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What Are You Grouping For?, Grades 3-8
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What Are You Grouping For?, Grades 3-8
How to Guide Small Groups Based on Readers - Not the Book

Foreword by Mary Howard



August 2018 | 352 pages | Corwin

Bring out daring readers with dynamic small groups!

Like many educators in intermediate classrooms across the country, you may be using guided reading principles to teach reading. Whether you’re following targeted reading levels or sticking with your school’s established routines, chances are that guided reading has become synonymous with small group reading for you and your students. But . . . are your students getting the most out of small groups? Are readers of all ability levels experiencing the dynamic learning that can occur in small groups? Do you feel confident that the way you’re grouping kids is based on their wants and needs?

Intermediate grade readers don’t need to be guided as much as they need to be engaged—and authors Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan have solutions for doing just that using small groups. What Are You Grouping For? offers the practical tools, classroom examples, and actionable steps essential for starting, sustaining, and mastering the management of small groups. This book explains the five teacher moves that work together to support students’ reading independence through small group learning—kidwatching, pivoting, assessing, curating, and planning—and provides examples to guide you and your students toward success. 

From must-have beginning-of-the-year strategies to step-by-step advice for implementation, this guide breaks down the processes that support small groups and help create effective instructional reading programs. Based on more than 45 years of combined experience in the classroom, this resource will empower you with tools to ensure that your readers are doing the reading, thinking, and doing—not you

 

 
Foreword by Mary Howard
 
Acknowledgments
 
Preface
 
CHAPTER 1. A New Way of Thinking About Small Group Learning Experiences (because being up close to students is what drives discovery)
Small Group Instruction Redefined  
The Five Teacher Moves  
Combating the Challenges So You Can Do the Five Moves  
One Last Thing  
 
CHAPTER 2. The Launch (because who doesn’t need beginning-of-the-year strategies)
Small Groups Defined  
Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer  
Beliefs  
Ideas for the First Days of School  
Listening In and Joining In  
A Few Weeks Into the School Year  
One Last Thing  
 
CHAPTER 3. Scheduling (because schedules are key for the launch and beyond)
Reading Workshop: Daily Plans for Groups  
Getting Started, Quick Groups  
Groups for First Days/Weeks of School  
Groups That Might Meet Across the Year  
Small Group Foundational Q&A  
One Last Thing  
 
CHAPTER 4. Kidwatching 2.0 (because it’s all about orient, notice, take stock, and inquire)
Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer  
Beliefs  
Our Kidwatching 2.0 Protocol  
Tips for Getting Started  
Using Your Notes to Form Small Groups  
Four-Step Process for Going From Kidwatching to Small Group  
Example of Small Group Work Based on Kidwatching Data  
One Last Thing  
 
CHAPTER 5. Pivoting Into Flexible Groups (because it’s the teacher moves that keep readers moving forward)
Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer  
Beliefs  
How This Chapter Is Organized  
The List of Reasons for Pivoting  
The Teacher’s Role  
Types of Groups to Pivot Into and Out Of  
Timing Is Everything: More About the Duration of Groups  
Language for Joining In  
Troubleshooting  
One Last Thing  
 
CHAPTER 6. Assessing Student Work (because looking at our readers’ work lifts their strategies, skills, and thinking)
Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer  
Beliefs  
Assessing With Learner-Centered Benchmarks  
What to Look At  
How to Sort Student Work  
Planning a Focus for Instruction and Putting It Into Action  
More Examples of How to Use Work to Inform Grouping Decisions  
One Last Thing  
 
CHAPTER 7. Curating (because selecting the right texts inspires readers to be connoisseurs)
Two Essential Questions This Chapter Helps You Answer  
Beliefs  
Teachers and Students as Curators  
Teachers as Curators  
Steps for Curating  
Zooming In on Step 2: Curate and Select  
Zooming In on Step 3: Decide  
Steps 4–7: Spark, Read and Construct Meaning, and Reflect  
Students as Curators  
Exemplars of Students as Curators  
One Last Thing  
 
CHAPTER 8. Unit Planning (because small groups are best anchored in a harbor of big ideas)
Two Essential Questions Chapters Eight and Nine Help You Answer  
Beliefs  
Planning: The Reality Show  
Six Surefire Steps  
One Last Thing  
 
CHAPTER 9. Weekly and Daily Planning (because weekly and daily plans chart the course for small group experiences)
Creating a Calendar for Weekly and Daily Lesson Planning  
Zooming In on Step 5: Make Plans for Small Group Learning Opportunities  
Some Popular, Proven Models to Guide You  
Barry’s Planning Process for Hosting Two Groups  
Julie’s One-Week Plan of Lessons for Launching a Unit  
Student-Driven Planning  
Putting It Into Practice: Examples From Our Classrooms  
One Last Thing  
 
Conclusion
 
Appendix: Ready-to-Copy Teacher and Student Reflection/Planning Pages
 
References and Further Reading
 
Index
 
About the Authors

“A few years back, after visiting Barry Hoonan’s classroom and experiencing his teaching and his students’ learning, I looked squarely into his reflective eyes and said, ‘Please write a book about what I just saw.’ Educators, welcome to Barry and Julie’s classrooms. Their most important thinking and learning has been poured into this book for us, the virtual visitors to their rooms. They invite us into their joy-filled classrooms, engaging us as their colleagues. We learn alongside them by listening in to their conversations with their students, and kidwatch by joining in their thinking and discovering students’ next steps. We lean into their questions and inquiry as the authors share their reverence for teaching, respect of all students, and above all, how we are doing this together because ‘exquisite things that happen when we are inquisitive together.’”

Gail Boushey
Co-Author of The Daily 5: Fostering Literacy Independence in the Elementary Grades and Co-Founder of The Daily Café

“ This book is a fresh reminder that the best teaching is responsive—that kids are much more likely to flourish when they have a teacher whose primary focus is on teaching students rather than on teaching stuff. Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan effectively argue that the one of the best ways to be responsive to your students is through small-group learning experiences, and the five teacher moves they outline in this book—kidwatching, pivoting, assessing, curating, and planning—are moves that should be woven through all K–12 classrooms. I highly recommend this book.”

Kelly Gallagher
Teacher and Author of Readicide: How Schools Are Killing Reading and What You Can Do About It and Write Like This

“ In this nimble and invigorating profile of small group settings, Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan offer practical tools and actionable steps that lift small group instruction from a static focus on reading levels to one of setting learning in motion. They outline five critical teacher moves—kidwatching, pivoting, assessing, curating, and planning—that work together to help teachers take a flexible stance while elevating learner responsibility.”

Linda Hoyt
Author of Revisit, Reflect, Retell: Time-Tested Strategies for Teaching Reading Comprehension

“ The authors reframe, redefine, and refresh the notion of small group reading instruction. In doing so, they remind us that small group instruction is not only for our ‘struggling’ students, but rather that it’s about leaning in and meeting all students where they are so that we can move them forward. This gem of a book includes strategies for engaging students as readers, encouraging voluminous reading, and finding joy in our reading instruction. It’s a must-read for any elementary teacher of reading.”

Diane Sweeney
Author of Student-Centered Coaching: The Moves

“ Wherever I go, teachers ask me about small group instruction and how to do it. At last, there is book with systems and structures that make small group instruction manageable and meaningful. Julie Wright and Barry Hoonan provide lots of examples to show how to honor and meet the individual needs of students.”

Cris Tovani
Teacher, Author of I Read It, But I Don’t Get It and Do I Really Have to Teach Reading?, and Instructional Coach

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