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Savvy 12-06-2020 10:58 AM

How is this handled in your district or school?
Hi all! Can we talk about practices pre-pandemic?

In your school, are teachers held accountable for instructing students in a small group setting?

If the answer is yes, what does that accountability look like?

I understand that some people work at wonderful schools with excellent teachers and administrators who do not require lesson plans, binders, etc. But I really need to hear from those who do have some sort of accountability system.

Thank you in advance!

Teacherbee_4 12-06-2020 11:21 AM

Small group
Can you explain more? When you want to know if teachers are held accountable for instructing students in a small group setting, can you explain what you mean? Are you referring to classroom teachers taking small groups, like guided reading groups? Or are you referring to those specific teachers who work with small groups like special ed. teachers, interventionists, title 1 teachers, etc.?

Can you also explain what you mean by accountability? Do you mean they are held accountable for meeting with small groups? For the quality of the instruction with the small groups?

Savvy 12-06-2020 11:41 AM

small groups
I am wondering about classroom teachers pulling math or reading small groups within the classroom. For accountability, I am wondering if there is a minimum number of groups that they must try to see each day? Is there a way that this is recorded? Do they have to write/use some sort of lesson plan? Is this monitored? Basically, I am wondering about accountability for pulling groups.

I work in a place where pulling small groups is expected, but it is not happening on a consistent basis with the current hands off approach that administration has.

2teach2 12-06-2020 11:59 AM

We are expected to pull small groups. We don't have accountability, per se, but our principal asked us to discuss this at our weekly PLC meetings and to include in our notes to him what we are doing to meet our students' needs. This was pre-pandemic, of course.

Haley23 12-06-2020 01:14 PM

Well, all bets are off now, of course. Some teachers were trying to do small groups and some weren't, with all of the new safety guidelines.

Pre-pandemic, small groups were expected and admin/coaches did fairly frequent walkthroughs. We have an "intervention block" at my school that classroom teachers participate in as well, and the expectations for what that time looked like were very laid out for teachers and there were tons of PLCs/walkthroughs/feedback given. For just regular classroom small groups, it was scheduled in our master schedule that is given to teachers, and teachers were required to turn in pretty detailed lesson plans.

I have to say, the lesson plan piece bothers me. Lesson plans should be written for the teacher, not for some admin. If during walkthroughs/observations it's obvious that a specific teacher isn't well planned/doesn't have everything thought out, then require plans of that specific teacher as part of an improvement process as necessary. Don't create busywork for the entire building.

I also felt that our teachers could have used more PD on what to use classroom small group time for. I think our admin assumed all of the PD/instruction on the intervention block would carry over to the classroom, but many teachers see those as two different things and think they can only do those sort of intervention activities in the intervention block. A lot of times when teachers came to RtI meetings and talked about their small groups, they weren't working on good skills for the student's needs. For example, the student doesn't know their letter sounds and the small group has been spending an entire quarter on one book that is meant to focus on cvc vs. silent e pattern. Doesn't make sense for the student's needs. Of course this wasn't everyone, but I heard it often enough.

I know the coach was actually doing some work on this right before the pandemic hit, but it seemed it was more focused on what the other students are doing during small groups/how to make that productive vs. focusing on the actual small group instruction.

Savvy 12-06-2020 06:57 PM

I can see how the lesson plan piece would be bothersome. I agree that maybe that should not be required of everyone. I find it interesting that the same sort of issue has come up at some of our RTI meetings. People say that a student is struggling with one thing, but are working on something different.

I like the idea of including notes about small group when talking with supervisors or principals.

Thank you for your responses!

Teacherbee_4 12-06-2020 07:29 PM

Small groups
When I was in public school, we were expected to pull small groups for reading, intervention, and math was suggested. It wasn't really monitored, but no one really didn't do it. It was expected that during reading everyday we saw guided reading groups, and at least 1-2 observations were unannounced during the reading block, so they'd see a small group session. In terms of how many we had to see, both of the principal's I had preferred quality of quantity. They much rather we had quality instruction with the small group than racing through it to get to groups.

I'm in a Catholic School right now. In this one, no small group instruction is an expectation. If we do it, great, if we don't great, nothing is an expectation. We don't really have the time in our blocks to pull small groups consistently, unfortunately. In my last Catholic School, we were supposed to pull reading groups, but again, there was no guidelines as to how many. In terms of accountability, we did Fountas and Pinnell 3 times a year and MAPS 3 times a year, so if students weren't making progress, I'm sure it would be looked at how many times they were in a small group/if they were in a small group, etc.

hikinghiker 12-07-2020 08:07 AM

At my old school, it was expected that small groups were happening especially with the littles but that's just good practice. Typically, teachers weren't accountable for small group time for most kids. However, we did have intervention groups formed based of Read by Grade 3 data. For these students, we would create 5 small groups based on levels and they would walk to their group for 30 minutes a day. SO I might see one of my RBG3 students, and then have 3 more from other K teachers.

We were held accountable for these groups by the means of weekly benchmarks that we would put on a shared google doc.

Savvy 12-07-2020 08:18 PM

I really love hearing how things work in other places! I like the idea of the 30 minute rotation between classes in the same grade level. I imagine that takes lots of trust and that's a serious level of responsibility when you aren't just seeing your own students.


In terms of how many we had to see, both of the principals I had preferred quality of quantity.
Yes! Always the way to go.

TaffyFL 12-31-2020 08:13 AM

We teach both in person and remote learners, the students and parents have the complete freedom to switch back and forth. Not only is our district requiring that small group interventions continue, there are fidelity checks to ensure that teachers are pulling small groups. Small groups are required through the math and ELA block but our administration has not been checking for those.

mommy9298 12-31-2020 08:39 AM

My district is all about accountability. Our lesson plans are turned in weekly and checked. We are remote since September. K to 3 is expected to have small group time daily in la and math in our virtual platform. I am lucky because I have an inclusion teacher. I will take two groups and she will take one. I have one group on my school laptop and one group on my personal laptop. I work with one while the other group does independent work then we switch. Itís insane. I document it in my planbook with the information of what we are doing daily. I also have a title teacher a few periods a week and she takes a group. At those times we each have a group. Iíll be honest, I do small group when the title teacher is in my class because itís so much easier. There are days I just stay in whole group because I donít want to deal with who can get into the meet, who is in the wrong meet and it took so much time to get them to join different meets. They are much better now. I do like the smaller groups because I can see how a child is doing. I switch the groups every few weeks so I can see how everyone is doing. It is much easier in school.

Savvy 12-31-2020 04:02 PM

Such hard work
Mommy9298: Wow! You all are putting in so much work to ensure that students are seen in small group. It is good to hear that you've figured out a system that works for you. It would be great if all classes had at least two teachers at this point.

TaffyFL: Are people at the district level doing the fidelity checks? It is nice that admin is not pressuring anyone.

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