Small Group Activities and Instruction

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Small Group Activities

December 30 Deedee 2 min read
Let’s talk about small group instruction.
How to do Small Group Activities and Instruction in Kindergarten, what they look like, word work and warm up, and more! You and your students will look forward to their small group rotation time.
What does it look like?
During the first  5 minutes of my small group time, I listen in for fluency and take a running record on a student.  At the beginning of the year my running records look a bit like this.  This is form is from Deanna’s Guiding Reading unit.

But as the complexity of the text increases, I move over to this form.  I am not sure where I got the original for this format, but if you know, please share it with me!  I have had it for about 12 years I think.  I retyped it because it had gotten so messy.

If you click on the image above, you can grab your own copy.

The finger light can be found HERE.

Fluency practice is recognized with this bookmark.

Click on this picture to grab the bookmark.
Word Work and Warm Up!

Then it is time for word work!   You can honestly take a station activity to use as your word work, but I have also created some activities that are specifically designed for your small group table.

Bingo is always a hit!  This version is played with ending sounds.

The spinner can be found HERE.


Students also stretch out CVC words with this activity.


And when you add tap lights… they sort of freak out in a good way… then there is a steady train of students running to see when THEY get to go to your table!
Students also practice using context clues to figure out unknown words.  This is a student favorite!
Those lovely lights are also used for syllabication.

AND for your students who are working on stretching out longer words, we use the same cards.

Guiding Reading Text
We have always used leveled books that were purchased by the district, but there are some wonderful emergent readers that have been created by teacher-authors… AND they do not set you back $36 per set!   OY!   Some of those trade level texts are so expensive.
Click Below to see these items 
How to do Small Group Activities and Instruction in Kindergarten, what they look like, word work and warm up, and more. Works in first grade too! 


  • Talia French December 30 at 4:16 pm

    I love reading about your small groups and centers. Thanks for the running record sheet. When I clicked on the bookmark picture, though, it took me to the running record sheet again. Thanks for sharing your great resources!

    • Deedee December 30 at 7:56 pm

      AHH!!! So sorry! I just fixed the link ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Talia French December 30 at 11:58 pm

      Awesome! I love the bookmark. Thanks again for sharing!

  • LilaRose December 31 at 2:38 pm

    Thanks for all you share! I'm looking forward to learning more from you in Seattle!

  • Ann July 24 at 7:35 pm

    I am trying to organize my monthly storage boxes and just came across this picture. I was wondering how the storage boxes/seating have held up? How long have they lasted?
    Thank you!

    • Deedee July 24 at 9:41 pm

      Oh my goodness! Beautifully! I would have team meeting around my small group table during our plan time and we would sit on them. I sat on them all the time and I am not a delicate flower ๐Ÿ˜‰

      • Ann July 25 at 4:18 pm

        Thank you! I think I will do this! I appreciate all the ideas that you share!

  • Tina October 6 at 12:31 pm

    Do you take a running record for each student each time you do your small group Guided Reading? I am new to Guided Reading and trying to organize and plan the routine for my small groups. I have 4-5 students in each group, so I’m trying to decide if I should do a running record with every student with each new book/passage? Any advice would be great. Thank you. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Deedee October 6 at 6:45 pm

      Hi Tina!

      I do one running record on a familiar read at the beginning of the session… then one on a cold read with the new book. I don’t do the same student on the same day, but I suppose you could. I would not try to do more than that. In this way, you will have a running record on every student each week. I think that is sufficient.

      • Tina October 6 at 7:30 pm

        Thank you. That is very helpful! ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Kathy Stacy January 31 at 9:56 am

    Crazy question…..What size baking sheet do you use to organize your magnetic letters for small group? A picture would be great ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks so much!!!

    • Deedee January 31 at 5:53 pm

      Hi there! They are a standard size… I think around 12′ x 18″.

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    My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching to different age groups and in different classroom environments. My heart belongs to early childhood education and I love working with other teachers who share this same love as me. Read More


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