Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Guided Reading: What's in your Drawer, Group 3?

Happy Tuesday!  I know you're probably heading to bed early the next two nights to prepare for what is usually the longest school day of the year... HALLOWEEN!  We are partying tomorrow instead because it's a half day.  On Halloween, it will be business as usual... with a Halloween flippy book thrown in for morning work!

I often get e-mails about running guided reading and how it works, so I'm going to be sharing over the next few weeks how it works for me.  While I run my reading groups, the other kids are doing Daily Five activities.  I shared how I'm doing rotations right now last week and it's working SO well for us!

I run five groups in my room.  Each group has between four and six students, depending on the needs of the students... I run them as leveled groups.  We all work on the same skills {generally} but with texts appropriate to each group's level.

I have always organized my guided reading materials in Sterlite drawers:

I like this organization.  It's right by my table, the kids can access things they need that are in the drawers (sometimes they have assignments and need stuff from the drawers or two turn stuff in to the drawers... but we'll get to that another week!), and it's just a quick way to organize!

Each drawer has a folder inside.  The folders are red, orange, yellow, green, and blue- like the labels on the drawers! 

Inside the folder are two pockets.  Since I teach ELA to two classes, the left side is for my morning group and the right side is for my group.  On the pocket is a list of the students in each group and then I can put necessary reading passages, materials, etc... in the pocket.

I use sticky notes on my anchor charts so I can re-use them, so the sticky notes from our previous session are in the pocket in this picture.

I use red for the AM class and blue for my class.

I'm going to share Group 3 this week.  Group 3 is an on-level group of 3rd graders.

All groups are working on cause and effect this week (we're also using THESE passages to practice!).  At the start of our session this afternoon, we figured out where the sticky notes from last time we met went on the anchor chart.  I did most of the sticky note writing last time because I was introducing the concept of cause and effect but often the kids fill out the sticky notes, which they LOVE and it's a huge motivator for them to stay engaged in our discussion and reading.

We were reading a text about sea life and, as we found cause and effect relationships in the text, I added them to our anchor chart on sticky notes.

So today we continued where we left off...

We figured out where the sticky notes needed to be on the chart then continued reading our text.  This week I'm using some small group nonfiction comprehension folders from Lakeshore Learning for this group.  I have the 1/2 and 3/4 set and LOVE them!

So, group 3 is reading about ocean life and finding cause and effect relationships in the text.  You can see on my chart above that there are three causes and four effects.  That's because today I told them the fourth effect and they had to read the section about sea otters and figure out the cause of the given effect.

They had to write the cause on their table mat:

Which they L-O-V-E!  (Click here to find these table stickers on Amazon!)

They got to use Scentos dry erase markers to write... which always jazzes them up!

After the students revealed what they had written {and they were all correct!}, one of the kiddos filled out the cause on a sticky note and we added it to the chart.

At the end of the session, I peeled the stickies off and put them in this group's folder for when I see them again later this week.

And here's my small group table all picked up at the end of the day... ready to go for next time!

Next week (I hope!) we can peek inside another group's drawer and see what they're working on!


  1. i just love your blog and this is a great activity!

  2. Are your drawer labels anywhere for download or sale?


  3. Such a great post! I love seeing how other teachers do their guided reading groups! And those nonfiction folders look great!! Totally checking them out at Lakeshore!! I would love to see how you organize all your materials that you aren't currently using... I am constantly working on that! :)

  4. thanks for that tip Christina! I have a wire drawer system that I hold the books in, but I really like that idea. It is very organized and we both know that organization is the name of the game when making the best use of time in small groups!! love it! thanks for sharing.


  5. What a great system! I also teach two groups, one with 23 and one with 24. I have help with my lowest group, so three days a week I am only teaching 6 for one hour. Can't wait to see next week's idea. I am working on main idea and details this week with nonfiction texts.

  6. I love the organization! Makes me so excited to "fix" the piles on my desk! From what I can see of your room, it looks awesome!

  7. Thanks for this fantastic explanation, Christina! I love having a peek into your classroom. I have a couple of heavy questions for you: How do you decide the scope and sequence of your guided reading group topics? How do you collect grades for your gradebook in reading? That is, what do you take grades on?

    BTW, I teach 3rd in Michigan, too! :)

    1. Hi Katy- Our scope and sequence is something the other 3rd grade ELA teacher and I worked on. We're loosely doing RL 1-3 and RI 1-3 the 1st marking period, RI 4-6 and RL 4-6 the 2nd MP, and RL 7-9 and RI 7-9 the 3rd MP. Then we're using the 4th MP to re-teach and re-assess.

      For grades, we give pre and post-tests for each group of standards. We also give really quick assessments on Fridays. We give a grammar assessment {you can find that HERE on TpT) and a quick assessment for the reading skill we've been working on. I'm working on a pack just like the grammar snapshots for comprehension skills right now and hope to have that up soon! We don't take grades during our guided reading time. That's just for practice! :)

      Where in MI are you?

      Thanks for the questions! :)

    2. Thanks, Christina! I teach at a private school in Oakland County. Oakland County researches and creates these unit plans for Reading and Writing Workshop. They're not perfect, but some of the books they use remind me of what I read that you use in your classroom. Our formerly-traditional school has only recently switched over from the basal (before I arrived) and we're looking to optimize our report cards for CCSS. I really appreciate the opportunity to learn how you do things in Centreville!

    3. P.S. Here's a link to the FREE unit plans from Oakland County Schools!



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