About to start our 6th week of school, my first-grade friends are gaining more independence each day. As I have started full-blown guided reading groups, I'm trying to maximize the time I can spend with my budding readers. Therefore, I try not leave the guided reading table when I'm with a group. Still, I struggle with not immediately 'correcting' or reminding friends working throughout the room when I see things that aren't 'just-right.'
To combat this 'immediately' react feeling, I have shifted into a more proactive mindset using plastic pockets from Amazon. I put a white sheet of paper in the sleeve (just to create a blank background), draw a plus sign and a delta (to stay with our school's plus and delta reflection routine), and keep a dry-erase marker by my side.
As I am teaching and reading with students, I 'take notes' on the happenings of the classroom. When I see great successes (like a friend successfully logging onto Lexia Reading - woohoo) that need to be celebrated, I make sure to include them on my sleeve. When I see that friends are struggling pushing the headphones all the way into the iPod Touches (making the audio spread throughout the classroom), I record it as a delta - something we want to change.
As a class we take 3-4 minutes at the end of our reading block, to reflect on our out time working to become better readers and writers. We talk about our pluses (celebrating awesome things!) and talk about deltas (things we want to change next time).
Keeping a list gives me a way to remember great things, as well as, identify habits I need to re-teach over the next few days. I might teach whole-group, one-on-one, or in small groups...it really depends on the skill. Some deltas become just a verbal reminder to students at the end of our work-session, while others might require 2-3 minutes practice sessions over the course of a a few days.
One tip when using this technique in the classroom: Since your list is sitting out on the teacher table where other students can see, always make sure to use student initials. Often times I write things I need to work on with a specific student and don't want other friends knowing about it. Easy fix? Use initials! :)
Since I've started keeping notes during small groups, I've been able to tweak and fine-tune so many things about our reading block. Each day our routine is becoming smoother and we are gaining independence. *Hopefully* we'll be ready for a full Daily 5 release soon!
How do you build independence during your reading and math blocks? What keeps you from leaving your guided reading table? I would LOVE to hear your ideas. :)