Monday, April 18, 2011

Guided Math and Multi-age Classrooms

Multi-age, split, combination... call it what you want but anytime you have two or sometimes even more grades to teach, teaching math can be a challenge. This is the sole reason I developed and worked with guided-math.

As with any teacher teaching a singular grade, your group will differ from year to year. This year, my 3/4 split, is no exception.

In my traditional guided math format I prefer to do a whole group mini-lesson to start with. This mini-lesson usually will focus on the content that is going to be taught further that day in groups. Here lies my problem, with a split, I don't have the opportunity to do this mini-lesson, especially when I have two separate math curriculums to teach each day.

In previous years I have found that my group lesson was sufficient to get everything. This year, not so much. I was not getting that time I needed with students, who needed extra instruction to grasp the concept. So I had to rework my schedule to fit the needs of my students this year.

I am still doing four rounds of stations.  Here is my new modified schedule...



1st Round
2nd Round
3rd Round
4th Round
Group 1
(3rd Graders)
Teacher Lesson
All 3rd Grade
Individual Seat Work
Or Extra Group
Cards
Game
Group 2
(3rd Graders)
Teacher Lesson
All 3rd Grade
Individual Seat Work
Or Extra Group
Game
Cards
Group 3
(4th Graders)
Cards
Game
Teacher Lesson
All 4th Grade
Individual Seat Work
Or Extra Group
Group 4
(4th Graders)
Game
Cards
Teacher Lesson
All 4th Grade
Individual Seat Work
Or Extra Group


Notice that I now meet with all the 3rd Graders first round.  During this time I teach the main lesson for the day and begin the practice pages with them.  At the end of the 20 minutes, those students who grasp the concept can go on to round 2 and complete their practice pages at their seat.

For those who don't understand or need extra practice, will stay with me for an additional 20 minute group lesson.  During this time I am reviewing and reinforcing the lesson or reviewing previously learned concepts.  As soon as they get the grasp, I send them back to their seats.  I feel this way I am doubling my time with the students who need it the most.

I follow this same format when I meet with all of fourth grade 3rd round.  Every group still gets their 4 - 20 minute stations, just worked the schedule to meet the needs of my students.

Like I have said before, there is no one way to schedule guided math stations and set up groups. You have to make it work for the group of students you have. You know their needs and are the best to deciding what you need to do in order to have them succeed.