Strategy Groups

Flexible Grouping

UDL 3.3 UDL 5.3

Strategy Groups are student-centered small groups where a teacher meets with 3-5 students who need support with a specific strategy or skill, regardless if students are performing at different instructional levels. Strategy Groups are designed to be flexible (e.g., no set number of meetings) and students move in and out of groups frequently as students begin to independently apply strategies and shift to focus on new ones. Before conducting Strategy Groups, a teacher uses informal observations and formal assessments to determine individual student needs and target skill groups. Next, the teacher provides each group with explicit instruction in a single target area (i.e. area of growth), and the group applies the strategy through repeated practice using independent level content to help remediate that skill for each student.

Implementation Tips

Forming Strategy Groups
Form groups using a [[ | planning sheet ]] to create an outline (e.g., making sure each student is in a group that reflects an area of weakness). Use a separate sheet for each content area when planning explicit remediation of one specific strategy/skill for each group.
Group Planning
Plan to meet with 1-2 Strategy Groups a day for a given content area while the rest of the class engages in independent practice. Each group lesson should last no more than 10-15 minutes. Groups should be reformed frequently after students begin to demonstrate mastery.
Conducting Strategy Groups
Conduct each group lesson by first teaching and modeling the explicit skill (e.g., making inferences, multiplying fractions, including dialogue in writing). After, give students opportunities for individualized repeated practice of the skill to assist each learner.
Monitoring Groups
Avoid placing more than 4-5 students in a Strategy Group. Create a duplicate Strategy Group that focuses on the same specific target skill if necessary within two smaller groups. Although some students will likely need remediation in several areas, do not teach several skills within one Strategy Group.
Provide Feedback
Provide feedback to support students while engaging in repeated practice of the skill (e.g., “I noticed how you used your summarizing bookmark to check your response.” / “If you feel confused, think about what steps were needed when the sample was modeled.”) Make sure students have enough time to practice the desired outcome of the skill.
Making It Memorable
Make Strategy Group target skills memorable by presenting concepts in an interactive and meaningful way to students (e.g., incorporate the use of manipulatives, tool cards, sticky notes). Students should be expected to utilize materials with minimal distractions while working in the small group.
Tracking Progress
Track student progress during Strategy Group lessons using anecdotal notes or a checklist to monitor growth (e.g., Not Yet, Starting To, Mastered Skill). To build motivation, give students a [[ | self-monitoring checklist ]] or a [[ | reflection response sheet ]] to promote success.


Differentiating Student Groups
To diversify ability-based reading groups, a teacher creates a Strategy Group of students with varied reading abilities that individually need to strengthen retelling skills. First, the teacher reteaches key story elements and then models how to use a [[ | Roll & Retell ]] activity to practice retelling (e.g., roll the dice, read the prompt, verbalize/record each response). After, each student is given a copy of the activity and dice to use while they practice retelling a previously read text from their independent book baggies. Students then retell additional independent texts using the Roll & Retell activity to reinforce the strategy.
Tailoring Instruction to Meet Individual Student Needs
While analyzing students’ independent writing pieces in the middle of a narrative writing unit, a teacher creates Strategy Groups to address and support class-wide needs. Using daily observations and individual writing drafts, the teacher places each student into a small group that best fits their biggest area of remedial support (e.g., idea development, voice, adding supporting details, organization). Next, the teacher uses a [[ | Writer’s Workshop Planning Sheet ]] to establish when each group will be met with over the course of the week. After group lessons have been conducted, the teacher uses observations and student reflections to maintain or reestablish groups.

Related Strategies