I have attempted to teach math in small groups - it makes so much sense! I run into a problem though and wondered how you handle it. To figure out exactly where a student is and what challenge they need pertaining to a specific skill I have assumed I need to do a pre-test. We have a pre-test with our series but it is pretty long and takes awhile to do for each chapter. How do you handle finding their exact level for each math skill?
Thanks! I love your daily lesson break-down and I will be adapting it to my first grade class!
I am glad that you are giving small group math instruction a try. I think once you get the feel for it, you will love it. I can understand that your chapter pretests can take a while. When forming my groups in the beginning, I do a few informal assessments of basic skills to get a feel for the student's skills and how the child works. Once I start my groups I can quickly see if the pace is too fast or if the level is too hard and I move kids around. This movement continues throughout the year. In fact, I just switched 3 kids groups last week. Once I have the groups determined during my minilessons and their independent work I can start to see gaps and areas that I can challenge them. This would be a great time to give some of the pretests. If you have to follow your curriculum exactly, you can go much quicker through it with your higher group and find areas to extend the skills.
This year I am fortunate to pilot a kindergarten online MAPs (Measure of Academic Performance assessment from NWEA). This is another way I can determine skills to work on this year. I noticed after giving this assessment this year,I was right on with the grouping and skills of my students. That is one of the benefits of the small group teaching. You are able to understand your students skill level much better.
I hope this helps you out. Please let me know if you still have questions or if you need any support as you try out math groups. I am sure you will do great and your students will love it and be successful.
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