Homeschooling with 5 little ones (yes....#5 was born last week!) is kind of like working with small groups all day long. There are a few things we work on together, but for the most part, my 3 that are in school are at such different levels that I work with them individually.
There have already been so many great posts about effective small group instruction this last week on our blog, so I just have one simple tip to share: set expectations!
I think as with most things in the classroom, setting expectations can be the make or break of successful small group instruction. You must be clear about the purpose of small groups, and let the students know what is expected of them when they are in the small group, and when they are not.
I love this poster from Lyndsey from A Year of Many Firsts which shows students how to be a 4 star active participant in a small group discussion. You can get it free HERE along with other helpful resources for small groups.
This lets the students know exactly what it should look like for them to be successful during your small group time. Of course there are different expectations for those students who are doing other work while you are with a small group.
Some of these might be:
**Move to the next activity as soon as you are finished
**Do not disturb the teacher unless there is an emergency
I think it's important to make sure they know that you are not just trying to keep them busy until it's their turn to be in small group, but that this is a purposeful time for them to read, practice skills, or do whatever it is that you have set up during that time.
Having your expectations posted somewhere in the room, and reminding students of them often is a great way to reduce frustrations for yourself and your students!
And just to leave you with a smile today, here is our sweet little treasure, Caleb, born February 16!