Saturday, February 15, 2014

The "Observation" Chair

I tried out Jan Richardson's "observation chair" idea from Next Step to Guided Reading. I love this management trick. When someone has lost independence during the guided reading block, I spend a short time calling their name and "inviting" them to the observation chair. This area for me is a desk that is my right side but very close to the teaching table. The chair's name seems to literally invite kids to observe. Of course there are two students that are distractions to the teaching group in the observation chair. I don't invite them to the observation chair anymore. It has been extremely successful for one student (a frequent flyer that is now learning by observing the other group's instruction) and mildly successful for others (that don't have to return again). I also keep a listening center, portable CD player, handy, to give the child in the observation chair if the instruction is too far away from their instructional level. As the groups change stations, I can meet briefly with the child in the observation chair to encourage better choices. And, yes, I've had to use alternative observation chairs when the observation chair is in high demand. I write about this tongue and cheek, but behavioral needs continue to be the biggest obstacle for me in making the most of my instructional time (small group or otherwise). Anyone else have any tricks? I could still use more.