Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Now that my students have been using their roles within their reading groups for a few months, I have noticed several things. One - most of the students are working hard and doing their best, but I still have a few who can't seem to get it together. Two - the students who are on-task spend valuable time redirecting the other students.

Yesterday, I pulled my class to the carpet and we discussed what each role is and I modeled what a guided reading group should look like. I chose five other students to model a guided reading group with me and I gave them each a job. As a group we talked about what the roles were and how to do them to the best of our ability.

Today as my students entered the class, I timed how long it took before every child in the class had sat down and began their morning work. I was shocked that it took 15 minutes. I also wrote down notes about what early finishers did. Then it was time for a group discussion.  I told the class today I observed each students time-on-task, or T.O.T (as my students have named it).  I told them the day before I had video taped the class during their guided reading groups and I saw some students who were not on the same page as the rest of the group. I also saw students wasting time looking for supplies and many other things I was not pleased with. We had a good discussion about how much time we had lost yesterday and how that would never happen again. After going through all the procedures for entering the room and what to do when we finish early, I had the students go to their guided reading groups.

While groups began reading their chapter books, I sat out a flip camera to record each group. I could see the shock on the students faces and I walked around and set them up. After the groups had finished, I told them from now on each guided reading group would be recorded. I decided periodically I would pull these groups and let them watch their group. I have made a rubric for them to use to evaluate their time-on-task. I was so impressed at how much better they work. I was also impressed by how I was able to easily work with my group without having to worry about students who were off-task.

I created a poster today I am going to use to record students who were caught exemplifying what great time-on-task looks like. If you would like a free copy click the picture below or head on over to my professional development page. This page has tons of great free downloads!



  1. I would love to record our start of the day. Same dilemma...the strong students come in, follow the directions on the board and get working. Other students straggle in, sit motionless for a while, slowly do something and consequently, don't get the work finished.

  2. Suzy, it is so frustrating. I was surprised by what I learned!