We get lots of questions about our classroom design. Specifically, the how and why of each area of the classroom. Today we’re doing to show you our small group instruction area and give you some specifics on why we set up our small group instruction area the way we do and how it works.
Our small group area is where we do small group reading, small group phonics, and small group math lessons. This is also where we do one on one work, one on one assessment with ESGI, and it always becomes the hangout spot for my kids as they arrived in the morning.
Classroom Design: Small-Group Area
The placement of our small group area is vital because of the design of our classroom. Our classroom is a square shape which is nice. However, we do have this hallway that leads to our classroom door. This year we actually moved our small group table to a different spot in the room. I was nervous because it limits my view of the door, but the amount of space that was freed up by this move is worth it. The first picture is the old placement of the table. The second picture is the current location of the kidney table.
Small-Group Area: How And Why
Let’s discuss our whole group area specifics!
We use a kidney table for our small group area. The only thing about this particular table that I’m not fond of is that it’s wide so it is awkward/uncomfortable to lean over to help the kids.
Let’s start with organization. This year one of my goals for small group instruction was organization. I needed to be more organized for small groups because I was spending too much time looking for materials/resources that it was taking away from instruction. The rainbow drawers behind the table have helped tremendously. We have 2 sets of drawers: one is for small group materials and the other is for my daily materials. The drawers are labeled Monday-Friday and this is where we keep the stuff we need for each day’s lessons and activities.
You can see that the drawers are labeled. There are drawers for reading materials (decodable texts, etc), math materials (counters, etc), writing supplies, and dry erase supplies. Now when we’re doing small groups I can just grab the drawer I need and keep going. No more looking all over for stuff.
We also have some smaller rainbow drawers. These are for supplies such as golf pencils, rubber bands, paper clips, etc. (These are from Michaels).
Also in this area are our small group toolkits. These are individual boxes for the kids to use during small groups. Again, this is to keep things moving efficiently. Everything a student might need for a lesson can be found in the box. No more digging or running to get supplies. It’s all right there!
We also keep our planning materials in this area. There is a binder (a REAL LEGIT TRAPPER KEEPER, ya’ll!) that has my whole group lesson plans, small group lesson plans, anecdotal notes, data, and groupings. I keep it all in one place so it’s ready to go for meetings and for my own personal planning. Again, efficiency. Everything I would need to plan groups or make groups is in that binder!
Small-Group Area Seating
Let’s talk about our seating at the small group table. In the pictures, you see some small red chairs. We used those for years, until this year when we replaced them with these drafting stools.
Now, the height was a bit much for the table, so we simply used bed risers to rise our small group table up. This worked beautifully because now the table is at a better height for me and the kids. The stools twist so the kids can even get some wiggles out if needed! (CLICK THE IMAGE TO GET THEM ON AMAZON!)
As for teacher seating, I ditched the traditional office chair for a doctor stool! After seeing a doctor use one in the emergency room I realized it would be a great teacher stool. And it really forces me to work on my posture! Plus, I can zoom all over the classroom on that thing if I need to (which came in handy after my knee surgery!)
Finally, there are two management tools in our small group area: the stoplight and our interruptions poster! The stoplight is a lamp without a shade and a red light bulb. When the red light is on it means STOP and you can’t interrupt Mr. Greg. The interruptions poster helps them remember the rules!
If you need some tools to make your small groups more efficient and effective, grab our small group tools bundle! You’ll get materials for math and reading groups!
For more information on our classroom, check out these posts:
For resources mentioned in this post, check out these creations:
Join Our Newsletter
Subscribe to get our latest content by email.