- Rufus M. Hitch Elementary School
- Text: Teaching Reading in Small Groups: Differentiated Instruction for Building Strategic, Independent Readers by Jennifer Serravallo
- Group Members: Amanda Paso, Study Group Leaders; Lily Kanefield, Joanne Schmidt, Jane Park, Katie Bremner
- Goal: To develop schedules and lesson plan structure to implement during small group reading instruction and individual conferencing.
This year, the Hitch study group consisted of five members of the intermediate department. Our teaching content ranged from self-contained to special education inclusion teachers. Our range of expertise led this group to be extremely diverse in our knowledge and contribution to this study and our learning. Over the course of last summer, we began to brainstorm an area all five members wished to grow in. Small group and guided reading was the area that we immediately jumped too. We knew that each teacher could benefit from this study and implementing it into our classrooms would be a great way to see similarities and differences between each grade and group of students.
To begin our study, our goal was focused around the development of guided reading groups. This included learning about how to set up a schedule of when to see groups, how to group students, and what type of content to cover in the different types of groups. When we first began our study group we did not have a goal because we wanted to develop one that would be directly supported by our professional text (Teaching Reading in Small Groups by Jennifer Serravallo). As we read the first chapter and held our second meeting, we decided that our goal would be to develop schedules and lesson plan structure to implement during small group reading instruction and individual conferencing. This goal held true to the remaining meetings and group sessions that were held.
Our professional text was extremely effective to help us reach our goal. There were specific chapters that built on each of the areas our group had questions about. We read a chapter on how to group students based on many examples of data and recording keeping at the beginning of the year, a chapter about various ways to group students, and several chapters about what to teach and a structure that groups could follow. As we read each chapter, the following month, we took that information and implemented those strategies read about in the text within each of our classrooms. The way in which we implemented these strategies would vary based on the group of students that we would work with, but ultimately, we found a way to “Hitch-ify” and make our learning fit with our curriculum and our students.
At the end of the month as we discussed what happened in our groups, it was a great learning opportunity to fix the elements of our groups that each member felt was or wasn’t working with their class. As we read the text and held our study sessions, our entire school staff was also working with a literacy coach on implementing small groups and bettering our instruction
through the Lucy Calkins curriculum. Our group was able to use the information that we were learning and implementing through the study group to discuss with our coach and pass along to the rest of the staff. With the PDF resources that our group created, the entire staff will have a starting point for next school year to better implement small groups and support our overall reading curriculum as a school.