Smashing Strategies - Management

 WHAT?!?!? I am linking up FOR ANOTHER AMAZING LINK-UP with some pretty fan-tab-ulous teacher bloggers to bring you SmAsHiNg StRaTeGiEs!! This is a monthly link-up that we are bringing you for helping in teaching guided reading! I hope you are as excited as I am!! Special shout-out to Allison from Partyin' with Primaries for organizing this!

If you missed the previous SmAsHiNg StRaTeGiEs products you can check the first month here, it's all about comprehension, and you can check out the second month here, it's all about blending.

Now for this month!

This month I'm blogging all about the management of guided reading. Whether you do daily 5, centers, rotations, whatever you call it, it can get sticky and some teachers are overwhelmed by the management piece of guided reading. So let me take you on a picture journey of what guided reading looks like in my classroom. 

The school where I teach is completely departmentalized from K-5. I teach literacy (reading, writing, phonics, social studies) to our lower skilled first grade students. All classes are flexibly grouped, so as students grow (or don't show growth), we move them to the appropriate placed group. I teach 2 blocks of literacy. My first block is spent with about 12 students who are reading on a kindergarten level. Much of our time together is spent in small group 5:1 instruction with an adult. I don't get to 'guided reading' as I do with my afternoon class. My afternoon class ranges from students reading on a below first grade level to right on grade level. With my afternoon students, our guided reading time is called rotations, and they LOVE it!

Rotations are just my take on daily 5. My students can't handle the independence and choice of daily 5, so I call my version rotations. When we get done writing, and we've turned in our writing folders, all students will return to the carpet and I will say, "It's time for rotations!" and they cheer :D It's quite comical the fact that they like it so much, but hey, I'll take it!! We do rotations for approximately 50-60 minutes a day.

I use my pretty backgrounds and clipart not only to create fun classroom goodies, but also to create powerpoints for our rotations!! With having 26 kids, they are grouped into 5 groups. I switch up how I group kids throughout the year as well. We do MAP testing pretty early in the year (late August), so I use that data for the first round of groupings. Now that data is only valid for 2 weeks, so once I get the beginning of the year running records (f&p) data then I will group kids based off that. Everything they do during rotations is based off the group that they are in and the skills they need to work on. Most days the students get to 3 rotations a day, that means I meet with 3 groups a day (for approx 15-20 mins). Sometimes I switch what rotations the students go to. The rotations I use are: Meet with me, Computers, Read to self, book shopping, buddy reading, seat work, scrambled sentences, kaboom, or word work.

The seat work I give students to complete is generally a review activity. Seat work is not an activity or rotation the students complete every day. They will have seat work as a rotation 1-2 days a week, depending on what other activities we have going on during the week. One of the activities my students like to complete during seat work, is my phonics flipbooks. The purpose of this seat work time is to have the students complete an activity INDEPENDENTLY while reviewing a skill. I try not to give them anything that I haven't thoroughly taught. 

Another rotation that my students have at least every other day is technology. Our grade level has access to a full MAC book cart (30 computers), but because we teach 1st graders, it's difficult to teach whole group lessons to these kiddos, so we got the ok from administration to each have 6 computers every day. So I am able to have computers be a rotation for my students every other day. Recently (in the past 2 weeks) our school purchased access to Storia from Scholastic for the remainder of this year, as well as next. The students love the website, with the familiar texts. I love the fact that I can give them access to books that are on their level! This is unfortunately not a free website, but recommend it to any school districts looking to purchase an online library for their students.  My other go to for my technology/computers rotation is Google Classroom. My students have completed different assignments in Google Classroom, such as scrambled sentences, word building, and reading and responding to leveled passages. You can find my google classroom resources ----> HERE.

My students have 2 gallon plastic bags that hold their independent reading books. Once a week my students are able to book shop during their rotation. They are responsible for putting the books back in the correct bin, as well as picking 8-10 books. My bins are labeled, as well as their plastic book baggies, they know which bins to 'shop' in by the numbers on their book baggie.

One of the rotations my students do that allow them to be more social and interact with one another is Scrambled Sentences. Scrambled sentences are multiple sentences, each sentence has a different picture as the background--that way when students come to this rotation, they first sort the pictures, knowing that the matching pictures will go together to make a complete sentence. Once they sort the pictures, they can then work on each sentence, trying to unscramble it. Sometimes I add whiteboards or paper and pencil, and have them copy their sentence, but mostly they don't have enough time for this as I have about 5-7 sentences in the bag. Students will go to this rotation once a week.

Buddy reading is another rotation that allows students to be social and read with a buddy. When buddy reading, I have the students on a designated carpet, that way they aren't invading students who are on computers, or reading to self, or doing a different rotation. When I first teach the students how to buddy read, we talk about sitting with a book in the middle, with our elbows and knees touching. As the year goes on, I don't require them to continue to sit like that, as long as they are comfortable. I have students buddy read on alternate days they they are doing scrambled sentences or kaboom.

Read to self, it's as simple as it sounds :) Students read to themselves at their desk for the entire length of the rotation. Many students in my class seemed to spend most of their time finding a spot, so I switched from being able to pick their spots, to just sitting at their desks. This allows them to get their book baggies out of their desk and begin reading right away, as soon as the rotation begins. Students are taught at the beginning of the year to make a plan with their books, put them in a stack as to which books they want to read first, next, and so on. At one point I also had a book log that students charted the books they read each day, but this because an issue as I didn't keep up with it, #teachertruth :) Read to self is the only rotation I have each group do DAILY.

Each day I meet with 3 guided reading groups. The length of the time I meet with each group is approximately 15-20 minutes per group (depending on the day). My students are broken into 5 groups. So this means that my lowest level group I meet with daily, the other 4 groups I meet with every other day. In guided reading, we practice skills on our whiteboard as sounding out words, we practicing our reading strategies skills, we work on comprehension, we read leveled texts and respond to them. What happens when students meet with me at my guided reading table is completely dependent upon what they need. My groups are fluid, meaning they change as I see what my students need. Sometimes I pull groups based on an exit ticket from the beginning of class, sometimes I pull comprehension groups, and sometimes I pull traditional guided reading groups (where we read a text and discuss). 
Make sure to hop over to the other fantastic bloggers participating in smashing strategies!


  1. Love this post!!! So helpful and practical to implement in the classroom! Love the term "book shopping!"

  2. Where do you get your sentences for the scrambled sentence rotation? Love that idea!

  3. Thanks for sharing information with us, Keep on sharing the blog like this.
    VAT Risk Management


Back to Top