Organizing Guided Reading

Now that are guided reading groups are in  full swing, managing all of the materials becomes a bigger challenge.  With some many kinders at different levels, differentiating their instruction {and materials} becomes even more critical.  I hope you find some of these tips useful in your classroom as much as I do.

The Guided Reading Table

Having a table big enough to comfortably fit all of your students is very important.  I love using a table this shape as it keeps me close to all of my little learners.  And YES! We use ball chairs in our classroom so "sitting" in their guided reading group is no different.

Lesson Planning Binder

Lesson plans  need to be organized as well.  Each group has a daily  lesson plan behind their tabbed divider.  The pocket in the tabbed divider allows me to put a copy of their most current book as well as notecards for letters, letter sounds, and sight words they are working on.

My wonderful teacher friend down the hall created this lesson planning template.  You can find some  similar templates in her Guided Reading Template Pack.  I am able to  highlight the standards I want to focus on and am able  to jot down quick notes for each student.  This way I can see  patterns of strengths and weaknesses for each student.

Guided Reading Materials

Each leveled group has their own basket for materials I use.  I have found the easiest way to organize is to place each set of materials in a gallon size bag even if it is small.  The little stuff tends to get buried at the bottom if I don't.  I also placed a cup inside of each basket.  This has been a huge help as I have been using more fluency strips with my  students as a warm-up.  It keeps them super easy to access in a hurry.

On my wall I have attached these organizers.  They are by 3M and use the little strips that don't harm walls.  Hooray!  They surprisingly hold a great deal of weight and materials.  Here is where I store all of their fluency mats I use on a daily basis.  The mats are bound together so students just need to take a pack and a pointer and are ready to begin groups.  These are located on the wall  right behind my table which keeps everything in arm's reach.

Guided Reading Tools

Located on a bookshelf right behind my table are more tools I use for guided reading.  Some fun pointers and listening phones on the wall keep reading interesting.  A slinky is used to stretch out and blend words.  The fuzzy sticks were a gift.  I sometimes use these around my wrist to help give a visual clue for students who like to interrupt tell me their stories.  When my group is done and we are ready to switch, I turn on our cleanup song.  Within 3 minutes we are cleaned up and ready to go!

On another shelf that's easy to reach from my table, I store my dry erase supplies.  The grey bucket is a dish pan from WalMart.  It fits our small boards perfectly.  The organizer on top holds all of the erasers (socks and washcloths), markers, and lined whiteboards.  All I need to do is place the whole basket on the table and my kinders are able to quickly get what they need.

This unit stores all of the extra supplies like paint bags, letter magnets, and wikki stix.  These are supplies that I don't necessarily use on a daily basis, but I still like to have close by.

Assessments & Data

Each student has their own assessment packet that contains our district-wide assessment for each of the Indiana State Standards.  Our standards are new this year, so our assessment had to be switched up a bit from the Common Core assessment we had been using.  You can find our Common Core Math and Literacy Assessment Packet here.  I keep track of their skills on my clipboard and plan for any intervention from that data.  It works super smoothly since I can pull from these assessments at anytime during our guided reading groups.

I hope that I was able to give you some ideas for organizing your guided reading groups and materials.  I'd love to know what works for you!

A Brief Peek into My Second Home...My Classroom!

I know most of us feel like this. We spend so much of our day in our classroom, and we want to make it cute, functional, and best for our students as well as ourselves. In the weeks leading up to the first day of school, I spend a great deal of time thinking of how I can change my classroom and what part of the room I'd like to update for the next year. We are so lucky that we can leave things up on our walls. Our awesome custodian will even move all of our tables, chairs, and large items for us. When I got to school this year, my classroom looked like this.

After a "few" days and a little bit of magic, it looked like this.

This is my whole group area with the Smartboard and document camera on top of a student desk that I added chevron contact paper to the top. We love our fish carpet! Whenever we need to be in a circle, I tell them to sit behind a bubble and it works perfectly.

Believe it or not, I don't have a bulletin board here and have had to create one using a little bit of double sided sticky tape and duck tape. The wall is HUGE, and I couldn't let it go to waste. Here I put our Whole Brain Teaching posters. That also reminds me that I need to put those up as a freebie in my TpT store. I also have a place for my birthdays at the bottom. I take a picture of students who have birthdays in each month. On the right is a place for student work. I hot glued a clothespin up for each student. Then when they finish a project, I simply clip it up. SOO easy!


Under my gigantic wall, I have a long countertop that is kinder height. It makes the perfect place to put things that are at their fingertips daily. Each of their names is on a removable binder clip which definitely gives my mailboxes a little less wear and tear. Next to that are my math zone practice zone drawers for guided math. They are gradually getting filled up with more and more choices as I introduce and teach each choice. Below the counter are some cupboards and drawers. I had so much fun creating these supply labels for these drawers this summer. Now I won't be opening and closing each drawer because I can't remember where I put the erasers!

The Library
 Such a labor of love. It took to sort and label all of the books in my library. But after getting the idea several years ago from my favorite teacher blogger friend, Leslie, from KindergartenWorks I knew I had to make the time.  Each book is labeled with a little sticker that matches the basket label. I only put out 8 baskets for them to choose from at a time. The rest I will rotate through to keep things fresh. This year will be our first year using the Fontas and Pinnell reading levels, but I at least have many books labeled and ready to go for independent reading. Hopefully my students this year will like their cozy little library nook.

These are their independent reading baskets for guided reading and our literacy centers are stored below.

If you are familiar with Whole Brain Teaching, you'll recognize our Super Improver Wall. I started using WBT last year after attending a WBT conference, and it has changed my teaching. Each student has a card with their name on it in ten different colors. Each card has a spot for ten stickers. Stickers are given for showing improvement in just about anything. Students also use these pockets to collect "wisdom cards" which are given for following our five rules. Last year I used these pockets for students to put practice cards in as well, but I haven't felt the need to implement that yet this year.

Environmental Print Word Wall 
Our kinders get so excited when they see words in our classroom that they can already read. At the beginning of the year, I have students bring in examples of environmental print for our class word wall. They love it!  I loved these large letters from Cara Caroll.

That sums up our classroom for the most part. Where do I do guided reading and guided math? Where do students sit? Stay tuned for a future post specifically on those two parts of our day and classroom. I hope you have a wonderful start to your school year!