Running Effective Math Groups: Practical Strategies for Teachers

Managing math groups in your classroom can be a game-changer for personalised learning and targeted instruction. But how do you set up and maintain runnning effective maths groups? We have 10 practical strategies for you!

 

“One of the best parts of maths groups is you get to meet with your students in a small group setting and really cater for their learning needs.” Alisha – Rainbow Sky Creations

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Maths groups are what changed our classrooms for the better, and we want that for you too. Let’s break it down and explore some practical strategies and tips to help you streamline the process and set you and your students up for Maths Group success:

 

Organising Your Math Groups

1. Maintain a List of Group Members

Keeping track of who is in each math group is crucial. Create a system that works for you and your students. Here’s how:

  • Laminated Charts: Consider making a laminated chart with each student’s name. This way, you can easily move students between groups as needed. 
  • Digital Option:If you prefer a digital approach, use your Interactive Whiteboard (IWB). Create slides with group names and student names. You can copy and paste these slides from week to week, making adjustments as necessary.

Maths group posters

2. Simple Group Naming

Don’t overcomplicate group names. Simple names work best. Consider using shapes, colours, or numbers to keep things clear and easy to remember.

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3. Keep Group Sizes Manageable

It’s essential to ensure that group sizes are manageable, especially in smaller classes. Try to limit each group to 8 students or fewer. Smaller groups allow for more personalised attention and focused instruction.

Alisha-working-with-student-using-uno-cards

4. Flexibility is Key

Remember that groups don’t always need to be perfectly even. Depending on your students’ needs, you might have groups of varying sizes. Flexibility is key to effective math group management.

We like to let students know at the beginning of the year that no group is set in stone, they may swap and switch according to their learning needs or topic. 

Hands-on Maths centreView activity here. 

5. Determining the Number of Groups

The number of groups you create depends on your class size and your goals. Generally, having 4 to 5 groups is a good number, allowing you to meet with every student within a week. This ensures that each student receives the attention they need to excel in math.

Maths planning - teachers desk Source: Canva

Running Effective Math Group Sessions

Once your groups are organised, it’s essential to run effective math group sessions. Here are some practical tips for doing just that:

 

1. Set Clear Objectives

Before each session, establish clear learning objectives for each group. What do you want your students to achieve during their time in the math group? Having a well-defined goal helps keep the session focused and productive.

Neutral WALT and WILF postersView these learning intention posters here. 

 

2. Rotate Group Roles

Assign rotating roles within each group, such as a timekeeper, a note-taker, and a group leader. This encourages student engagement and responsibility, ensuring that everyone actively participates.

Group roles sign - Source: Canva

 

3. Differentiated Instruction

Tailor your instruction to meet the diverse needs of each group. Provide challenging tasks for advanced students, extra support for struggling learners, and targeted practice for those in between.

Speed test booklets for fluency

 

4. Make it hands-on

Include a variety of hands-on activities and tasks for students while they aren’t working with you. Kids learn through play and we want Maths to be a fun and engaging time in the day for them. We like to have a stash of fluency games that students love on constant rotation. 

Free Place Value Wars Game FREEBIEAccess this game for FREE here. 

 

5. Regularly Assess Progress

Keep track of each student’s progress within their maths group. Periodically assess their understanding and adjust your instruction accordingly. This data-driven approach ensures that no student falls behind.

Rounding exit tickets


 

Running maths groups in your classroom doesn’t have to be complicated. With a well-organised system and thoughtful strategies, you can create a dynamic learning environment that caters to each student’s unique needs. 

 

Before you head off get your hands on our FREEBIE: 6 ways to create maths lessons students love!

6-ways-to-create-maths-lessons-students-love-freebie

 

What to read next:

10 Reasons why we LOVE Maths Groups

Top tips to teach Number Sense well

6 Strategies to plan Maths lessons that students LOVE

 

Rainbow Sky Creations blog

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