Small Groups, Big Results

July 12 and 19, 2022



July 12 and 19, 2022

School Teacher


9:00 am - 11:00 am Central Time

Empty Classroom

Session Occurs on Zoom





Recorded Access Until October 31, 2022

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In this 2-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 nudges us to look 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 -- whether you are a teacher, specialist, instructional coach or administrator, 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. 

Session Details

Teacher and Pupil

Topic 1

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 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.

Image by CDC

Topic 3

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.

Image by CDC

Topic 2

Kidwatching 2.0:  Using In-the-Moment Data to Pivot into 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 that differentiate and tailor instruction to meet students’ curiosities, passions, habits, and needs.

Image by CDC

Topic 4

Curating Texts for Planning:  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.  And, as a bonus, you’ll leave with some tools and templates that make planning simpler, flexible, and more responsive.


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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.