Focus on Five: Math Activities During Small Groups

Teaching students how to do different activities and tasks during small group instruction is essential for being able to have uninterrupted, direct instruction with all students. I taught students the activities they would be working on during reading small group instruction, which made it easier to teach students the choices for math time. Here are 5 activities students work on during math time…

1. Math Meeting

Math Meeting is a great activity to have a staff member run while you see small groups. It is repetitive, predictable and leveled to meet the needs of a variety of students. Before I added it to part of my math activities, I trained staff and taught students how Math Meeting works. For a couple of weeks, I was running Math Meetings simultaneously in order to get students and staff used to the routines and procedures. This also gave me time to make any adjustments so that I would be able to run small groups uninterrupted such as creating a non-writing version, selecting the proper worksheets for students and even teaching some students how to do Math Meeting independently.  

2. Computer

Since the pandemic, I have been making an effort to use computers more in the classroom so that students learn how to use different educational websites and apps independently. During math time, I have some students using XtraMath, which is a free site that teaches students math facts using repetition and time delay.  Almost all of my students use SplashLearn, a site where students can practice basic math skills, including counting and number sense. For my emerging students, I have them use Boom Cards to practice math skills.

3. Math Written Work

During our reading small groups, students do reading written work, so teaching the procedures for Math Written Work was smooth. I use The Autism Helper’s Math Leveled Daily Curriculum for most of my students, including Level 0.5. I choose the work at their current independent level, which is below their instructional level. Some of my students are not yet able to do written work independently, so I plan on  incorporating when teaching small groups so more students are able to do math written work independently. Additionally, I use math file folders for students who are still learning to do written work or if writing is labor intensive for that student. 

4. Math Games

Learning games were part of the activities I set up for students while I teach reading small groups, so it was easy to explain the procedures on how to take out, play the game and put it away. I have the lower part of the shelf for math games and taught students that the bottom shelf was for math games. The biggest challenge is making sure they are playing the games correctly, but I did have time before I started math small groups to go around and make sure that students and staff understood the procedures. I try to rotate the games as much as possible and encourage students to pick different games, rather than the same game each time.

5. Tasks

I originally had tasks as part of our reading time activities, but I realized we had a lot of choices, so I moved them to math time. I took time to go through the tasks and make sure that they were appropriate and aligned with the skills of my current students. I do still have some reading tasks included, but I think that’s okay, especially because we have reading before math. For more about math tasks for task boxes, check out My Favorite Tasks from the Math Work Task Mega Pack.

6. Manipulatives

I know it’s Focus on Five, but I had another activity that I wanted to share. Pre-pandemic, I was working on teaching students how to use math manipulatives and flashcards to practice skills independently or with a partner. My hope is to be able to teach all groups a self-checking activity using manipulatives and flashcards during teacher time, so I can add manipulatives to their activity choices.

I hope this gave you some ideas and inspiration for math activities for your classroom. For more ideas, check out My Favorite Resources to Teach Math and Math Themes for Each Day of the WeekStay healthy and safe!

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