So I was reading someone's blog, and for the second time this month alone, I was explaining how I don't get interrupted during small group. And so I thought...
"I have like 10 followers, I should just share it on here."
So I'm going to.
Have you seen those pins on pinterest...the ones with the teacher wearing her tiara? It's her visual for "you can't interrupt me".
Well, I wanted that...but I didn't want to wear a tiara
I wanted it to go with my classroom theme.
As you can tell, my classroom is Disney themed. So what do I do? Go to Disney and buy Mickey ears, of course.
I have a big head...just a random bit of knowledge about me, for you. Which means the regular Mickey ear hats don't work for me. Luckily, Disney has started doing some Mickey ears on headbands.
Last year, I got pair of Mickey ears, on a headband, with the Sorcerer's hat in between the ears. It rocked. I used it until I broke them. :-(
So when I went to Disney over spring break, I had to buy another pair. But this time I wanted something different. Let me tell you, Disney is amazing in a lot of ways. Their merchandise and the way they cater to every demographic is amazing. Except for Mickey ears on a headband. When it comes to headbands for women...amazing selection. When it comes to headbands for men...one choice - sorcerer Mickey.
So I looked...and looked. And I found ears shaped like the apples from Snow White...so since I'm a teacher, and you know, apples...I bought them.
Here I am wearing them:
Ok...so here's how they work:
I always start the first few days of small group without mentioning the ears. Just my basics of "this is how we do small group, go here, do this". I don't wear the ears because I want them to be able to ask questions during this time.
About the 3rd day, I introduce the ears. I put them on, and explain that this is our visual clue that I cannot be interrupted. We talk about how in small group we are focusing on something really important. I can only be interrupted for blood and vomit (our district has a "no restroom during reading" policy...so I don't have that as an option anyway). I normally spend the 3rd and 4th day of small group taking them on and off as I got about my small groups. That way the kids see they WILL come off when I'm free.
The first two weeks if a hand is raised, I take off my ears, remind the student that my ears were on, and then quick talk about what we should do when my ears are on if we need help. This does mean that I am going to be interrupted during the first 2 weeks...but I'd rather, as much as possible, limit the interruptions to JUST those 2 weeks.
After the 2 weeks, if someone tries to interrupt me, I just point to my Mickey ears. As soon as I can give my group something to focus on, I take them off and thank that child for waiting...but sometimes that can take a while (which is why I have the blood/vomit rule...interrupt me...please!).
It's also wonderful when you get a new student who doesn't know the rule. This year my grade level did a "walk and read" program. We taught whole group reading to our homeroom, and then we leveled the grade so our small groups were more evenly matched. Which meant that every so often we would need to switch some kids around. My kids were great this year, though...every time we got a new kiddo one of my homeroom kids would explain the ears. I only explained it at the beginning of the year.
They also work well when your art teacher has to come to your room because it's raining (and he's in a portable). I needed to work on some paperwork, so I just popped those ears on and my kids left me alone.
What small group strategies do you have?