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Group Names

I was giving practice ELA exams all day today and it gave me a lot of time to think.  With my new planbook format ( I've had to name all my groups.  I now have several groups that could have the same name 3rd Grade Reading Group for example.  I've decided that I want to give the groups names, just as you would reading groups.  Most teachers in my schools use colors for group names.  A few use shapes.  One teacher uses science terms (suns, planets, stars).  I found a set of graphics that has 12 animals in it.  I'm going to use those as my group names next year. 
1. Jelly fish
2. Gorilla
3. Cat
4. Bear
5. Bumble Bee
6. Whale
7. Butterfly
8. Turtle
9. Walrus
10. Kangaroo
11. Bat
12. Penguin
(Pictures from
The first week of school each group will decide what they want to be.  I'll do a mini lesson on alliteration and have them spice up the names.  Their animals image is going to go on their cubby (magazine file).  I will identify the groups by their animal names in my planbook.  I'm currently in the process of adding more center type activities to my collection. I'm going to get bins for each group that will hold center activities that are appropriate for them. Each quarter I'll re-evaluate the activities in their bins. 

I also plan on using the group names as part of a positive behavior plan.  If a particular group is having a lot of behavior problems, I'm going to cut their group sign into X amount of pieces (x will be determined by age).  Each day the group will have the opportunity to earn the pieces of their sign back.  When the sign is complete, they will earn a prize (game day, reading outside, computer lab day).  I feel that this would be too much to manage for every group so as stated earlier, I will only be doing this with a group that has behavior problems. 

Depending on how you plan and organize materials that are coming up, you could also create folders with the group name/image on them to house future or daily materials for the group.  To me, this is easier and more fun that just colors.  If I like it, I'll be making permanent folders with the group images on them.  Make sure you have enough group names to fill all your time slots.  Currently, I am allowed 1 prep and a lunch.  There are 13 thirty minute time slots in my day where I can see kids.  When I take out my lunch and prep, I'm down to 11 time slots.  12 group names is enough for every group to be able to choose their name (even if they are only deciding between 2). 

I hope this gives you some ideas to think about!

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