We get lots of questions about our classroom design. Specifically, the how and why of each area of the classroom. This blog post will 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 assessments 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 square in shape which is nice. However, we do have this hallway that leads to our classroom door. We have relocated our small group area three times and finally found the perfect spot for it! In the third picture you see the small group area in the back corner of the room. This means the entire classroom space is available to the kids. It’s their classroom and their space so we have worked hard to reduce our footprint.
Small-Group Area: How And Why
Let’s discuss our whole group area specifics!
We use a custom-built table for our small group area. We had this table built because we didn’t like how awkward the kidney table was. This table is perfect because it’s narrow and long so it’s easy to reach the kids and has plenty of space to work. The table is also in two separate pieces and on wheels so it’s very versatile.
- it’s 2 separate pieces so they can be arranged and moved
- on wheels for easy movement
- one piece is 2×5
- one piece is 2×6
- 31″ high
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 which was taking away from instruction. The rainbow drawers behind the table have helped tremendously. We have 3 sets of drawers: two are for small group materials and supplies 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. We use drafting stools from Amazon.
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!