Apr 16, 2021

Using Small Group Instruction to Personalize Learning | Grant Wood A E A Saturday Snippets

Using Small Group Instruction to Personalize Learning

Here's another Saturday Snippet from Grant Wood Area Education Agency literacy consultants, Chris and Jess! One instructional model that is integral to a blended and personalized classroom is small group instruction, including "station rotation." In literacy (especially elementary literacy) this is not a new practice. Although small group instruction is often seen at the elementary level, its positive impacts are proven PreK-12.

While the differentiated and targeted instruction provided in small teacher-led groups is powerful, there is also great potential for blended and personalized learning to happen through purposefully planned “station rotation” or “independent” time while the teacher is working with other students. Consider these questions as you plan for meaningful independent practice/learning opportunities:

  • What do I want the students to know?
  • ​How will they demonstrate/practice?
  • Where will I build in voice and choice?
  • How will I know what they know?
  • What tools will I (and/or the student) use?

When planned in this way, the station rotation model can be a powerful tool for fostering student voice and choice while being tightly aligned to grade level standards and individual learning targets.

Check out this post from Grant Wood AEA digital learning consultant Mindy Cairney for an example of how we use these questions to plan meaningful, standards-aligned, blended and personalized experiences during the station rotation phase of small group instruction. Here, she provides a model for the Kindergarten through second grade literacy classroom (focused on K-2 ELA standards). However, the questions and structure are applicable K-12! 

Additionally, The Iowa Reading Research Center provides research, tools, and structures to support the implementation of small group instruction in this eLearning module. While some of the examples in the module are also focused more on elementary levels, they translate easily to secondary classrooms as well.

Questions? Reach out to your Grant Wood AEA Literacy Consultant for more information and support!