This morning I read an interesting article in Educational Leadership.  The article titled, “I Got Grouped,”  was written by Chris Tovani, an author I have used many times in the past to help me understand struggling readers.  I began the article fully expecting to read about strategies to use with struggling readers.  However, this time Chris talked about herself  being grouped into a group of  “Technology Dinosaurs” as she put it at a beginning of school technology training.  The emotions she felt about being placed with a group of struggling technology users surprised her, and caused her to think about how we group students.  C hris had worked all summer on learning technology and came back to school eager to show what she could do.  Not knowing this, the workshop organizers had grouped the teachers using the last year’s information.  The article goes on to talk about keeping our groups flexible, making sure more than leveled group work goes on in our Reading Workshop, and the importance of having reasonable expectations and providing scaffolding with strategy instruction. 

This article validated why we do DRA assessments at the beginning of each year even though we assess the students at the end of  the previous year.  We want to make sure we are aware of where our kids are in their reading  journey.  But, as the article states,  it is also important to give our kids the opportunity to practice what they are learning independently and along side more capable students.  Are your groups flexible?  Do you allow groups to work together based on things other than reading level?

Chris Tovani really made me think–the feeling of success is so important.  What can we do to ensure our kids get that feeling?

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