Back to School Basics: Guided Reading Groups and The Classroom Rug Seating Chart

For the first month or two of Kindergarten I carry on and keep children in "color groups" which are heterogenous ability groups. After I have assessed students and given them time to become familiar with class routines and teacher expectations, I sort them into "shape groups." These groups are homogenous ability groups (phonics and phonemic awareness). I make a hooplah out of it and get the kids excited. It motivates them to learn their new shape groups. I also change the classroom rug seating chart to structure what level student is near what level student.
Partner Talk
Classroom Rug Seating Chart - Ideal for Partner Talk
Rectangle Team is the High Group
Square Team is the Middle Group
Triangles are the Low Group
Circles are the Focus Group

This seating arrangement is ideal for Partner Talk during shared reading or writing! I have students in Row 2 and Row 4 turn to the person directly behind them to answer the questions I present to the group. This works well because it has students chatting with a partner who is not too far away from their literacy ability level. I still continue to use color groups simultaneously so that arrangement looks like this:
Classroom Rug Seating Chart
Homogenous and Heterogeneous Groups
Throughout the school year I change the Classroom rug seating chart various times throughout the school year. For certain, over each of the 4 Quarter breaks my district calendar has scheduled. This ensures that students don't get stuck in their shape groups and are allowed to move up or down to receive explicit instruction at their level. Here is my student list I keep in my Teacher Binder.
Kindergarten Teacher Binder
Guided Reading List
In addition to having my master list in my teacher binder, I post CHARTS of who is in which shape group so that children can learn their shape groups easier. But, most importantly, so that a substitute teacher or student teacher can easily see who is in which group. Yut!
Shape Groups
Guided Reading Groups
Shape Groups
Heterogeneous Grouping
Shape clipart from here. Border clipart from here.