Guided Groups {Where it Happens}

My small group area is where I spend the most time sitting during the day!  I am hardly ever sitting, but when I’m working with a group of kiddos, my focus is on them. 

When I am working with a group or individual child, I turn on my “ghost light.”  The ghost doesn’t have any significance, my daughter had it for Halloween one year, and I grabbed it! The kids know that when it is on they can’t interrupt me!


Here is my table where I work with kids.  I try to keep everything that I might need close.



I adore this easel.  It has a magnetic dry erase front and little pockets on the back that I can shove all sorts of goodies in.  It’s certainly not neat and tidy in this area, but it’s where everything goes down! It’s a busy place!  I keep pencils, mini-fly swatters, post-its, pointers, dry erase boards….just about everything right in this spot.

Here is what’s inside those little drawers:

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I also have small letter tiles available.  I use these a lot for CVC work or for whole class word building activities. It was a set of letters that I got at a teacher supply store in the bulletin board section – I really want to say that it was a Fountas and Pinnell set, but I can’t remember!  They are about 2” square.


I keep running record papers and my nifty Fountas and Pinnell running record calculator handy as well.  This shelf is to the left of my table.  I keep each groups books/lessons/activities in the colored buckets on the top shelf.  There are leveled books on the 2nd shelf, some “just for fun” books that the children can choose for their book baskets on the 3rd shelf, and more decodable readers, and my science/social studies/math books on the bottom shelf.

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I also have a large selection of Lakeshore center activities that I will pull out.  Those are in a shelf to the right of my table.   

I’ll share more later of how I might run a guided group!


  1. Thanks for sharing. It is always fun to see how other set up their small group area. I am curious, what is a running record calculator? I always just use a calculator. I didn't know there was a special kind.

    Fantastic First Grade Froggies

  2. Hi Kathleen,

    I teach Prep (about the equivalent of Kinder) in Queensland, Australia. I love your blog and am so jealous of your lovely table all set up for small groups. I don't have room in my class for an area like that but you have inspired me to make the space I do have more efficient and user-friendly! :)


  3. Where did you get the container for the letter tiles? Thanks for sharing your great ideas

  4. When I get back in my classroom (we're on day 2 of snow days), I will be sure to link up!!
    Karen :o)
    Mrs. Stamp's Kindergarten

  5. Where is your easel from? I love it and your blog. Thanks for sharing.

  6. That easel looks like the one from Lakeshore that I've been coveting!!

    Happy Teacher Heaven

  7. I love your little easel too. I just attended a workshop that told us that all good guided reading groups should begin with some type of word work teaching point. This got me thinking... is there a scope and sequence anywhere for Kindergarten word work skills? If not maybe a TPT lesson calling someone's name? Any thoughts on the "proper order" during the year for teaching word work skills in Kinder? I have my ideas but wondered what others thought.

  8. Kathleen,

    Hi ! I have colored folders for my 12-13 groups. As a reading specialist I work with K-5. I have stickers on the folders which correlate with the stickers on the card on the front of the basket on the 3 label cart. On the card, I have students' names, grade level and teacher names as well.

    In addition, I keep the guided reading book sets inside the baskets. Medium to large baskets go on top with games, additional activities and future guided reading book sets.

    I also keep a dry erase board, blank running record sheets, and a timer nearby.

    Looking forward to seeing you in Vegas this summer ! :)

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