Sunday, June 23, 2013

An Apple A Day - Whole Group Instruction

I'm here with another link up to The Applicious Teacher's An Apple A Day Linky.  This week's topic: Whole Group Instruction.

This past year (and continuing on into next year) my goal is to consistently make whole class lessons short - no more than 15 minutes.  This is really challenging for me for two reasons: (1) I usually have a lot of ideas (from the curriculum, from my teammates, and from myself) that I want to include, and (2) I want to make sure that they really get it (otherwise 25 hands go up the second they start working - something I'm going to work on with my class next year).

But here are some things that work really well for me:

  1. Pair-Sharing - I try to have students talk with a partner every couple of minutes.  My desks are in groups of four, which gives us three easy pairings - elbow partners, face partners, and back partners (the kiddos on the ends have to get up for this one and go across the classroom).  Having three different pairing options keeps them engaged with pair-sharing.
  2. Notes - Taking notes makes them know that they need to be doing something during the lesson and gives them a reference for later.  Bonus:  I can easily look out over the classroom and see who is paying attention.
  3. Get Up Activities - At some point during each whole class lesson,  I try to do something that gets the kiddos out of their seats.  My two go-tos are: "Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up" for a pair share or "Corners" (I ask a question with four possible answers and designate each corner as an answer.  Students go to the corner they think is the correct answer).

What are you tips and tricks for whole group instruction?  Link up with Leigh at The Applicious Teacher and share!


  1. I love your Get Up Activities ideas! For the Stand up, Hand Up, Pair Up do you use that to choose partners? I've been having my kids pair up using The Two Sisters methods demonstrated in the Daily 5 videos. Just curious! :) Always looking for something new. I'm your newest follower, glad I found you! Heather @LearningwithMrsLangley

    1. Thanks for stopping by. I use Stand Up, Hand Up, Pair Up to have them quickly discuss with a partner. I don't do any long partner activities this way because I like more control over who is with who for those. This works great for a quick question or summary of what we learned!