This past week left me craving to work with my kids in their small groups. I'm often pulled to work with other grade levels when they take benchmark tests (which is a compliment), but that leaves a substitute in my classroom. Since guided reading is a rather difficult and complicated process I usually leave substitutes with lessons and activities that can be taught to the whole class. So, I'm really looking forward to working with my small groups again this week.

Today we had a staff development day. We did a few different sessions of training today, but one in particular left me with a new idea for helping my students with their vocabulary. One of the skills in guided reading is word work. Word work involves going over sight words and working with those words. Since I teach 3rd grade, most of my students are beyond this stage and ready to just read. Instead of working on sight words, we work on vocabulary words for the story that they will be reading. The focus of the session today was an interactive word wall. So rather than putting all of the words on the wall, write them on index cards so that the students can use them and refer to them on their own. Since each group would have a different set of words, this would work perfectly. Then we will be able to pull them out and review them in vocabulary games in other small group sessions.

Even though I know this will take a lot of my group time, I'm confident that this will be a good use of time for my students. Vocabulary is a huge issue for my students and I've been struggling with a way to incorporate it into our reading lessons since each group has a different set of words based on their text. I'm really excited to see how this new emphasis on vocabulary will affect my students in the upcoming weeks.
Dr Maushak

THis sounds like a good use of time. I like working with small groups, allows you to address different issues with each group depending on their needs. I understand your logic with the substitute. You never know what skills the sub has so very clear instructions are a big help to make sure that time isn't wasted.
I need to take some time and just see what you have stored on this site now.


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    Meet Marti

    Marti is 3rd grade ELA, Reading, and Social Studies teacher at Willow Bend Elementary. She has been in education for the past 15 years. In addition to teaching 3rd grade, Marti has also taught 4th grade and has been the instructional technology specialist at her campus. This is her first year to use the guided reading method in her classroom.


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