Working with small groups is a fun and effective strategy for meeting the needs of all your students. Small-group instruction not only allows you to differentiate learning, it’s also the perfect time to encourage your students to work together and share their strengths with one another. But how do you keep the rest of your class engaged while you’re meeting with a small group? Here are five effective ways to inspire your students to continue learning on their own!

Plus, check out these additional activities for all the fast finishers in your classroom.

Independent Reading and Response
Independent reading is the go-to strategy to promote learning while you engage in small-group instruction—but managing it can be a challenge when your focus is elsewhere. These ready-to go Graphic Organizer Booklets for Reading Response are the perfect teaching tools to keep your students on track when you’re working with a small group. Designed for both fiction and nonfiction books, these guided response packets boost comprehension and promote critical thinking. 

Reflection and Writing
When you’re working with a small group, encourage others to use this time to reflect on their day and write about it in their student journal. Daily journaling is not only a great way to sharpen writing skills, it’s also the perfect opportunity for your students to think about their goals, reflect on what they want to achieve inside and outside the classroom, and focus on the steps they need to take to succeed. Whether you use targeted prompts or give students the freedom to write about whatever is on their mind, these written reflections are a great way to get to know your students and help them further develop their writing ability.

Sharpen Writing Skills Even More
To help your students take their writing to the next level, these ready-to-go journal activities will not only sharpen their writing skills, they’ll also allow you to fully devote your attention to the small group you’re working with. Filled with story starters and nonfiction essay prompts, these guided writing activities boost student confidence and help young learners acquire valuable writing skills, such as brainstorming, dialogue writing, and character development. While you’re working with your small group, the rest of the class will be transforming themselves into the next generation of influential authors!

Social-emotional Learning
Social-emotional learning is a top priority for teachers. It plays both a key role in cultivating a culture of kindness in your classroom and inspires students to make a difference at home and in the community. While you’re working with your small group, encourage the rest of your class to engage in their own social-emotional learning with one of these great reads from your classroom library. When finished, they can trade with their neighbor or write about what they’ve just read, reflecting on the lessons they just learned.

Practice Makes Perfect
Whether it’s sight words, math, or another subject or topic your students are struggling with, encourage your students to devote this independent learning time to subject areas where they’re having the most trouble. With Scholastic Teachables, you can access ready-to-go resources to meet the needs of all your students while you’re working with your small group. With access to thousands of lesson and activities, you’ll not only save valuable prep time, you’ll also give your students the extra practice they need to master any subject!

These are just a few ways to engage your students during small-group instruction. For more teaching tips, strategies, and tools, check out these essential teacher resources from Scholastic.

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