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Expanding the Reach with Small Group Work: A Blog Series

Across the world, teachers have risen to the challenges of a global pandemic, experiencing learning curves and finding creative solutions never previously envisioned or imagined. Families also have experienced schools and learning unlike any other generations. And students have had a range of educational experiences, learning through all different models and in all different ways. 

Perhaps now more than ever, it’s important to think about the writing students are creating, as opposed to the curriculum and lessons that will be taught. Small groups can include students who are working on every kind of goal or next steps, and small groups can provide the instruction that students may not have experienced given the wide variety of lessons and platforms. 

 Many teachers are working with the same curriculum and lesson plans that they’ve used in previous years, but students, without the prerequisite skills, background information, and exposure to instruction, are unable to understand and practice many of the concepts. Our brainstorm session of topics emphasized the importance of flexibility, responsiveness, and differentiation, leading to the following posts:

  • On Monday, Stacey kicks off the series with a post about ways to structure small group planning. While small groups can be for a single lesson or objective, we can also plan a course of study over a longer period of time. 
  • Amy continues the series with a post about ways to seek for patterns, using those patterns to plan and structure small group work. Look for her post on Tuesday. 
  • On Wednesday, Beth digs into foundational skills like concepts about print, phonological awareness, phonics, and letter formation, in the primary grades. Often foundational skills lend themselves to important small group work. 
  • Shared writing is another way to do small group work, and Kathleen’s Thursday post is full of wisdom and tips about shared writing. 
  • On Friday, my post contains some quick tips about small group work, regardless of age, level, or focus area.
  • On Saturday, Betsy rounds up the blog series with the power of progressions and other reflection tools within the forum of small group instruction. 
  • As always, we’ll have an “In case you missed it” post, linking all of the ideas of the series, and Kathleen shares the ICYMI post on Monday. 

Even in the best of teaching times, a student’s work is rarely completely one level since there are so many elements that constitute effective writing, and it’s also rare for the same sequence of lessons to meet the learning opportunities of all students. With such variation and discrepancies, small group instruction is more critical than ever in order to address and nurture the range of learners in classrooms. We hope that this blog series inspires you to lean into small group instruction with intention and confidence! 

Giveaway Info:

  • Many thanks to Candlewick Press who is sponsoring a giveaway of ten books. TWO readers will receive FIVE of these books each. The books are A Child of Books, Grow: Secrets of Our DNA, Hoop Kings 2: New Royalty, How to Have a Birthday, If You Take Away the Otter, Mi Casa Is My Home, Rain Before Rainbows, The Barn, The Stars Just Up the Street, and Walrus Song.
  • For a chance to win these five books, please leave a comment on any of this blog series’ posts by Sun., 10/31 at 6:00 a.m. EDT. Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski will use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names she will announce at the bottom of an ICYMI Post on Monday, 11/1.
    • NOTE: You must have a U.S. mailing address to enter this giveaway. Please be sure to leave a valid email address when you post your comment so Kathleen can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, our contact at Candlewick will send five picture books to each of our winners. 
  • If you are the winner of the books, Kathleen will email you with the subject line of TWO WRITING TEACHERS – SMALL GROUPS. Please respond to her email with your mailing address within five days of receipt. Unfortunately, a new winner will be chosen if a response isn’t received within five days of the giveaway announcement.

Melanie Meehan View All

I am the Writing and Social Studies Coordinator in Simsbury, CT, and I love what I do. I get to write and inspire others to write! Additionally, I am the mom to four fabulous daughters and the wife of a great husband.

17 thoughts on “Expanding the Reach with Small Group Work: A Blog Series Leave a comment

  1. Perfect timing for this series. Thank you! We are all feeling the deficits our students entered with this year. Small group instruction was minimal over the past year and a half. The reality is we have to shift the focus of all three tiers this year. Meet the students where they are at and adjust.

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  2. Love this series! Students are at different levels of writing just as reading and need to be taught where they are currently. Can’t wait to share.

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  3. This is the work of our educators as well. During the last school year, due to distancing requirements because of COVID, teachers stopped small group work and we need to support teachers to return to planning for small group work. This is especially critical because of the wide range of skills teachers are seeing in their classrooms as a result of the breaks in their learning over the past year and half.

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  4. My grade level partners and I were just talking about this very topic. As our students are returning from the past two years of “Covid Central” and teachers are trying to adjust a curriculum that was built before the pandemic, I am eager to read the suggestions offered and then share them with my peers.

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  5. I am excited about this series about small group instruction for writing! This is definitely an area of need for the teachers that I work with.

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  6. I’m so excited for this series! Once again the TWT team will provide an incredible resource for all students and their teachers. THANK YOU!

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