How to Lead Guided Math Groups

Guided Math Groups

How to Lead Guided Math Groups

Small group learning is very essential in 1st and 2nd Grade. It is a time when the teacher can meet with students in a smaller setting. These are the times where I would notice if a student was struggling with a concept or if they were almost there but needed extra guidance. I do not do Guided Math Groups every day though.








When deciding on doing Guided Math groups several factors come into play

  • How is the day going?
  • My energy level
  • How did yesterday’s lesson go?
  • Our school schedule that day
  • Are there behavior problems today

Small groups do take more energy and a little more planning on the teachers part.

I break my students into only 3 Groups. I have the circle, triangle and square groups.

  • Circle: below grade level kids
  • Triangle: on level kids
  • Square: above grade level

(I use that old Schoolhouse Rock Song to remember my groups “Circle, Triangle, Square”)

Here is how it looked like in my class. (Please Note: We had approximately 60 minutes for math)

Guided Math Groups

15 min: Class Math Game Click HERE for Various Math Games

These games focus usually on standards we have touched on before. They are designed to be a warm up, get students moving and it follows with the Spiral review concept.

5 min: counting practice: skip counting, rote counting, any type of counting that they may be
using in today’s lesson.

20 min: Rotation 1

Circle Group comes to me first. They need the most consistent help. I go through the math concepts using manipulatives. We work through it step by step using individual whiteboards or their own math papers (If you do not have white boards, scratch paper or white paper inside a sheet protector works as well). * I have a white board for each student in the class and they each have a marker. They are used daily! It is an absolute must in my book. In the small group, I am able to sit on the floor with the group and watch each student practice. When they are done, I circle a few to do on their own or have them do just the odd ones. I send them to their desk either one by one or as a group, to work on these.

Math Tool Kit Supplies

Meanwhile the Triangle Group is on the computers. Our school uses Zearn and Moby Max. Both of these programs have students
work within their math level.

The Square Group is working on their problem set/math lesson from the day before. When they finish, they can either go on available computer, do the math homework pages or do an ongoing math packets of review ( I just put together packets of past math papers, games and counting activities). I have also had them go onto a math game activity, if they can do it quietly.

12 -15 min: Rotation 2

The groups rotate: Circle Group continues to work on their math problems at their desk until they finish.

Triangle Group meets with me and Square Group goes onto computer.

With the Triangle Group, I may use manipulatives briefly (depending on the subject), and they need much less assistance. Once they “get it” or our time is up they return to their seat to work on their page.

Guided Math Groups

5-8 min: Rotation 3

Square Group is with me, Circle Group is on computers (if they finished their assignment).

The Square Group usually only needs a quick lesson or a check to make sure they understand.

Check for Understanding

Our check for understanding or debrief is everyone is back to their seat and I give them a problem, that is within the standard we worked on, to work out on their white board. I quickly loop the room and excuse those who finish to get lunch. Those who struggled, I note down for tomorrow.

I only allow students to go on computers if their lesson from the previous day and the current day are  finished.

Have you tried Guided Math Groups? How often do you do use them?

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Come check out our Fruit Loop Math Activity that is great for Back to School Assessments or just getting away from the math book routines. 

Check out our blog article on the Fruit Loop Math Activity to see how it will look in your classroom.

Have you ever used Math Tool Kits for your Math Manipulatives? Check out our blog article on how easy and inexpensive it is to use what you have and make a Math Tool Kit for each student in your classroom.


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1 Comment

  • math games July 22, 2019 at 2:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing those valuable tips

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