So, the great group experiment?

Has hit a snag. The snag is one of two things: either groups just don't work for my first block, or my first block just doesn't work for groups. Either way? They're kaput.
I've learned from the experiment though. First off, never, ever, ever, ever (see how important this is) convince yourself that that you will be able to focus completely on the eight children who are supposed to be with you for the period and ignore the rest. Well, I suppose someone else could convince themselves of that without disaster, but I (and my class) really need me to be where I'm needed that day, not where I'm scheduled to be that day.

And trust me, needs? They rarely meet up with schedules.

On the plus side, I really love the curriculum I've been planning, so I've just tweaked it into a "lesson a day" format where we all work together. I'm really excited about the skills I'm teaching, but we just weren't learning enough being in groups everyday--and I'm not willing to sacrifice three days out of four on some sort of busywork to keep kids out of my hair.

I also re-discovered my love for my toughest kids. These kids were driving me absolutely crazy during the groupwork. They wouldn't sit still; they couldn't finish anything on time; they just weren't getting it. I was starting to get totally, completely, frustrated. And then I stopped my groups.

And I got my focused, lovely, occasionally snarky kids back. Thank god. I'd missed them.