Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Grouping Students (and a completely unrelated freebie)

I'm linking up with Jivey today to share how I group my students for math workshop :-)

There are several options for grouping students when it comes to Math Workshop:

1.) Homogeneous grouping:  Keep students with similar ability levels together.  You might group students based on a pretest or beginning of year test or data from the previous school year. While you will probably change the groups throughout the year, you are still keeping students together based on their ability.  This type of grouping worked best for me when I did guided math.

2.)  Heterogeneous grouping:  This is the type of grouping I use this year.  I gave a pretest on Monday and then introduced groups on Tuesday for our first official lesson.  I took the students with the lowest six scores and created my group.  Then I took the highest four scores and assigned those students as table leaders.  Using the students who were left, I mixed them up and thought about their personalities and work habits as I created the groups.

Now in each group, except for mine, I have one student with a high score and a mix of students with different abilities.  When we move into groups, I remind the students at the other tables that they direct all of their questions to the table leader (the highest scoring student) before they ask me.  This leaves me free to focus my energy on the students who need the most assistance.

At the end of the topic, I use the data from the next test and pretest to create the new groups.  To be completely open, I've found that the students who are in my group are usually in my group for the entire year.  I'll have visitors to my group and I'll have graduates, but reflecting on the year as a whole, it's pretty much the same group all year.

I love this means of grouping my kiddos because it allows me to give the most attention to the students who need it.  Occasionally, I'll have students who need to visit my group for a few minutes of reteaching and I let them sit on the outskirts of my group until they feel confident to go off on their own.  I also love it because it helps foster leadership skills in the students who serve as table leader.

On an unrelated note, tomorrow is Talk Like a Pirate Day!  I had no idea this was a thing until I reader Hunter's Tales from Teaching's Peek at My Week Post!   I made this little pirate themed math practice for my kids that are having difficulty understanding the concept of division and the connection to multiplication.  It's probably third grade level, but upper elementary teachers might find it useful for click HERE to grab it.

I really do hope this was clear. I sat in a tough of traffic tonight and I'm SO tired.  But I have to stay awake because it's Meet the Teacher Night at my son's school!  I'm so excited to meet her and see the classroom!


  1. Thanks Sarah for the freebie and for the shout out! I am excited to for Talk Like a Pirate Day tomorrow so your math page will be perfect. Thank you!

    Hunter's Teaching Tales
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  2. Thanks for the freebie - this is great! I'm going to use it with my Math Intervention small group.
    Crafting Connections