It can be quite challenging to give all of your students the differentiated, individualized attention they need.
For many special educators, classroom rosters may span three different grades, or four different levels of students with moderate to severe disabilities. Does this sound like you?
Let’s navigate how you can use small group instruction to improve your classroom management, individualized learning opportunities, differentiated instruction, and even data collection!
The options are endless when it comes to how small group instruction can be organized. Many teachers find it helpful to have semi-consistent groups based on student commonalities. This allows for differentiation and individualization between groups.
Commonalities that may determine how you structure your small groups can include:
By rotating small groups every 15-20 minutes, you can use small group instruction time to your advantage. Here’s how:
When you’re working with a smaller number of students at a time, classroom management and data collection is simpler.
When it comes to classroom management, students can have the opportunity to earn extra points or tickets for prosocial behavior when they are in a small group. This could be listening to others, helping friends or raising their hand. You and your paraprofessionals can keep an eye out for prosocial behaviors within the set groups.
For data collection in a small group, you can give students their own data collection sheet. You can provide your students with color-specific stickers to place on the sheet as you work through group time. If your students get a question correct, they can give themselves a green sticker, and if their answer is incorrect, they can utilize an orange sticker for example.
While your students are working independently, you can provide them with a laminated self-management checklist and a dry erase marker. Put simple steps that they have mastered on this checklist and have them take data on whether or not they are able to put this into an independent routine.
For example, have your students place a check mark next to each step as they complete it:
Small group instruction is an effective option to help further differentiate instruction and focus on individualized learning opportunities for students.