Last year I started a new way of teaching math... Math Workshop.
I got the idea from Beth Newingham. If you haven't ever checked out her website, I highly recommend it! There are many, many resources out there for math workshop... I just found hers to be the most simple and easy to implement.
In my class, I split my students into 3 groups. I had a high, low and middle group. I started the lesson with a quick mini lesson to introduce the topic. They were then in a rotation where they spent about 20 minutes either with me for the lesson, at a center practicing the new skill, or at their seat doing an assignment.
I found this process to be amazing! The kids really liked being able to switch what they were doing after 20 minutes rather than sitting through a lengthy lesson and workbook page. I also found that my lower students were more comfortable asking questions and telling me when they didn't get it, in the smaller group setting. I was also able to challenge my higher level students without losing a large population of my class.
Here is the order in which I would do my 60-75 minutes of math:
5-10 minutes: Intro to lesson through a video and short discussion. (Access that prior knowledge)
20 minutes: Low group with me, Middle group at the center, and high group at their seat.
20 minutes: Middle group with me, high group at the center, and low group working at their seat.
20 minutes: High group with me, low group at the center, and middle group at their seats.
The reason I followed this pattern is because I want to work with the low and middle group before they begin their assignment. The high group can usually get through the majority of it and then I can just reinforce and help with the areas that they are still struggling with. This then gives me time to extend the lesson higher for them. All the while, my low and middle groups get a chance to listen to my lesson and practice the skill to reinforce what has been taught before completing their assignment.
Like I said, I really liked this last year! I am going to do some tweaking this year though. I have a larger class this year so I think I will move to 4 groups. I saw a great idea on Clutter-Free Classroom. She has a great math workshop set-up you should check out with 4 groups! She even has a really cute MATH acronym I might have to use!
I think I will add another station so that I have 4: Lesson with me, assignment at your seat, math games(math facts mostly), and skill practice with manipulatives.
I am also going to include more writing! I am making part of their assignment each week to write in their math journals explaining how they did the new skill they learned. I am also going to use some foldables (where you fold a piece of paper with flaps complete with info written in and glue it into a notebook) I picked up at a workshop this summer!
So my new schedule would look more like this: (90 Minute Lesson)
15 Minutes: Intro to lesson (same as above)
15 minutes: Group A with me, Group B at the skill practice, Group C at games and Group D at their seat.
15 minutes: Group B with me, Group C at the skill practice, Group D at games and Group A at their seat.
15 minutes: Group C with me, Group D at the skill practice, Group A at games and Group B at their seat.
15 minutes: Group D with me, Group A at the skill practice, Group B at games and Group C at their seat.
15 Minutes: Wrap up, journals, answer questions, ask what they got out of the lesson.
So, this is my goal! I will keep you posted on how it goes! Next week I will post pictures of my classroom all decorated and ready for students!