Classrooms can often get overly cluttered and filled with many of the learning tools that teachers may have. Many times this makes it difficult for teachers to effectively utilize all of the resources they have because they may not be able to easily locate them when they need them, or they may simply forget about them. I believe that being organized is one of the most important qualities that a teacher should posses because there is always so much going on in schools at all times. Extra curricular activities, school assemblies, field trips, EQAO and many other things can be interruptions that disturb the regular classroom routine, therefore I think it is essential to keep the classroom space in order as much as possible. In my mind, this is setting the class up for success, in terms of both the students and the teacher.
One way to ensure that guided reading is a regular occurrence in a primary classroom is to have the materials ready and available so that it makes for an easy transition into the guided reading time, as well as out of it into another lesson or activity. Setting up is one thing that can be time consuming and deter teachers from doing something because they don’t want to waste time getting everything in order for the students. I have found some helpful strategies that teachers can employ to set themselves up for success.
- Reading Table- kidney-shaped tables or semi-circle tables work great for working with a group of students at a time. This way all of the students can clearly see you and what you are doing, and you can also do the same for them. Your attention can easily shift from one student to another without wasting anytime.
- Guided reading bins- Books for the children to choose from during silent reading time should be sorted by reading level. Having bins on shelves in the classroom can be an easy way to sort the books so that the children have easy access to them. My AT during my first practicum (grade 1/2) did this and it worked very well with her students. They all were aware of what reading level they were at and what bin to select books from. One thing I would make sure to do more of though is to add and change books in these bins more often. I noticed the students would be reading the same books everyday and I think that because the bins didn’t have a lot of books, they were limited on books they found interesting that were also appropriate reading level for them.
3. Leveled folders- These folders can be created for all of the levels that would be found in that grade, with slots for the students cards in there. That way as the year goes on the students can progress through the different levels. My AT had the students in groups of about 4-5 students and they were given a different animal as their group name. One day she would work with the elephants, another day the lions, etc. I thought this was a neat way to get the children excited about the reading groups, however these appeared to be permanent groups to me which didn’t allow for the children in the lower leveled groups to progress to a higher group. My placement there was early on in the school year however, so maybe part way through the year the teacher was going to reassess the groups and make appropriate changes.
4. Dish rack- This is one of the best creative ideas I have seen to organize any kind of material. This can be used in many ways but it is a great way to keep all the reading group folders easily accessible and can also all be stowed away quickly and neatly.
I would love to hear of more creative ways you choose to organize your classroom in other ways, not strictly related to literacy centres and resources! Comment in the space below with some new ideas that I can feature in my next blog entry discussing organization!
Connell, G. (2013, September 25). Guided Reading Organization Made Easy. Scholastic.com. Retrieved March 10, 2016, from http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/2013/09/guided-reading-organization-made-easy