1. Practice! It is so very important to practice transitions and group activities, especially in kindergarten!! I spend the first month of school with practice stations (playdough mats, stamps, etch-a-sketch) to get my kiddos used to working in small groups and to practice the appropriate noise level. This is also CRUCIAL in getting transitions to be quick and quiet. This year, my kiddos were AMAZING and loved the practice. I think this truly helped to create an environment and expectations of what guided reading time should look and sound like. My students know they need to be accountable for the work that they are doing and that it isn't playtime. Below is a picture of my little rays during the first week of practice! They would work for increasing periods of time to build up their stamina!
2. Plans! After attending the IL ASCD Kindergarten Conference two years in a row and listening to Deanna Jump talk about how she does guided reading, I was sold! I bought her Guided Reading 101 Strategies and Word Work as well as her Guided Reading Unit Two. These two products have been SO amazing to use with my kiddos. The strategies and materials provide my little rays with hands-on learning. There are so many different ways to setting up guided reading, so find what works best for you!! As a second year teacher just starting guided reading, I needed a little guidance on how to begin so this product was extremely beneficial!
One of the strategies that two of my groups are working on is stretching their sounds. We use "Stretchy Snake" to remember to pull these words apart by their sounds as seen below.
3. Manipulatives! We all know that manipulatives allow for students to grasp concepts at a concrete level, and in order to be able to reach the higher levels of abstract thinking, they have to understand the concept on a concrete level. Some of my kiddos never move on from concrete, and some grasp it rather quickly and are ready. Manipulatives also help make the learning more exciting or engaging for students. Whether it is a reading wands or fingers to help track or magnetic wands to help blend words, they make the experience and the skills easier to learn and understand.
4. Set schedules! I have revamped my 'schedule' so many times trying to find one that works best. I have done rotating each day to different groups, but consistency was lacking! I finally sat down and scheduled my groups to meet with on specific days. Not only was this easier for me to keep track, but my student's were way more accountable and excited for their groups because they knew "Monday is our day!". I love that my students get to meet with me the amount of times they are supposed to and I am help even more accountable to meet with the groups as needed :)
Molly - Miss K's Little Rays