One of my very first memories of my education classes during college is one of my professors getting into all of our faces and, whilst wagging her finger at us, stating, “I better NEVER set foot inside your classroom and see your reading groups divided into the red birds, blue birds, yellow birds, and black birds. What does a flying, cawing, pooping nuisance have to do with reading anyway?!”
Well, that was one way of saying it.
Since that time, I’ve tried to come up with a creative, gender-neutral, all equally exciting grouping technique for my kids’ reading groups. Easier said than done.
My first two years, I used different colored stars. Pitiful? Definitely. But, you live and learn. Then last summer, I made two key discoveries. With my new, married name, our class “mascots” became the Superheroes. I also found the “SuperKidz” collection from Thistle Girl Designs that featured fabulous clip art baubles like these:
This collection is full of superhero kids in different “super-powered poses”. Eureka! I decided to name my groups after different super-powers depicted in each picture! My kids would be divided into “flight”, “strength”, “laser vision”, and “power jump”! I gave each child a miniature version of their super-power to keep in their supply tub in case they ever forgot which group was theirs.
Our super-powered reading groups are displayed on our front board with our station jobs (based on the Daily 5) for the day.
And a close-up…
Our stations alternate every other week so that students can also spend time at the computer (playing word-work games or publishing writing on Pixie) and engaging in read-to-self. The stations for the alternative week hang directly below our list for today so that they are readily available.
I laminated and applied magnetic tape to both the stations and the groups so that they are easily rotated and exchanged on the dry-erase board.
The kids LOVE being superheroes! Both the boys and girls think it’s so awesome to have super-powers! When we are doing an especially good job, sometimes we even get to act out our super-power on the way to our next station!
How do y’all categorize your reading groups? Are you as much of a thematic nerd as I am?