Guided Reading and Literacy Learning Stations Part 2: Classroom Community and Procedures

by C. Elkins, OK Math and Reading Lady

Part 1 gave a brief summary of setting up your guided reading and literacy stations program. On this post, I will go into more detail on a couple of the points: 1) building a classroom community, and 2) establishing procedures and practicing activities.

When you release your students to work with partners or in small groups, you need assurance they are going to work together harmoniously, at least most of the time anyway! This is critical to the success of your small group instruction, because you don’t want to be interrupted with disputes while you are working together.

So what can you do? Starting from Day 1, you must work on creating a classroom community; one based on mutual respect, collaboration, kindness, a positive atmosphere, and a feeling that each one is a valued member of the class. There are many ways to accomplish this, of course. But I will share my favorites. Before Great Expectations came to SW Oklahoma, I became familiar with an organization called Responsive Classroom (click to link to their website). They are similar to GE, but primarily train teachers in the NE part of the U.S.  Like GE, they also focus on a strong link between academic success and social-emotional learning. You can subscribe to their newsletter and order wonderful books via their website. I started with one of their books called “The Morning Meeting Book” (click on title). It promotes ways to create a classroom community by having a daily “Morning Meeting.” We formed a circle every morning and greeted each other by name in fun ways. Through this circle, we shared successes and concerns for one another, began discussion topics about how we should behave and respect one another, welcomed new students, made group decisions, and set the tone for the day. Every student was acknowledged and felt valued every day. Students don’t want to disappoint a teacher or classmate they respect, and it almost eliminated the need for time consuming behavior charts. Continue reading