Collaborative Student Groups: Get Set
My class is divided into two heterogeneous groups. Each group spends half its time working with me and the other half working independently on computers. Get Set is the strategy I use to prepare my students for the activity they will be starting. I may also give some additional directions during this time that reinforce behavioral or academic expectations. During this strategy, students who are going to the computers go to a shelf that contains their headphones and then proceed to line up near the computers. When I see that most students are set to begin, I tell them to proceed and to log in.
Struggling readers often struggle for various reasons. These can include a lack of understanding of phonics skills or not knowing the grade level sight words. This strategy shows a student undergoing a round of sight word practice by having him read a word on a card or post-it. This strategy allows the student to self assess by sorting words that he can read or can't read. By providing a visual of how many he knows versus how many he doesn't know allow him to feel successful, but at the same time understand that before his "I Can Read" pile grows larger, he will need to study all the difficult words he didn't know.
This is an excel document that is projected during shared inquiry. Each time that a student shares a comment, question, or any other type of substantial response in the group's conversation, a cell is filled to create a bar graph that is easily identifiable by students. It informs them and myself about the participation levels and motivates students to give more to a conversation.
I teach students how to read by focusing on the use of phonics rules to decode words of all types. Phonics Word-Coaching is a strategy where students refer back to the various strategies they've learned. Through the use of diacritical marks to label specific sounds in words, students take apart words and reblend them in order to read the words. The idea behind it is that eventually students will recognize these strategies without having to actually write the diacritical marks and are able to do it by sight. It's fact fluency for the reader.