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Teaching small groups virtually in Pre-K or Kindergarten is crucial for student growth. Small groups allow for deeper interaction and understanding of students’ needs and progress. So let’s chat about what to teach and how to teach a virtual small group.
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How To Teach Small Groups Online
Small groups are going to be the place to dive deeper with your students and really get them working with you on important math and literacy skills. But how do you teach small groups online?
Make sure you prepare your basket of teacher supplies ahead of time. You might have fun teacher pointers, pocket chart pieces for circle time, whiteboard and whiteboard markers, and really anything that you might use for your small group session if you were in-person!
In order to have small group success online, you must set routines for your time with your students. Routines are just as important in small groups as they are during whole group time and should be as similar as possible.
If you have an attention-getting routine (ring the bell and give the thumbs up when you’re ready), do the same when transitioning to small group sessions. Consistency in routine helps students anticipate and respond consistently in all situations in the classroom.
Small groups are really an opportunity to get hands-on with your kiddos and interact! Having students model what you are doing on the screen at home, is a great way to make sure they are understanding the concept you are working on.
For example, I might be working on a game in my pocket chart. My students can be working right alongside me with a set of their own pocket chart pieces on their desk or tabletop.
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What Do I Teach During Virtual Small Groups?
The easy answer… anything you would have taught during in-person instruction!
Small groups are a time to dive deeper into the material you’ve already covered in whole group. In a virtual classroom, this will be extra important to ensure understanding of the material.
I always suggest using a variety of methods to keep your students engaged during small groups online.
As amazing as digital games are to practice a math or literacy skill together in a small group, if you use them all the time, kiddos will lose interest. Use a mix of digital activities and activities that require hands-on manipulatives to maximize engagement.
These manipulatives can either be items that you’ve sent home for students to use (alphabet cards, counting bears, etc.) or materials that students find in their own homes (pennies, alphabet magnets, etc.).
The key to virtual small groups is engaging with the students to see what they know and how you can help them further grow and understand the skill.
If you’re struggling with what to teach and when to teach it, feel free to grab our Mega List of Themes and Skills for an idea!
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