It seems like we are always looking for a way to improve what we are doing. For the first half of the year we rotated centers daily during our Skills Block so that during a week each table would do each of the five centers that revolved around the skills we were teaching during Skills Block. The children at the tables are grouped heterogeneously, mostly by behavior, so the idea was that every child would have the opportunity to work on every skill during the week. The problem with this plan was that skills were sometimes too difficult for some children and too easy for others. As you looked around the room, you could always count several children off-task.
As we have been reading Richard Allington's What Works in Response to Intervention, we have been rethinking ways to provide individual and small group work for both our strugglers and our advanced readers. Centers seemed like the perfect place to differentiate, so... we divided the students into 5 groups homogeneously, identifying a single skill for each group to work on for the week through our data. This means that the groups may be fluid depending on the targeted skills each week. Two of the groups work independently and three of the groups are led by an adult (the general education teacher, the Special Education teacher and the para - this is an inclusion class). This part of the day has become my favorite part, because I really feel like we finally are meeting all of our students where they are.