could really use some suggestions.

We combine the 2 year level classes and divide into 6 groups for reading. We have our learning support teacher, a teacher aide and parent volunteers assist us and we do this 3 times a week. Over a two week period each groups sees 3 teachers, the aide and parents. We have very specific plans set out for all helpers to follow, they include reading, sight words, grammar, comprehension, phonological awareness, writing and spelling activities. For Maths groups I rely on parent volunteers to assist a couple of groups, I work at one activity and I often need to have an independent activity. We rotate through the activities (about 15 mins each). I give the parent volunteers very specific instructions for their activities and it works well. Sorry, I know that probably doesn't help if you can't have volunteers and are on your own! I would have them do some sort of written response to their reading - comprehension questions, personal response, text innovation type activities. It's quite late here and my brain is fried so I will try to have more of a think for you tomorrow!

Are you planning to teach the lesson whole group and then have your students do something independent while you work with the two lowest groups of students? Reading: listening center (books on tape are great and motivating), vocabulary (have the students draw pictures of their words...write them in sentences...search for them in the newspaper), response to reading (give the students a question to respond to...this can be making a picture of a character or setting, creating a newspaper article, making trading cards, etc), silent reading, etc. Math: Word problems: I give them a word problem or two that is more challenging that I want them to solve with a partner and then compare with the group and figure out the true solution. Games: When I can find them, I use math games with my students. There are many free ones out there. Independent practice: I set a timer and give my students 10 minutes to solve as many problems as possible. Then as a group, they correct them and determine how many they were able to get correct. They compare this to their score last time. Facts: you could always have the students practice their facts. Set a timer for 2 minutes with a stack of flash cards. See how many their partner can get correct. Then switch. They can graph their results to see how they are doing. Then let them practice their tricky facts and try to beat their graph. (Kind of like cold/hot readings).

Reading groups: I am trying to do the Daily 5/ CAFE (of course, changing things a bit to make it work for me) I pull 2-4 kids for a strategy group (these change frequently) and/or do 1:1 conferences. On days I have a parent helper, I have her pull a group of 3-4 also. We do 3 rotations, the other students can choose from Read to Self, Read Together, Word Work, and Listen to Reading. Math groups: change very frequently - often based on how well they understood yesterday's lesson. 4 groups spread over 2 days, so we do two rotations a day. Usually - This week's math game/ seatwork, and Last week's math game/ meet with me

I do groups in reading and math, thanks to all the great advice I got from A to Z. Reading Groups: I am doing a modification of the Daily 5-so I teach a mini-lesson, then we break into a Daily 3 (I only do 3 rotations). Then I move on to another mini-lesson, and then do a daily 3, until all 3 rotations have been done. Math: I started math centers this year after hearing what some of the teachers here do. I am finding them to be very successful. Every teacher here does something different, but here's what I do: review, calendar, mini-lesson, and then 2 rotations of math. I have 3 groups, and the centers are: Teacher, folder, and hands-on. If a group is with me one rotation, then they only have teacher center and folder center. If they do not meet with me, they have folder center and hands on center. At first, I was not enjoying the centers. But, once the kids got into it and knew what they were doing, I grew to love it. It allows me to reteach, and allows the students to constantly work on concepts that they might still have not mastered. It's great! Good luck to you.

I suggest you look into some of Debbie Diller's books. (http://www.debbiediller.com/) This summer my project was to read a few of her books and get my room (and me) ready to implement literacy groups. I can't tell you how much I learned from the books. (They are highlighted, dogeared, and flagged.) The literacy groups have been very successful. My principal and elementary supervisor has askmed me to share with other teachers because they like what they are seeing. This summer it will be math.

ChristyF, Which Debbie Diller book/books would you most recommend for helping me get started with both reading and math groups? I'm very interested in your opinion!

The two that I read were Spaces and Places and Practice With a Purpose. I've pre-ordered her new book, Math Work Stations. It's written for lower grades, but I still think I will be able to get information and ideas from it.