Time to Decide: Three or Four Math Groups

Math Workshop

Let’s take a look at different ways you can organize your math workshop block. The three versions below are just examples. You can always modify and come up with your own.

  • Three Groups (start here)
  • Four Groups (good for skill groups)
  • Extra Choice (24+ students)

Math Workshop - How to decided if you want to manage 3 or 4 math groups

Below I will write about two ways that I organize my math groups. I find that I start with version one during the beginning of school. I then gradually move to version two.

Version One

You teach the math lesson during whole group (students are at their desks). After the math lesson, students break into stations. (Teacher, Independent, Computer)

This is a great way to start, because math stations are short in this version. This makes it a perfect way to practice the routines of each math station. This is also a good choice if you have a math textbook you must use each day.

Notes: Whole group lessons lasts a maximum of 30 min. Each math rotation(3 per day) is no longer than 15 minutes.

Version Two

After students understand the expectations of each math station, we move on to version 2. In this version, I teach the math lesson during teacher time. Each math rotation lasts 20-25 minutes.

This is my personal favorite. I get to know my students well and can teach each lesson according to their needs. Some students might be ready for mulit-step word problems, while others might need me to slow down and review the basics.

Download the planning sheets here.

Math Workshop - How to decided if you want to manage 3 or 4 math groups Math Workshop - How to decided if you want to manage 3 or 4 math groups Math Workshop - How to decided if you want to manage 3 or 4 math groups

Math Workshop - How to decided if you want to manage 3 or 4 math groups

I find that four groups is a great way to create standards/skills focused math groups. I tend to switch to 4 groups when we are in our test-prep mode. This lasts for about 2 weeks before the big state test.

However, if you have a larger class size (18+ students) this works well as a framework for your regular math workshop block.

Click here to download everything you need to get started with 4 math groups.

Let’s take a look

You will NOT meet with every group if you decide on this version. For this reason, you should teach a whole-group lesson that is 20-30 minutes long.  Below is a look at how often you will meet with each small group.

guided math groups

Notes: Whole group lessons lasts a maximum of 30 min. Each math rotation (two per day) is  20 minutes.

 

 

Math Workshop - How to decided if you want to manage 3 or 4 math groups

I’ve had several teachers ask how I would organize math workshop if I had a large class size (24+ students). I have not had personal experience with this, but I will gladly share my thoughts with you.

I think you would have to take a totally different approach.

  • PART ONE
  • Mini-Lesson (5 min)
  • Break into STUDENT groups/teams (10 min)
  • Discuss (10 min)

During part one, the focus is on group work and discussion. You introduce the lesson with a word problem. Students are then given their own word problem to solve in their student groups or teams. After the timer rings, students must be ready to share with the class.

 

  • PART TWO
  • Mini-Lesson (5 min)
  • Math Group or Station (15 min)
  • Discuss (5 min)

During part two, you again use a word problem to continue the focus of the lesson. After the mini-lesson, you chose 6 students to meet with. The rest of the class will complete a math sort (or another math center of your choice). The key is that everyone must do the same activity for this station only. After the 15 minutes, you choice students to share with the class how they completed their math center.

 

  • PART THREE
  • Mini-Lesson as needed (5 min)
  • Math Group or Station (15 min)
  • Discuss (5 min)

Complete a mini-lesson as needed. You once again chose 6 students to meet with. This time, students will work on the computer for math stations. I realize that is a lot computers and would only work if you are a 1 to 1 classroom.

Notes: The only way this is going to work is if you keep track of which students you meet with. This way, you don’t overlook those students who need enrichment.

 

Math Workshop - How to decided if you want to manage 3 or 4 math groups

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Anne Post
    July 20, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    I have a couple of questions about your reading resources. On days with only 2 rotations, what does the 3rd group do? Are they the high group or do you change it up so you meet with them one day and 2 differnt groups on the next day?
    When you say you do the short comprehension test on Thursdays is that the “selection test”? Thank you I teach 4th grade and we use Wonders, I like the way you’ve done your schedule! Can you share your close reading tri-fold sheet?

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