Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Purposeful Small Group Seating

How much thought goes into your small group seating arrangement? For many years, my method was a blend of a game of musical chairs and "You must think I have lost my ever lovin' mind if you think that you two can sit next to each other!" Then, I heard something that sounded trivial at a Professional Development Seminar, and it ending up being quite helpful! ( I know! I can hardly believe it myself! I got something useful out of a PL Day! I will try to refrain from mentioning that it is one of only two things that were helpful the entire day. Oops! I think it may have slipped out anyway! Hee hee!)

Brace yourself! Here it is! Get ready...........

Research has shown that in a small group setting teachers spend the vast majority of their time focusing their attention and instruction on the students seated directly in front of them. (See?!? Sounds like earth shattering news, right?)  However, it truly can make a difference! I even made you a cute visual aid with the help of some new clip art from the talented Nikki at Melonheadz. 


We all know that there are levels within levels in small group instruction.  So, here is what my assistant and I do. We seat the students most in need of help directly in front of us. Students who need less help than them are seated in the middle. Students who require the least amount of help are seated directly to the left and right of the teacher. Previously, I would have seated the ones most in need of help on either side of me thinking that I would have better access to them and their work. After two years of teaching almost exclusively in small groups, I can tell you that I was wrong!  I am more mindful of my attention now and it most certainly is projected forward rather than to the side. 

I hope that this little tip will be helpful to you! So, how do you seat your students in a small group setting?

10 comments:

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    1. Thanks so much, Katie! Your comment made my day!

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  2. This is my second year teaching and the 1st in 2nd grade. I am teaching almost all of my reading in small groups and this is so important to know. I will be changing who sits where now in my groups for sure! Would never have thought that in front of you is better than right next to you.

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    1. Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! I have been teaching for 17 years and I never thought to move my students either! I hope you notice a difference once you try it!

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  3. I'm having a book study on Debbie Diller's "Making the Most of Small Groups" this summer and would LOVE to include your post on small group seating on my resource page. Would you mind? I will link back to your blog and include your blog button as well. If you'd like to join in the discussion, that would be great as well! I never thought of the "how" I seated the kids at my table...and I'm one of those people who thinks I spend more time with the kids beside me...now I'm going to have to see how you're idea works...Love the graphic as well!

    Mrs. Samuelson's Swamp Frogs

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    1. Thanks, Heidi! I am so flattered that you would like to include my post. You are certainly welcome to do so! I will also happily join in on the discussion. Have a great day!

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  4. I love this! I never would have thought of this! I usually let the kids pick their own seat when they come back to my table but this makes sense! And I like the cute picture :)

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  5. Which graphic set did the clipart come from? I would love to use it on my schedule board next year!

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  6. Which graphic set did the clipart come from? I would love to use it on my schedule board next year!

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    1. Here is the link to the set that I used to create the graphic:
      https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Melonheadz-Freebielicious-Reading-1175977
      Have a great day! Jenn

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