Guided Math / Math Workshop / Math Stations or whatever you want to call it, has the same goal and outcome.
Goal: To personalize math instruction for your students and to better meet their needs.
However, there are so many questions, misconceptions and fear when it comes to math workshop. I get it! I used to be there. So let's clear up some misconceptions today as I tell you about how I do math workshop and how I use my rotation board.
FAQ #1: Do you see all four groups everyday?
Absolutely not. In a perfect world where I teach Math for 2 hours, then yes. However, like most teachers we are only given anywhere between 60 - 90 minutes to teach Math. Therefore, in my class I only see 2 groups a day.
FAQ #2: Since you only see two groups a day, do you teach the same lesson twice?
No. The point of guided math groups is to identify key skills students are lacking or need enrichment in and target those. Therefore, I rarely teach the current skill in my guided math group. We use STAR Math as a math diagnostic assessment. I group my students and I teach needed skills based on STAR Math and/or Unit Pre-Assessment. If all students are on grade level and doing fairly well, then I reteach non proficient skills from previous unit assessment.
So yes, most of my groups are doing something different during small group.
FAQ #3: Is it ok to teach the current math skill during guided math?
Yes. While my lowest group is mostly working on prerequisite skills or previously taught skills. If they are all caught up, then I go ahead and work with them on the current skill. My on grade level students sometimes need support in the current skill so we work on that. My above group most likely has been taught the current skill before the rest of the class gets to it, therefore they are either working on the next grade level skill or an upcoming skill.
If all students are showing struggles with the current skill or at least 80% of the class are then I cut guided math for that day and focus in on the current skill with more practice as a whole group and work with them individually.
Remember guided math shouldn't be a skill that majority of the class needs.
FAQ #4: Can this be used with a basal math series?
Absolutely. You have to be selective in what portions of the series you use or think outside the box on how you use it. We use My Math. No, we do not have to adhere to the math book so that helps, however we do use a large portion of it. I will do a blog post on that as well.
FAQ #5: How do you keep track of your group rotations with two classes?
Yes. I am departmentalized. I teach two classes of Math and Science. Frightened me at first but I'm getting the hang of it. When I first started teaching two math classes, which was last school year, I had two rotations charts. It was a mess. I need to go to something that was simplified, didn't require a lot of work or changing out cards for two classes, twice a day, everyday. So I created the above chart.
The cupcakes die cut shapes on the side have both teachers name on it. My name and my partners name. I or a student rotate the cupcakes down each rotation. That way I always know what class is at what rotation. Most days the are the same, but of course things happen and some days aren't at the same pace. The next day, we just pick back up where we left off. No sweat.
I type out the students in the group on paper and tape both classes on these. That way admin, a sub and the students are always aware of what group they are in.
On these cards I write the activities that each class or each group is working on. (I'll be sure to write another post of differentiated math stations and I how I use this once school starts back).
So again, this rotation board is the bulk of my math block. It's useful for both classes. It works and the students enjoy it. It stays the same all year. I hope this helps. If you have any more questions, please leave them in the comment section below and I will address them.
Check it out here on TPT: