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Sunday, July 17, 2011


Four Groups: Multigrade or Single Grade
Part A: Multigrade/Teacher Lead Small Group for One the Four Groups/Eighteen Minutes   1
 This third option can be used when you have two grade levels to teach. As an example, I will describe what would happen in a 3rd/4th Multigrade Class with an enrollment of 28 students.
You will begin by dividing your class into 4 groups: Two 3rd grade groups and two 4th grade groups.  This would make 4 groups of 7 students. The math textbook provided by your school district will be used in numeric order beginning at the first lesson-through the end of the book. Each grade level will receive instruction AT THEIR GRADE LEVEL. This means that you will teach a 3rd grade lesson and a 4th grade lesson two times each. You are probably thinking that you can't teach a lesson in this time, but remember that you only have one-fourth or your students in front of you at one time. Since there is such a small number you can keep them on track, especially when you place your most unattentive student right next to you at the kidney shaped table or small rectangular tables.
Your teacher guided math group will be located at the same place for all 4 groups, near you and a whiteboard or chalkboard, so they can hear your instruction and you can use any visual aids or manipulatives with them easily. (This is usually the same place that you teach your guided reading groups.) At this teaching station, you must have all of your teaching materials-teacher manual, manipulatives, calculators, worksheets, work to return, and individual whiteboard slates for BOTH GRADE LEVELS. I like to use a 4 drawer plastic storage unit. In the top 2 smaller drawers I place my grade level manual, worksheets for that grade, and work to be returned for that grade level for that week of instruction. In the lower two larger drawers I place all the manipulative that I will need for that week of instruction. I label the grade levels on the outside of the drawers. On top of the unit I place whiteboard slates, dry erase markers and socks to erase them, calculators, and some extra pencils for student use.

What are the other grade level three groups doing while you are teaching the first small guided math group?
The other students are rotating independently between three different activities which are 18 minutes in length with 1-2 minute passing time to the next group area.
Activity One:
 One-fourth of the students are working on finishing the assignment that you gave them, or a worksheet that you gave them today to do before you meet with them. If you use Everyday Math, they might be working independently on math boxes. Perhaps they are working with a manipulative that you have used with the group in the past during previous math lessons to practice certain skills.  Another idea is to use certain days to write about math learning. This time is to REVIEW, PRACTICE, RESPOND and EXPLORE. It is not a time to introduce new concepts.
Activity Two:
12 Math Stations, as described by Debbie Diller in her book “Math Stations,” will be set up for the students to use. These station boxes practice skills already learned in whole group that need more practice. With a partner or individually they obtain a station box and go to the area of the room that is labeled with that station number to work on the activity. Activities can contain the same activity for different grade levels. i.e. 3rd graders practice multiplication with one digit numbers, 4th graders do the same activity but will 2 digit numbers.

Activity Three:
If you are using the Everyday Math program, Everyday Math games will be played. The 2 or 3 games that are available have already been played and learned in whole group.  If you have purchased the Everyday Math games online, some students would play the games online depending how many computers you have.

Part A: Single Grade Level/ Teaching  Four Small Guided Math Groups/Repeating the lesson of the day
The process is the same as described above, with all four groups receiving the same lesson in a smaller group setting. If they all receive the same lesson, why teach it four times? 

Part B: Students move to their three independent math stations.
An auditory signal is used the last minute of instruction to signal the students to clean up their materials and get ready to move. Then a minute later the signal is rung twice and students move quietly to their next area. This must be modeled and taught to the students at the beginning of the year.  You must be FIRM about the behavior that you expect. State your expectation all year long…”I love how the students at the math stations worked with quiet voices today.” “I noticed how quickly everyone has their materials out and is ready to work.”  “I’m posting this quality assignment of Evan’s, since this is the quality I expect from all of you. Great job Evan.”
 What's the benefit of this grouping?
Each student receives instruction with grade appropriate materials but the size of the group is smaller than typical whole group instruction.  It’s easier to interact with them individually and see what they are doing as they work on their math. When you use manipulatives, you only need a smaller amount of the manipulatives, since you are working with 5-7 children at any one time.

Tests or short quizzes are given during this time too. Some quizzes can be given orally with students responding orally or on their whiteboard slates.

All students have time to practice and investigate concepts with math stations, to do their math assignment in class, and to play those Everyday Math games that practice skills and math facts. (or if you don’t have Everyday Math…just to practice those math facts).

What type of classes would this work with?
Multigrade classes.

Single grade classes dividing the number of students in four groups  (Guided Math). You teach the same lesson four times. I would not suggest placing students into high and low groups. Mix up the ability levels. There is better interaction in each group.

You can make one of the groups a lot smaller though, and place some of those struggling students in that group so you have more time with them and use more manipulatives than you normally would.

It is possible to have a lower/medium and a medium/high group, but you will not stay on the same lesson each day.  One group will work at a faster pace and you will need to plan different  lessons for different groups (this will drive you crazy).

80 min total/rotate each 18 min/2 min to change
Mixed Ability Groups
Most individualized
Time to do assignment in class
Stations for practice

My next posting will be a chart that show how the students rotate.

Benefit: Closest to individualizing

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