Since we are in full-blown back to school mode, I wanted to highlight something that has really saved my independent reading group station. Maybe you have a killer routine that works for you? Maybe you already use this one? Dunno??!! However, just in case you don’t roll with a system you dig all that much, I wanted to share a little something that works for me. Um . . . it’s FOLDERS. Who knew something so simple could make a world of difference??
Alright, so here is the skinny on this one. About 6 years back, I was frustrated with my independent center rotation. I would stock one of the dreaded “all alone” reading centers with a review worksheet of some sort . . . a little paper/pencil practice if you will. At this time, this independent work was in a collective bin. When groups arrived at that station, they pulled a sheet out of the stack, worked, and turned in what they had completed when the timer sounded (in the same bin). Here are just a few reasons that I wanted to pull my hair out doing it this way. . .
- When my students didn’t finish their center worksheet, it made for a huge paper mess that I had to manage . . . BLARG! It made holding kids accountable extra difficult.
- Some kids finished in no time at all and I had to create additional center follow-up activities.
- I had to do most of the filing as I like to correct each piece of work that a child touches.
- It was hard to tell who wasn’t working up to their potential.
- Differentiation was difficult in a communal bin — kids easily see what everyone is assigned and it becomes a hot mess.
- I felt like I wasn’t challenging the gifted babes enough.
Then, to make these files easily assessable to the kiddos, I organized them in a stacking tray by group color (see the matching dots . . . yeah buddy).
|A comprehension quickie for my top group.
Starred with a silly note on the top.
Stapled to other completed papers and ready to file!
|Mid-level group working on digraphs.
This kiddo went above and beyond.
I wrote a fun little note and gave him some Super Student Bucks!