Teaching Small Groups

Teaching in small groups is my favorite way to reach all learners at the level they are at and help them move to the next level in reading, writing or math. I LOVE SMALL GROUPS. In order to work in groups effectively we need to cover some basics. Although all of our groups are most likely differentiated we still need some basic supplies for each group. I hope that this post helps you set up your small group materials.

Things to Write With

This is the basic of the basic but I think to make small group fun and enjoyable. When kids get to work in your small group why not offer some fun writing utensils such as fun thematic pencils, pens, scented markers/pencils, novelty pens, etc. There are so many fun pencils and pens and if you keep them just for small group time – students enjoy it more!

Things You Can Draw and Highlight With

Don’t forget your good old crayons, colored pencils and highlighters, use them to mark and color. You can also use highlighter tape too! When you are working with students one on one, it is a great time to teach them how to read closely. You can also use this time to instruct them on specific ways to learn. If you teach them how to color code you are teaching them brain friendly methods.

Items to Form Letters With

Yes, you can use a mini white board or laminated sheet with a dry erase marker but you can also use wikistix, play dough and shaving cream to shake things up and keep things novel. You could even have string – just look through your teacher junk drawer and see what you can find. The more novel the better!

Things to Cut and Paste With

You might need to cut, glue and tape things together. Always keep a couple glue sticks, tape and scissors in your arsenal.

Post it Notes & Index Cards

Whether you are taking notes, observations or your students are these are great little items to have in your group materials basket. These are not only for you to use but teach your students how they can use these tools to keep themselves and their learning organized!


You can pick up little witch fingers at Halloween. I have also seen little finger flashlights that are always a hit. How about having your students decorate tongue depressors with duct tape and a googly eye? In a pinch you can always use the side of the index card to have students isolate the line they are reading (tip: doubles as a bookmark!).

Motivational Tools

Stickers, stamps, a little stuffed animal that sits next to the person who ___. Make a list and keep it next to you!

Small Group Process

I think small group is also a wonderful time to teach children how to have conversations and discussions. It is a great time to develop thinking and oral language skills and if used effectively could leave lasting effects on student motivation and confidence.

Setting Up Your Small Group Pin