For math I was in the same boat about managing small groups. I even wracked Beth's brain on how she manages this as well. Both of us rely on parent help to manage one of our groups, and that is an important factor.
For me, I do not use small groups every day. Monday-Wednesday I instruct whole group with a focus on hands-on, group work, and textbook free instruction. By Wednesday I make sure to provide a formal assessment to see how students are doing with our current skills. Based on this, I create 3 math groups for Thursday-Friday. Each rotation lasts 20 minutes, 1 hour total. Here is the actually small group plans from today:
Me: I reviewed comparing unlike fractions with one group, converting fractions into decimal and percentage without fraction strips or a calculator for another group, and adding unlike fractions for another group.
Parent Helper #1: The parent followed up with adding unlike fractions for the group that addressed it with me, reviewed division for another group, and introduced GCF and LCM for another group. Yes, I am that lucky...
Parent Helper #2: She used a decimal game found in a Singapore math manual (I provided it for her). She created all the materials needed for the game.
On Thursdays when I don't have a second parent, students usually through a computer site or complete independent practice at their desk. However, I have even had kids take a clock and go on a scavenger hunt around the school for geometry shapes, with the limit of being back within 20 minutes.
With all this said, it is MUCH easier than it looks here. Maybe I am lucky, but my students seem very open with telling me what they need help with each session. That makes my job a lot easier.
I hope that helps. Let me know if you have any other questions.
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