Welcome
to part 5 of my guided math series. So far we’ve discussed how to set up your
math block, I’ve shared a guided math breakdown, talked about establishing
procedures, and shared some of my favorite must have materials. You can check
out any of these posts by clicking on the links below.

Part 1: How to Set Up Your Math Block

Part 2: Guided Math Breakdown

Part 3: Establishing Procedures

Part 4: Must Have Materials

Part 2: Guided Math Breakdown

Part 3: Establishing Procedures

Part 4: Must Have Materials

Today
we are going to be talking about how to create functional stations that run
smoothly in your classroom by creating the right groups and we will also talk
about how you can differentiate your stations easily.

First
lets talk about student grouping. Here are somethings you need to decide.

**-How many groups are you going to have?**

You want to keep your groups small and manageable.

**-How many students do you want in each group?**

I have 5 groups and have no more than 6 students in
a group.Most of my groups have 4-5 students.

Remember
that

**Flexibility is Key!!!**You want to be able to easily move students to a different group throughout the year.
Now
how do I keep up with all this? I keep all of this information in my Guided Math Binder. Let me tell you now that I am a very Type B person but if I didn’t
use this, I would be lost. It is something I’ve had to make myself use and I’m
so much more organized for it. This binder includes several different group
page options from 4-6 groups.

I
use this organizer page along with sticky notes to keep track of my groups. I
write the group name in each box and then use small sticky notes with student
names so I can easily move names around when needed.

Now
lets talk about how to group students. There are two different ways to do this.

1:
Mixed Ability

2:
Same Ability

**What are the benefits of mixed ability grouping?**

--It allows students to peer teach. I often say that sometimes students
learn best from one another. They learn from each other and are motivated to
keep up with the group.

- -Different strengths and weaknesses are working together.

- -Teacher will pull kids from different stations to the small group
table.

**What are the benefits of same ability student grouping?**

- -Teacher can focus on instruction based on students individual needs.

- -You can provide tiered instruction to each group.

- -The teacher is a rotation during small group time rather than pulling
students away from different groups.

I
choose to group my students by same ability and then my stations are differentiated
to meet individual needs. Now I know what you must be thinking…how does she
differentiate. It’s really very simple.

Use
task cards with differentiated recording sheets. In the example shown below, I
have the exact same set of task cards but each group may be working on a
different place value skill.

I keep everything sorted by using a color system.
You can use any three colors you’d like. I use these:

Orange-
lower students

Green-
average students

Blue-
higher students

I
use these colored stickers to label each set of answer sheets. Each group knows
what color they are assigned too. This way each group is using the same set of
cards but each one is focusing on a different skill. This activity can be found
in my Back to School Math Stations pack or in the Yearly Bundle!

I
got tired of trying to find all these different activities that were the same
but also different for my students to work on. That’s when I took matters into
my own hands and started to create differentiated stations that would meet the
needs of all my students. All activities
include the same activity in three different levels.

I
run each activity off on a different set of colored paper. I buy the large packs on Amazon and they usually will last me most of the year. Again, orange is for
my lower students, green is average and blue is high.

In
my addition set orange (set 1) goes to sums of 10, green (set 2) goes to sums
of 15, and blue (set 3) goes to sums of 20. They can all be using the same set
of manipulatves or different ones.

Here
the activity is the same, it is just using different numbers. The same
recording sheet is used for all three.

Each
set is also labeled so even if they aren’t ran off on different colors, they won’t
get mixed up.

Here is a look into the subtraction set. I'm using the same three colored and they follow the same rules as the addition set. Set one covers the difference from 10, set two the difference from 15, and set 3 the difference from 20.

You can also easily differentiate with dice. I bought this set of Whiz dice a few years ago and love it. It comes with over 100 dice with numbers up to 100. For my lower groups they may be using regular dice where my middle groups my be using a 2 digit die and a 1 digit die and my higher groups using two 2 digit dice.

Here, I am doing the same activity with groups but they are working on two different levels.

Need
help with differentiation? Please feel free to e-mail me and I’ll be happy to
help. I hope this post gave you some insight on how to easily set up your
groups and differentiate your small group instruction.

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