I have improved with differentiating instruction for reading and language arts, but I still have a difficult time doing so for math. I do direct instruction as a whole group, then we do the practice pages. I sometimes pull my strugglers, or just go straight to them, but I know this isn't enough. Advice? I know some of you do math centers, but I really don't know how to work those in. I was thinking maybe I can divide the students based on their abilities so after direct instruction that can do practice work based on their level, but I am not sure how to put this together.

I give my students a pretest on the chapter I will be covering. Students that pass with 90% or above receive a math "contract" which is a series of high level worksheets and activities. I may incorporate more word problems or give them the challenge worksheets from the curriculum, for example. I pull these students just as I would my struggling students.

I do math centers three days a week and direct instruction with everyday math the other two days. I use the games on the direct instruction days and make sure to check in with my struggling students then.

I have an hour for math. Last year, I did 30 minutes of whole group, 30 minutes practice. I lost the kids in the whole group a lot of the time. With the suggestions and ideas from AtoZ members, I decided to try a workshop format... and I'm loving it! I have three groups, three rotations. 1) Lesson with teacher 2) Independent practice- worksheet on skill 3) Math Game I have such a diverse spread of kids this year, this is the best thing that I could have done!

Last year I did a 10 minute mini lesson whole group, then 3 rotations: meet with me, seatwork, math game. This year I changed it a bit - I have 4 rotations, but they only do 2 each day. So we have a Monday/Tuesday rotation, Wednesday is our required quiz, finishing work, and centers, and a Thursday/Friday rotation. So the 4 groups are 1)meet with me 2)this week's math game 3) individualized seatwork 4)last week's math game Each student has a individual math folder for practice pages - my higher kids have deeper critical thinking problems, my lower kids have extra review of the basic ideas. But we are all on the same concept (if that makes any sense...). So right now we are all working on addition story problems, but I level the seatwork according to the kids' needs. It is actually working REALLY well - it is a bit of work to plan out, but so worth it when the kids are THANKING me for it!

Question about the workshop/math rotations. If a group of kids goes to independant practice before they rotate to meet with you do you give them review work since they have not yet had instruction on what you are teaching during "meet with me" time yet?

I like these ideas. However, is it possible to give challenge pages and/or practice pages without making copies? (sorry another vent) We have just been notified we get 1000 copies a month. This includes using school paper, our own paper, and transparencies.

Do you have student computers in your classroom? You could make powerpoint files for the kids to work off of... Write out task cards and have the kids solve on notebook paper You could print off one copy and put it in page protectors... use dry erase markers... I use a lot of the workbook pages that the district decided they *had* to buy us. I put those in because I feel guilty not using things that cost so much $$$... Take out seatwork as a center and just make 3 hands-on rotations. Adjust the games or activities to meet each group's needs?

ahhh Thank you for the ideas! (No, we don't have student computers. Only a computer lab that doesn't work half the time and can only hold 22 of my 30 students) Question off the centers: If you have a group with you and a group doing math games what about the group that is supposed to do independent practice? If it's the 1st rotation, do you send your higher kids that will "get it" and can then come back with you to check on it? Or do you have the 1st group do a review practice and then after they do whole group with you they do the independent practice on that topic?

Whatever independent work I have going, either at seatwork or centers, is something I already taught. So, I usually teach 1 game a week, reinforcing whatever we are learning, so that they are independent with. Any paperwork is from a previous lesson/concept. So today, kids were working on lesson 2-5 with me. At seatwork, they were working on practice pages from lessons 2-1 through 2-4. I have it all in 3 prong folders so they can go at their own pace - I don't want to punish child A for working slowly if he was working the whole time, or have child B finished and bored after 2 minutes. They all have enough work in their folders to be working the entire rotation (15-20 minutes).

I do the workstation/small group rotation as well. After about a 20 minute whole group lesson, the students break out into workstations. Then I pull kids to work with me. We are often working on basic math skills-like now we're doing addition and subtraction. In the lower small groups we are working with manipulatives to combine and separate one by one. The higher groups I'm doing like the hiding activity-where I have 10 bears and hide some under the bowl, they have to figure out how many based on how many are left-higher level of addition/subtraction. I'm just not a worksheet person at all-I know they have to put it on paper eventually to transfer and apply it, but it's not a daily occurance in my class. My workstations are all hands-on activities with task cards as dannysnanny mentioned.

Wow! These are great ideas. Thanks so much. I am going to see what I can pull together. I need to change something because I don't feel my current way of teaching them math is as effective.

Kinder, Where do you get your workstations? Are they Math their Way stations? Do they choose, or do you tell them which to do? Thanks.

Some come from Kathy Richardson which is very similar to Math Their Way (she used to work for them ). Sometimes I just make them up based on our objectives. Like right now we're working on addition/subtraction so one group has dry erase boards and 2 big number cubes-they roll and write down the number sentence and answer-not a lot of prep for me. I love the company Didax-I order things from them too often but they have some good critical thinking activities-like pattern block sudoku. I put out the stations for the day because I vary them often during the week, but they can choose where they work and just move on when they've completed it.

There are several things you can try. If you do have access to computers, get your principal to check on getting Classworks Gold and Study Island. These two programs are web-based and great. You can individualize assignments, and nobody knows what the other is doing. Classworks will actually create an ILP for each student. Another suggestion is peer-tutoring. If you need more, let me know. Luck to you.

Math Before every unit I give a pre test. I then group students based on this pre test results. This week was graphs. The students that didn't grasp the concept met with me. The other students worked on the computer (I have 5 desktops and 20 laptops). They did studyisland, ixl, am, book work task cards and a project. I also have a tutor in my room for 30 minutes that works on previously taught concepts. Nothing like spiraling back for mastery. My advice is just to start. When I first started years ago, that's what I did. I didn't have anyone to turn to for advice. There are no right or wrong answers. I just saw the need to have small groups for math. In Literacy, I do weekly menus, so I do the same for Math.

Can you tell me about your weekly menus? I have decided for sure I will be starting, and I will start this week. We are starting a new chapter, so I think it is the perfect place to start. I believe there is a pretest, but I have to check. If not, I will create one because I want to put my kids where they belong. I have not quite figured out the details of how I am going to work the centers, but I am thinking to take the advice from here. I will probably do 1 group with me, one group that works on practice sheets, and a hands-on group. I am not 100% big on worksheets, but I see the need for practice when it comes to math, and the need for hands-on learning as well. I think this will be a good mix. Thanks to everyone for your great ideas. I already told my coordinator about my new plan for math. I am super excited.

What sort of things do you guys have in your hands-on math center? I am going to put some file folder games, but what else should I put??

Great ideas! I love this site! I am hoping to institute a learning system such as this when I get in the classroom!