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Using Developmental Grouping for Math Workshop

By Beth Newingham on April 23, 2013
  • Grades: 3–5

In the past, I taught my math lessons as an entirely "whole-class" event. I found myself at the front of the classroom teaching while my students sat at their desks trying to understand the new concepts. There were always some students who found the lesson too easy and, likely out of boredom, tried to do the work before I even finished teaching the lesson.

On the other hand, there were also those students who struggled to understand the concepts and felt lost unless I stopped teaching and went to their individual desks to help them. For these reasons, I found that teaching math was frustrating. I was never able to meet the needs of all of my students.

That is when my teaching partner suggested we do Math Workshop after attending Alice Murphy's  professional development seminar. I have no idea why I had not been doing this all along! I am so passionate about Reading and Writing Workshops because I can provide my students with the differentiated instruction that is so important in elementary school. Math Workshop now allows me to do the same thing, as I use developmental grouping to differentiate my daily instruction.

Visit Alice's Math Workshop Web site to find detailed information about Math Workshop, as well as Everyday Mathematics lesson plans for using this approach in your classroom. You will also find her contact information so that you can invite her to train teachers at your school or in your district.

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