I’ve heard all kinds of debate about whether to name leveled groups using colors, animals, etc. One year, my guided reading groups were all animals, which I didn’t think would be a problem. But I had a fellow teacher criticize my naming of groups because “6th graders are too old for animal groups.”
A friend showed me this idea that I really like. The reading groups were named after pets that the teacher had owned over the years. One of the pets was a dog named coco. The group wasn’t called “the Cocos”, but were called “Coco’s Team” or “Team Coco” so that the students were team members rather than animals. (Since the theme was pets, the teacher also chose a weekly “Top Dog Reader” to spotlight good work or improvement.)
I thought this would be a clever way to help your students get to know you while helping with the group naming situation. I’m definitely trying this in the future.
Have a great idea? Send it to me (squareheadteachers at gmail dot com) and I’ll post it so other teachers can benefit. Thanks!