Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Accommodating Guided Reading Levels: Part 2

Guided Reading... the good, the bad, and the... well, all about how to differentiate your Guided Reading groups. Again. :)
Last time, we talked about how I use Reading A-Z in my special needs classroom and how I use those leveled readers to make adapted books and really differentiate my Guided Reading Groups (GRG). If you missed Part 1, click here.
Today, I want to show you the independent Guided Reading "centers" I use with my students when I am working with other GRGs.

Let me just preface this by saying that I am in a self-contained Life Skills setting, and many of my students struggle to do anything unless it is highly modified and in a 1:1 setting with an adult presence. In some classrooms, these are called work boxes, work bins, or work tasks.
This is what I have going on right now for both Math and Reading centers. I bought clear bins at Wal*Mart that the lids do not come off (that way they can't get lost!) for like $2 a piece of something super cheap. Nothing fancy at all.

I created the labels specifically for my students. Since my classroom is color-coded, I wanted to be able to say, "Go grab the green square and do you work" ...or whichever box I wanted them to be working on. It makes it super easy and mistake-free since no two shapes or colors are the same.

Here's a look inside what I currently have in my boxes and some work boxes I still need to switch out from Valentine's Day (we're still working the skills)...
Sorting different objects based solely on color. This is one of the easiest centers to set up. I found the cups at my grocery store over the summer and bought two sets. Then I went through all of the manipulatives in my closets and found different objects for the colors.
I try to have at least one or two holiday boxes. For Valentine's Day, I bought these mailboxes in the Target Dollar Spot. Then I created some different centers and used baggies to separate them within the work box.

There was this activity in one baggie: sorting big hearts from little hearts. Other activities included sorting words from non-words, uppercase from lowercase letters, sorting colors... and a few others. It was a great box that was highly differentiated!
 My kids love working with these Link-N-Learns, so this fun work box is always a hit. Plus it gets them to do a fine motor task with 1:1 correspondence!
Alphabet finger tracing cards for some students, matching alphabet cards for other students, alphabet puzzles ... this work box is one of the most differentiated work boxes.
This word center work box is differentiated too with word work and letter puzzles, but it's probably my favorite box.
I just LOVE this activity! My students are learning sight words, as well as spelling and matching.
All of my students are working on money skills, so a money work box was essential.
These two bins don't have labels on them, but my students know what they are by their names. This work bin is the "Bead Box" ... it works great for a fine motor task. The kids like to make bracelets for each other. It's super adorable!
This is more of a sensory bin than a work box, but the students do need to find the dinosaurs mixed in with the cut up straws. A super simple box to make too!

For different holidays or for seasonal centers, I try to switch those centers out every 4-6 weeks (I know, I'm a little late on the February bins!). Since these are independent centers, I don't want to switch them out too often to where my students feel overwhelmed with something new every week or every other week. I also don't want to leave the centers in each box too long because then my students will get bored and refuse to do them. No joke. Plus, since I have a couple of boxes, they aren't always working on the same box every day.

What types of independent centers do you have for Guided Reading Groups?