Recent longitudinal studies have shown that students who in early years perform as strong writers do not remain strong writers into middle school. Rather, they slip to the middle of the pack- or worse, they become unmotivated to write. Why is that? And what can we do about it?
Small group instruction allows for efficiency and strategy sessions with more than one student. Allowing students to lead these groups and sessions gives purpose and opportunity to not only further the understandings of the leader but impacts your community of writers as they grow.
For many middle school teachers, planning and teaching small groups in writing workshop feels a little like the Rubik’s Cube; like this famous puzzle, there is a sense that small groups are doable (somehow, maybe?), yet the orchestration of all the many parts can make them feel overwhelming and perhaps even insurmountable. If you feel this way, know that you are not alone.
The fact is, just like athletes that show up to the first day of practice, writers bring different skill sets. Some arrive to middle school not knowing where to put a period, while others already know how paint vivid pictures with words that knock our socks off. How do we plan for such a wide variety of writers?
Our blog series on writing workshop fundamentals continues through the weekend. Take a look at how you can benefit from incorporating small groups into your daily writing workshop routine.
Over the years, my chartbook has evolved. Here are some of the latest pages.
Whenever I pull a small group for a lesson, there are some important guidelines I try to remember and follow.
Small group instruction is a powerful way to reach and teach more students in your classroom!
A strong active engagement, and a routine for informally assessing student work during the minilesson can give you the tools you need to be sure that no student leaves the meeting area completely confused.