Small Group Activities

  Why small groups?

The small group format is important to the success of this intervention.  By forming groups (generally 7-8 children) of mixed abilities, the students with good handwriting and with confidence in writing can model for and support the students who are struggling.  Peer modeling and support are encouraged, but asking the students to share their handwriting work and by asking strong students to show other students how to form, align or size letters.

The small group format also allows the adult leader to provide feedback to individual students, model for individual students, monitor progress, reinforce students’ efforts and keep students engaged in their work.  The adult can give students individualized assistance, modeling for one, cuing or physically assisting others.  The small group format enables the instructor or therapist to carefully monitor the students’ performance, bring specific information about student performance to the planning meetings.

What activities are selected? 

Each station has a different goal:

  • To teach and practice cognitive strategies to learn, practice and generalize handwriting and writing skills.
  • To promote dexterity and motor planning to improve letter formation and legibility
  • To promote visual motor skills, thereby improving handwriting legibility and writing fluency.

The stations are described in Cognitive Strategies, Dexterity and Motor Planning, and Visual Motor Integration.

Procedures to forming and running the small groups

Following the letter formation instruction and practice, the instructors initiate the stations with small group 10 minute rotations.

  • It is recommended that the students be assigned a color corresponding to their group membership.  Corresponding laminated, colored name cards are helpful for the students, to occupational therapist and visiting teachers.
  • A timer is used to alert the class when it is time to rotate to a new station. The timer is set for 8 or 9 minutes, to allow 1 minute to rotate and set-up.  It is helpful if the instructors give a verbal warning about 1 minute before the timer alarms to support the students who may have a difficult time with transitions.
  • Transitions are smoother if the instructors have the students practice rotating between stations in response to the cue “change stations” prior to implementing the program.
  • Less time is lost during transitions if the students wait until rotation time to place completed projects and worksheets in their cubby.
  • Valuable observations about student performance and support needs can be collected by having the team make notes about student performance. These observation notes are then used during the planning meeting.

How are the activities selected? 

The activities for each station are determined by the occupational therapist and teachers during their weekly collaborative planning meeting.

  • The activities are those most appropriate to meet the students’ instructional needs.
  • The collaborative process allows for ongoing student assessment and instruction that is guided by student skill acquisition.
  • Activity descriptions and worksheets are available for each station using the links below:

cognitive strategies station

dexterity and motor planning station

visual motor integration and visual spatial station

 

 

 

 

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