6 pROCEDURES TO USE IN YOUR SMALL GROUPS
By Jon Belt
This year I stepped out of my comfort zone and took the recommendation of a coworker to start the year in pods.
What are pods you ask?
Just a fancy word for small groups.
This is a bit terrifying with sixth graders, but my goal this year was to step out of my comfort zone.
This is a BIG step.
I am the "Procedure Police," so when the teacher suggested the pods, I immediately said "Procedures Please?"
We then went to Dr. Google and just could not find something detailed and specific enough for FREE.
So we came up with our own.
You need to decide how many you want in your pods. I recommend no more then four per pod. Four is a good number because you can always use the phrase "Ask three then me." Meaning they can ask you a question, when they have asked three of their pod members.
I went all in with Pods, and started on the first day of class. The setup is pretty simple:
1. Groups of Four
2. Label the Pods
You can label the pods in different ways. Pod Numbers, Pod Colors, Pod Letters, Pod Superheroes, etc. Hang these above the pods on the ceiling in case the desks are moved during class time. When wrapping up they know where to center them back.
3. Supplies in the Pods
Dollar tree has some great resources for small baskets or plastic containers that can hold small supplies. These baskets can hold: highlighters, a big eraser, markers, colored pencils, etc. The baskets can go in the middle of each pod. If I want the students to put up/put in supplies on their desk I use the phrase "swish in" and "swish out." For example, "Swish in your pencils," or "Swish out your markers."
These roles were really fun to make, and our theme was a business pod.
1. CEO - The CEO is the spokesperson
2. Manager - The Manager keeps everyone on task
3. Quality Control - Quality Control is the supply person
4. Editor - The Editor edits and checks
Once you have gotten to know your students, you may want to assign them certain roles.
There are four cards in the basket with the role titles. They are to have these cards on their desk at all times to alleviate any confusion.
5. Practice Activities
There are some simple activities you can plan to give the "Pod People" some much needed practice. These activities could be organizing a dance, field trip, or reward system. They can have a ton of fun with these activities, and it will show you some holes that need repaired.
Just like many lesson plans that fall flat in our teaching career, pod activities/lessons will do the same. It will not always be perfect, and there will be frustrating pod people. Reflect on what did not work, and learn from the frustration.
Jon Belt lives in