Small Groups and WHY?

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Today I have to highlight another of Fran’s Blog posts because it is just too good!  In it she talks about the importance of having SMART small groups.

Here are the highlights:

  • Small groups are deliberate and planned work that sustains and even lifts up students so they can do the necessary work. 
  • There should be no set number of minutes that should be spent because the number of minutes spent in group work is not always the best use of time for students.
  • Any ten minutes of group work could be ruled productive if students leave able to do work better yet. 
  • Group work is not all about the teacher talking during the entire session either. 
  • Group work is not about the scheduled 30 minutes time on the lesson plan.

WHY does it matter?

  • The time that a teacher uses for “talking” takes away from student independent time.
  • The time that a teacher uses for “management” takes away from student working time.
  • The time that a teacher does not use for “reading” takes away from student working time.
  • Small group time could be a waste of time if it does not lead to additional reading/writing volume by the students.
  • Students will not achieve “sky-high” writing without writing and reading TONS!
  • teachers need to continue to model the many iterations that could show how group work is a short, focused work time for students!

Small group time should be flexible in both the timing and the members of groups.  Too often we meet with groups just because someone outside the classroom said we must.  The next book that I plan on purchasing to help me think more about this topic is this one:

51bMdyu+XLL  Has anyone else read this?  What did you think?

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