Math groups are a great tool to use in your classroom. It’s a great way to see your students in a small group setting and it allows you to understand the mathematician in you classroom.
Small math groups are a relatively “newer” concept because counties are recognizing the importance of meeting with students in small groups on a daily basis. Of course teachers have been saying this for many years and people are just now starting to listen. If you are looking for ideas for math centers- check out some of my favorite math centers here!
What are some of the benefits of small math groups?
- Understand students more
- Less gaps in learnings
- Identify strengths and weaknesses in each skill
- Able to group by levels
- Scores will go up!
Yes, there may be more benefits, however, these are some of my favorite reasons why I love small math groups.
Understand Students More
This is huge for me because I want to know my students. Not just at an academic level but it also allows me to build up the trust and relationship with the students. I am able to ask about previous years, if they like the skill, and how they feel about the skill. I can build trust with them and help them understand that I am there to support their learning throughout the process.
Less Gaps In Learning
When I meet with students I am able to close any gaps in their learning. For example, I had a student that struggled with adding fractions with unlike denominators. I had to stop, reevaluate my teaching, look at what she knew and recognize that she didn’t know how to do basic adding fractions with like denominators. I was able to close the gap because I saw where she was lacking in the skill.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Identifying strengths and weaknesses is probably my favorite part. When I see a student that is REALLY good at a specific skill, I make sure I take a note on the skill they are strong in. Then if I see another student struggling, I send the successful student to strengthen the skill for the other student. Not only do I build up my relationship with that student, but I am also building up their confidence. I am showing my student that I believe in them and that they can help other students. I also am pushing my students to become that “level 4” on the scale. To me, a level 4 on a scale is when they can teach the skill.
Able to group by levels. Some people are against this but when it comes to math groups (guided math) I am a believer in it. We are in math rotations and not in strategy groups. The reason why I put them by level is because let’s say student A is really good at fractions and can finish the math problem in about a minute. Student B struggles with fractions and sees students A complete the math problem and then go off and complete the classwork. How does Student B feel? Are they going to be upset because they saw someone else get it right away? ABSOLUTELY. We need to build some of our students confidence and show them that they can complete the skill! Try to group students by levels so that they are the stars in their own groups and don’t think low of themselves.
Scores will go up!
Scores will go up. The more you see the students the more you are closing gaps. You are able to catch any simple mistakes that the students make. Instead of them making the mistakes right away and then you catch it when you check homework- you are now able to catch it during the small group. You are able to identify any small mistakes that they make during groups so when they go to complete the classwork or homework they won’t make those simple mistakes.
Need some ideas how to organize your math centers? You can check out this blog post about organizing your favorite math centers!