Math Instruction (Long - but good!)

So it's funny how my favorite subject to teach teeters back and forth year after year.  Last year it was reading, but this year its definitely math.  I have finally come up with a system that works tremendously and allows me to hit multiple skills a week in a variety of settings:  small groups, whole groups, conferences, etc.  I've created a 'calendar' that I think shows what I do in the classroom.  I'm hoping it makes sense to others who don't know my classroom (like yourselves!) and other teachers at my school.  I might be asked to present this to the staff because my math scores are so high.  So please - any feedback on the 'calendar' and this post is greatly appreciated!!  Below is the picture of the 'calendar' - click on it to download.

So basically I teach 3 different math topics in one given week.  I have the Current Week's Skill, the Review Skill (a skill taught previously but that needs to be reviewed), and a skill from DesCartes on NWEA.  I teach math for 30 minutes in the morning and for 60 minutes in the afternoon.

In the A.M. on Monday - I give the classroom a whole group mini lesson over the review skill.  This skill is something we've learned in the past that needs to be reviewed OR its a skill I haven't taught that I think will be simple enough to teach in the matter of a few short lessons and some centers for practice.  For example:  this week - the review skill is fact families.

On Tuesday - Thursday in the A.M. I have 3 centers going that the students rotate through one a day.  The students are grouped by a goal strand RIT from NWEA.  The centers are as follows:

1.  Teacher led center using DesCartes from NWEA.  Since the students are grouped by an NWEA DesCartes goal strand, I am able to differentiate my center based on what the group I have needs.  Right now, my class is grouped based off of the computation goal strand on NWEA - so I have my high group working on 3 digit x 3 digit in multiplication, the average group working on 3 digit x 2 digit, and my lowest group working on 2 digit x 1 digit and facts.  All of this is laid out in DesCartes.

2.  Independent (sometimes group or partner) center over the Review Skill of the week.  Student usually turn in this work so I can check their progress

3.  Mountain Math/Mountain Language - if you're not familiar with this program you definitely need to check it out.  It's a great way to get in that spiral review!  Click HERE to check it out! This is done independently as well.

On Friday in the A.M.  I do one of two things.  If I think the entire class needs another lesson over the review skill - then I do another mini lesson.  If not - I conference with students one on one who I think need some one on one attention with the review skill.  Other students are doing some independent reading while I'm working with the students.

Now for the P.M. - GET READY!!!

Monday in the P.M.  - I do a whole group 60 minute lesson over the week's CURRENT skill.  For example - this week I introduced long division - so on Monday I modeled, modeled, modeled, this.  I always do some sort of I do (model), We do, and You do activity on Monday.  The You Do activity - the students do on their own.  Even though its a new skill - this gives me a chance to see what stuck and what didn't during that long lesson.  I collect the You Do activity and use this data to group my kids for the P.M centers.  If I see that a group of students understand the concept after a lesson on Monday, then they're put into the high group for the week so they can be pushed on.  Students who don't get it are put into the medium and low groups so they get more support during the week.

Tuesday - Thursday  in the P.M - I do a 30 minute review activity over the Current Skill.  Then the last 30 minutes are centers.

Here are how the centers go for the P.M. -

1.  Teacher led center over the current skill.  Since the students are grouped by the data I collected on Monday for how they grasped the concept - I am able to differentiate my activities during these three days.

2.  Independent (sometimes group or partner) center over the current skill.  I make sure this center is very basic for the current skill seeing is how its only the 2nd day we've worked on the current skill.  I am fortunate to have a Title One assistant who pushes in on Tuesdays during centers.  I put her with the low group on Tuesday for this center so they have some support during the independent current skill center.  With that - the 'lower' students on the skill are never alone during the week while working :)

3.  Independent (sometimes group or partner) center over the review skill.  Just like the center in the morning - same skill, just different activity!

I also have a Title One push in who comes in on Thursdays.  On Thursdays - the Title One pulls out students who are struggling with the REVIEW skill.  I use this as my LAST INTERVENTION.  If you think about it - the review skill is something they learned a few months past and should have mastered.  They are getting it this week in mini lessons and centers and for some reason still are not grasping the concept.  Therefore they are pulled out for a last resort intervention with the Title One specialist.  I choose the kids who go with the specialist based off of the leading data I take the week prior (see below about leading data) and based off of how they do during the week in their centers.

On Friday in the P.M. - I do a 30 minute review activity on the current skill.  Then I give their assessment for the week.

Assessment looks like this:

1 part is over the current skill
1 part is over the review skill we worked on this week
1 part is over NEXT week's review skill.

I use the 3rd part as leading data to see which students still remember this skill and which students have forgotten.  I keep a spreadsheet of red and green checks on the review skills to see who has it, who doesn't and who went from red (bad) to green (good) at the end of the week.  I hope that makes sense!  If it doesn't and you have questions - please let me know!!

Well, that's it!!  That's my math instruction.  I'm very proud of it and hope to see very high scores on NWEA in the Spring!!  I'll let you know if I do :)  Please let me know what you think or if you have any suggestions on what I'm doing!

Have a great week!


  1. I am just beginning something very similar as we are being encouraged to move towards a math workshop approach.

    I like the idea of using the Descartes data for grouping. I use pretest information for my grouping in a unit, but I think I will try to use the NWEA data to beef up other skills, as well.

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    Lifelong Learning

  2. Good Posting keep it up. Update more news

  3. This is great! I always struggle with fitting in my math cents and my lessons.... Do you do a calendar time? And I wonder what the rest of your daily schedule looks like... I'd like to see how you fit it all in! :)

  4. Katie - I do not do a Calendar time - the Mountain Math does something similar to that, minus the calendar. The rest of my schedule looks like this:

    8:10 - 9:45 - Reading
    9:45 - 10:30 - Homeroom (Math AM)
    10:30 - 11:10 - Specials
    11:15 - 12:25 - Lunch/Recess
    12:30 - 1:00 - Writing
    1:00 - 2:00 - Math
    2:00 - 2:30 - Math Success (not mentioned in post)
    2:30 - 2:45 - End of the day routine
    2:45 - Dismissal


  5. why do you do am/pm math?
    I have to split my math time up - our activity is in the middle of it - ha! The first part is whole group and when we come back, I do small groups. I love it!! I've never done it like this, but my kids and I are getting so much out of it!


Leave me some Lovin'!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...