GCA Instructional Coach Update

Week of September 12-16

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Strategy Spotlight

Small Groups:


  • This week in PLC we discussed small groups as a great way to learn what our students really know and to differentiate instruction for our students.
  • Many people use small instructional groups in reading, but it is not as common in other content areas.
  • The value of small group instruction reaches across content areas in our efforts to meet student needs and should be used in a variety of content areas in a variety of ways.
  • There are many ways to do small groups in all content areas.
  • The use of small groups allows the teacher to move around and interact with students in smaller groups to identify the specific skill level of each student and to meet those individual needs.
  • The teacher does not necessarily have to meet with every small group each day in many of the small group routines but can use the time to walk around, interact with each group, and determine student needs.
  • Many types of small groups do not have to follow a routine and rotation schedule like we traditionally use for reading groups. They can be more flexible based on student needs and the material being taught.
  • The two websites below list some great strategies for using small groups in the classroom in new and creative ways. These might be great to try in all content areas to better engage students in their learning and to differentiate to meet the needs of all learners.
  • Some grouping structures mentioned include: interest grouping, task grouping, ability grouping, cooperative grouping, skill grouping, student choice grouping, buzz groups, think-pair-share, snowball groups, jigsaw, fishbowl.
  • http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/article/organizing-small-groups-do-you-know-all-options
  • https://uwaterloo.ca/centre-for-teaching-excellence/teaching-resources/teaching-tips/developing-assignments/group-work/group-work-classroom-types-small-groups

Amazing Work At GCA

Mr. Perrock's Band Class Formative Assessment and Communication


  • Mr. Perrock frequently does formative assessment in band to determine students' skill level on individual skills to continue to plan instruction to increase that skill level.
  • Formative assessments should be used often to allow teachers to continue to plan instruction based on student needs.
  • Mr. Perrock uses a 3 point grading rubric to determine if students are below expectations, meeting expectations, or exceed expectations.
  • He records their score on the form seen below in the photos.
  • The form is shared with students so that they are aware of their current level of mastery and it is sent to parents for them to sign and return.
  • Mr. Perrock is communicating with both students and parents through the use of this form.
  • Students are given opportunities to retest on individual skills that they want to improve their score on.
  • The form helps to guide Mr. Perrock's instruction but also guides the students to know what areas to practice and work on.



Kindergarten Orally Practicing Comprehension Skills

  • Kindergarten students are orally practicing reading comprehension skills.
  • Students are able to discuss those comprehension skills with an assigned shoulder partner.
  • Though students are not able to read large amounts of text on their own, the Kindergarten teachers are doing a great job of having them practice the reading comprehension skills orally.
  • Students are learning routines to work together with other students to practice their comprehension skills through the use of shoulder partners.
  • This oral practice of the comprehension skills will positively impact their ability to recall and use the comprehension strategies later on when they begin reading text on their own.
  • Students of all ages benefit from working with other students to discuss their new learning.

Week In Review

  • A teacher needed help thinking through a way to help students to take notes through a visual representation instead of the traditional note taking method. The teacher is trying to mix up the way information is presented to students on different days to increase student engagement.
  • A teacher needed help identifying the best way to support a student with special learning needs in the classroom. We set up a time for me to sit in on their class to help brainstorm the best possible way to support that individual student.
  • This week I finished a skills assessment with all students that will take part in a reading reteaching small group in lower and middle school. This information has been used to identify the specific skills that will be retaught in those groups.
  • I analyzed the skills assessment results and communicated student needs to Mrs. Hensley so that the reteaching groups can meet the specific needs of the students in the groups.
  • I shared the Simple View of Reading and reading skills progression in PLC this week. If anyone was not able to attend or has further questions please let me know. I am happy to share more information on those.
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