How to run small groups in elementary school?

This can be as simple as an exit ticket or as formal as a pre-evaluation. Gather a small group of students. Most educators know that small group instruction. And if they don't, there's ample evidence to prove it.

But walk down the hall of most K-12 schools, and you can expect to see most teachers standing at the front of the room. There may be an occasional cold call. But for the most part, teachers talk and students listen. Part of the reason teachers disagree is because small group instruction means different things to different.

Many of us went to school at a time when learning for the whole group was the norm. Therefore, it can be difficult to know which model of small group instruction is the best. And once we choose a model, how do we do it right? And how can we know if it works? Once, an elementary school principal asked me to help increase student participation through. These teachers have never taught in small groups.

Few had ever used technology in their classrooms. They weren't familiar with effective teamwork strategies or how to teach students to collaborate. This example reflects why many teachers struggle with small group instruction. When a teacher stands in front of a room full of desks in rows, it's easy to realize that this is a teacher-centered lesson.

Small-group teaching is intended to increase student participation. However, real commitment can be difficult to define and even more difficult to measure. Today, there are a dozen or more small group teaching models used in schools. Project-based learning can provide wonderful opportunities for students to participate in reflective learning, while working with their peers.

The puzzle model also sounds interesting, although I haven't seen it used effectively in a real classroom. Both are somewhat complex and could be overwhelming for educators who are new to small group teaching. I see a lot of “station” or “center” activities that are sold online and that are just worksheets. Just having students move around the room to do the worksheets doesn't count as small group instruction.

But when I want small group instruction to promote deep inquiry, my preferred model is the workshop. An extension of flexible grouping occurs when several teachers cooperate to form a larger pool of possibilities. As long as two or more teachers are teaching the same subject at the same time, flexible grouping opportunities can be expanded to involve multiple teachers. In this scenario, teachers classify students into smaller groups based on student needs.

Teachers can then specialize and work with flexible groups that reflect the teacher's curricular preference. This allows a teacher to focus on a particular subject area and teach it to all students, rather than teaching all curricular areas to a single class of students. Flexible grouping is a way to reorganize the classroom so that students with similar needs receive instruction targeted to those areas. Students can move from one group to another as their characteristics or performance levels change.

Flexible grouping is not a method of tracking students. Nominal brainstorming is a modification of brainstorming that gives everyone in a group the opportunity to respond. Each student provides an answer and then waits until all other students respond before giving a second answer. The answers continue this way until all students have exhausted their supply of answers.

Nominal brainstorming is a more controlled technique than brainstorming. It's particularly useful for engaging students who are reluctant or shy. The strategy of thinking, matching and sharing is effective because students feel more pressure to perform well when they know they will have to present their work publicly, and this tends to result in better quality work. Students also feel a sense of ownership in class as a result of this type of lesson.

Why have flash cards existed for so long? The answer is that they are a proven technique. In its simplest form, a flash card is a recordable surface with a question on one side and the answer on the other side. Reflect the material of a particular unit. Both the teacher and the students can create them.

Flashcards are extremely valuable tools for learning letters, vocabulary and symbols. They are also great for review purposes and for students who need additional help. In addition, a teacher can use flashcards for the recitation of the whole class, or couples of students can use them to ask each other questions. Teachers organize interviews between students and students for two main reasons.

First, students interview each other using questions provided by the teacher to find out as much as possible about the other student during an icebreaker activity. Secondly, students can also interview each other to share their explanations of a current curriculum concept or the content of a previous lesson. Teachers can also decide to allow individuals or teams to report their findings or findings to the rest of the class. The interview method increases student interaction and provides repetition.

There is usually no need to encourage students to speak. In fact, school hallways, cafeterias, and sometimes even classrooms are filled with student talks. This type of communication can be channeled into productive instructive group discussion with the right guidance. Carefully planned group discussions promote higher-level student interaction, learning, and reasoning and can focus on numerous teaching strategies, such as inquiry, review, and problem solving.

Through group discussions, teachers can observe their students in a different environment and gain a greater understanding of the nature of individual students. They also serve as a training method to determine the level of achievement of the class, which is useful for planning lessons. So what are the elements of an effective group discussion? The initial question, opinion, or situation posed by the teacher should be broad enough to allow for participatory discussion. Factual questions, or those with a simple yes or no answer, provoke little discussion.

The teacher must clearly communicate both the desired format for the discussion and the expected outcome. For example, if the teacher decides to divide students into teams, this will need to be explained to the class. If the teacher wants to seat students in a circle to facilitate the discussion, this will also have to be done in an organized manner. .


Colleen Sluder
Colleen Sluder

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