So much of our differentiation and ability to manage and sustain differentiated instruction for our students is dependent on our structure. I have some really high students this year, which is a far different scenario than I have ever had in the past. I have studied math rotations and guided math structures, but I wanted something really simple to manage, flexible, and highly engaging. I am loving my structure this year and truly feel like I am able to differentiate for all my students.
Structure of a Typical Day:
Number Talk (3-5 minutes): I display 3 equations, one at a time. The 3 equations are very similar so that students can apply strategies. The students share mental math strategies, and I record on the Smartboard. (7+7, 7 + 8, 7 + 9)
Mini-Lesson (10-15 minutes): The mini-lesson relates to the CC standards/learning target for the day. I model and actively engage my students with the content.
Formative Assessment (3-5 minutes): My students go back to their seats for a formative assessment and do fact practice on their iPads when they finish.
Math Workshop (30 minutes): I display a Slide with 3 differentiated activities listed. The children look to see which activity their name is listed below. I made is in SmartNotebook so that I can easily move their names each day based on the previous day’s formative assessment. I always start with my low group at the back table. Then, depending on the topic/activity, I will either facilitate learning among my middle/high group individually, in pairs, or in small groups. I often have my highest group engaging in a math task, and the best role I can take on for them is a facilitator role providing guiding questions or higher level thinking questions.
*When students finish their math workshop activity, they choose an activity off of a math menu for that unit.
Student Share (3-5): I often have a student share his/her problem-solving strategy related to one problem while the students eat snack.
This structure is flexible and truly gives majority of the math time for the children to either receive instruction, practice skills, or problem-solve at their level.
Here is one of my games offered on my students’ math menu for free- The Trash Can game! Students can practice place value skills in a fun, engaging format.
And one of my favorite activities… Make a Ten Strategy game! There are not enough activities out there for students to practice such an important skill. In this game, they can practice “making a ten” when they solve addition problems.