Math Groups Revisited and Revised
Shortly after the school year began, I made a decision to divide my class into two groups for math. Both groups are working on the standards for fourth grade math, but one uses the traditional Houghton-Mifflin Math series, while the other is using Houghton-Mifflin Math Expressions. The two groups worked mostly independently of each other through the first semester and most of the second, but I essentially merged them together near the end of the second, when we started focusing on multiplication.
Now that we are done with our major focus on multiplication, we have begun our work on division of whole numbers. At the end of last week, I decided to reboot the math groups, and have come up with a new strategy for how I would work with them. I began this strategy today, and I am glad to report that it seemed to have worked pretty well.
For about an hour or so before lunch, I had one group work with a tutor in the library while the other group worked with me in direct instruction. After lunch, the groups switched places, except that I didn’t have a tutor to work with one of the groups. Still, I was able to work with both groups in direct instruction and allow them to work independently at opposite times.
My goal will be to follow this pattern each day (except Friday, when we use the time after lunch for Read, Write, Think. Friday’s will be a spiral review day, which is an idea I got from my very awesome Title I partner. I am excited to see how math instruction improves as a result of this grouping and scheduling. There may be times that I vary what the groups are doing, or which students are working with me or a tutor, but the goal will be the same: ensure that every student has an opportunity for small-group instructional time and independent practice each day.