Whether you are a teacher wanting to use this magic even during centers / intervention groups, or whether you're a specialist who works specifically with small groups, you'll find there are lots of ways to use WBT, and use it effectively.
I am a Gifted and Talented specialist at two elementary schools, and I work primarily with small-groups during pull-out sessions. My caseload is approx. 75 kids total, with my largest group being 22 students and my smallest group being 6 students. At first, it felt a bit silly using WBT methods with small groups... there just isn't the same energy, is there? But, through trial and error, and some painful awkward silences... I've discovered that if I keep these things in mind, I can make WBT work magic on ANY group, particularly my small ones:
- Keep a portable whiteboard. This way I can sit with a small group and still utilize the Scoreboard wherever I am in the room.
- Remember that 'energy' does not necessarily equal 'volume'. You simply won't get that loud, chattery buzz that you get with a room of 30 kids, but you can still encourage high-energy. Energy is in the body, the face, the tone of voice. In fact, it's fantastic, because I find I can REALLY listen to what my kids are saying, and nobody 'slacks' because they know I can see every single one of them. Oh-Yeah!!
- Play them against each other! Yes... we are so devious. What better way to motivate a group of students than to suggest another group may be outdoing them? Have them choose names, mascots, whatever... just like table groups except THIS time, you're in control. You can choose to dangle the carrot, "The Jaguars were amazing this morning... you should have seen them... I don't know if I can give out any points until I see something that out-does the energy that those Jaguars gave me..." or not. You are in control.
- Be patient. Do not decide it is or isn't working until you've been consistent for an entire month. At first, it will not 'feel' like the videos you see, or like the big groups you are used to. At first, it will feel awkward, both to you, and to them...but the key is, you don't show it! Don't let them see if you're thinking, "This sounds so dumb with only 4 kids..." If I learned any lessons in 7 years teaching, it has been that *I* control EVERYTHING in the classroom! The mood, the energy-level, the buy-in... you name it.
- Use student leaders. This is a fabulous opportunity to train leaders who would otherwise be too shy in a large class, but have the qualities of a leader. The smaller the group, the more students respond to the leadership within the group, so capitalize on that opportunity and consistently use your leaders. Soon, you'll have small groups that are.... wait for it... running themselves!! Can I getta' Hallelujah!!?