Friday, March 8, 2013

Small group math

How many of you are already teaching math in small groups? I made the change 2 years ago and don't think I could go back now. I love teaching math in small groups.
Basically, I begin math each day with a short whole group lesson that either reviews a previously learned skill, or introduces a new one. Then we move into math stations which rotations us through 4 stations in a 60 minute block of time. Each station lasts for 12-13 minutes with a 1 minute clean up time between each station. 

Station 1 is guided math with me.  We review the whole group lesson and do a follow up, or exit card together. Doing this allows me and to see what each student needs and I can continue to reteach or provide enrichment.

Station 2 has targeted games that provide students with the opportunity to practice previously learned skills. I typically keep 3 or 4 games in that station box so students have a variety of choices.

Station 3 is a computer station and students are able to go to practice math on various websites. AbCya  is one of my favorite choices for them because it has so many targeted games at each grade level. Last year I only had 1 student computer, so station 3 was full of games as well but I made sure those games had follow up worksheets with them so students would have a more accountability. 

Station 4 is my math journal station where students work independently on one page of their journal at a time.  They bring their journal to my when they come to station 1 and I review and give them immediate feedback.   Math journaling is new for my class this year and it has been a great addition to Math Stations.  When they finish their journal page they can read one of the math books that is in the station 4 box.

I created a powerpoint slideshow to help me keep my center rotations on time each day.  The slideshow is set up with my student groups and automatically rotates the groups through and has a special sound alerting us when it is time to clean up and change to the next station.  I have 2 different math station slideshows available in my TPT store; plain and monster themed.   If you like those, please check out my guided reading powerpoint slideshows as well!  They are great for orgainizing your reading language arts centers and will even work for a variation on the Daily 5!

Monthly math journals are also available in my TPT store, so feel free to jump over there and check them out as well.
These are my math station boxes!  I have one that has a number 3 on it but I don't use it this year because I have 4 computers in my room and that became station 3!  These boxes are a great way for me to organize the games and keep everything together. You can also see my monthly math journals here.  As mentioned above, when students finish their journal entry they go into the station 4 box and read a math book.

 My friend over at Carrie’s Classroom has written all about small group math instruction and even has a great unit to get you started. 

Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend!!


  1. If I ever teach math again, this is the way to go! We have differentiated groups for reading, why not math?? Thanks for sharing your ideas.

    Hokie Teach

  2. Small groups are the way to go. Thank you for sharing your ideas and resources!
    Forever A Teacher, Forever A Learner

  3. You have inspired me! I've wanted to try it out but I only have a 50 min. block for math...your set up makes me think I may be able to try it. I have a small class this year-only 15, so I should only need three groups.
    Thanks for sharing, I'm a new follower.
    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  4. Awesome! Please let me know how it goes once you start! My advice is to keep your teacher group low key at first so you can bounce around and check on the other math stations. Also you might want to give your students a week or so to get used to the routine. I'm excited for you!
    Thanks for sharing!! I'm off to check out your blog now!!

  5. Can you give me details on how you do your math stations? I was going to do something similar by putting numbers on the tubs and place games and activities in the tubs. Would love to see how you display your board that tells the students what station they will be going to. Also, what math program do you teach? WE have Investigations Math. Thanks a bunch! Happy teaching!

  6. Hi Shan,

    I start my math with a whole group lesson everyday and then we go to small group math stations. I use my powerpoint math stations product to keep my kids rotating through the 4 math stations each day. The 4 stations are: computers, small group with me, math journal, and math games. So there is only 1 tub that I use for math station 3 (the center games station). Does that make sense? Also, my school uses the common core state standards but no specific math program.
    Thanks for asking. Please email me if you want to chat more about it. I LOVE using math stations!!