I remember when I first began teaching, I was overwhelmed with all of the learning styles, abilities, and outside influences that affected my students and their success. After a few years, advice from veteran teachers and administrators, hours of PLC meetings, 300+ hours of training and workshops, I feel like I've finally got it down. Here's what it looks like at the beginning of the year in my classroom.
- During the first week of school, I always take an Interest Inventory of each student. This is when I get to learn about their likes and dislikes. Everything from their favorite cartoon, subject in school, and place to eat. This gives me a little glimpse of what motivates them and comes in handy when forming reading groups based on interest. It also shows me what incentives work best!
- I use several formal and non-formal assessments to evaluate my students' strengths and weaknesses. Several districts I've worked in use DIBELS and the Qualitative Reading Inventory (QRI) to assess fluency and comprehension.
- Next, I take all the results and form 4 reading groups in a class of about 20-24. For each group, I evaluate the assessments and determine what the group needs. For first grade, it typically looks like this:
Low: phonemic awareness, high frequency words, decodable books from Open Court
- Remember, groups are flexible. I progress monitor using DIBELS 1-2 times a month for my lowest scholars and move students around accordingly. For my early readers, I use the QRI monthly to progress monitor. From my experience, the QRI is most beneficial in the middle of the year in first grade because that is when students are reading more fluently.