Children at School

Small Groups, Big Results - Reimagining Literacy Groupings (K-12)

August 5, August 12, August 19, September 23, September 30, and October 14, 2021

August 5, August 12, August 19, September 23, September 30, and October 14

Recorded Access until December 1, 2021.

3:30 pm - 4:30 pm Central Time

All Sessions Take Place on Zoom

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In this 6-part series, we’ll work to redefine and refine small, flexible reading groups.  We’ll name common challenges and uncover do-it-tomorrow solutions.  This series includes looking closely at on-the-spot data that can be used to shift, or pivot, small groups keeping them nimble and responsive to students’ wants and needs.  We’ll explore resources and different ways to curate texts that are going to get kids jazzed up about reading, both in small groups and independently.  We’ll wrap up this series by exploring tools to put all of these small group reading moves into action through well-designed, flexible, learner-centered instructional plans.  Please join me -- you’ll leave each session learning something new as well as time to reflect on ways you might put what you just learned into action immediately.

While many of the examples in this series will have a literacy focus, the ideas are transferrable across content areas.


Julie Wright

Julie Wright is a teacher, instructional coach, and educational consultant with more than 25 years of experience in rural, suburban, and urban education settings. She co-authored What Are You Grouping For?  How to Guide Small Groups Based on Readers—Not the Book (Corwin, 2018).  Julie is best known for helping schools build capacity by matching their pedagogical beliefs to best practices.  She holds National Board Certification as well as a B.S. in education, a Master’s in language arts and reading, K-12 Reading Endorsement, and a pre-K through grade 9 principal license from The Ohio State University. In her free time, Julie loves walking, hanging out with family and friends, spending time in her garden, and she is a wanna-be beekeeper.

Session Details

August 5, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm Central

Redefining and Refining Small, Flexible Reading Groups

We’ll jump start this series by defining the who, what, when, and where of small, flexible groups.  Comparing the similarities and differences between Guided Reading and Small, Flexible Groups will create a foundation for why students in grades 2 and beyond need (and deserve!) a different approach.  Together, we will name some common challenges when hosting small groups and uncover possible solutions.  Participants will leave this first session with an overview of 5 moves that can bolster small group learning and a few, simple small group ideas that can be put into action immediately.

August 19, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm Central

Pivoting into Small Groups:  Teacher Moves that Keep Learners Moving Forward

Teachers share the similar sentiment -- they want to differentiate by tailoring instruction to meet students’ needs, but pulling off regular and consistent small group work is difficult.   This session will focus on pivoting, or switching up groups regularly, so that we can respond to students’ curiosities, passions, habits, and needs.  Participants will leave this session with several small group ideas that can be put into action tomorrow.

September 30, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm Central

Curating Texts:  Stoking Students’ Interests & Inspiring New Learning

When we inch closer to students and pay attention to what they choose to read based on their interests, we are better equipped to curate texts that are going to get kids jazzed up about reading across content areas.  This session will focus on creative ways we can curate different text types that will inspire new learning while also addressing instructional plans.  Together, we’ll explore systems, structures, rituals and routines for collecting, storing, and using the texts that have been curated for the whole class, small groups and individual students.

August 12, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm Central

Kidwatching 2.0:  Using In-the-Moment Data to Create Small, Flexible Groups

Proximity matters.  That’s because being up close to students’ work, conversations and interactions creates connectedness and gives us a front row seat for understanding what students know, can do, and what they need next.  This session will focus on collecting on-the-spot data through Kidwatching 2.0 and then using that intel to design small group learning experiences.

September 23, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm Central

Assessing Student Work to Guide Planning and Decision-Making

If we want to know what students know and are able to do so that we can plan meaningful, responsive instruction going forward, using proximity to get up close to students’ work is essential.  In this session, we will investigate new ways of getting to know students through conversations and work products.  Together, we will explore formative assessment tools and take a close look at different types of work that can guide our planning and decision-making.

October 14, 2021

3:30 - 4:30 pm Central

Planning:  A Must-Do Move to Keep Students at the Center of Unit, Weekly, and Daily Plans

The standards tell us what to teach, but we still have to do the work of putting it all together to design the how.  Thank goodness because the authors of the standards don’t know our students, but we do!  By accepting the responsibility of designing the how, we give our students opportunities to wrestle with the content, work to make meaning, and potentially create something new that can be added to the world’s knowledge.  In this session, participants will learn some tools and templates that make planning simpler, flexible, and more responsive.