Math Rotations – Teacher Time Ideas


The four components of my Math Rotations are Teacher Time, Seat Work, Tech Time, and Game. Today’s post will share some ideas with you for activities and things I do with my students during the small group teacher time portion of Math Rotations. I do not do each of these activities listed below every day.  I do what fits the skill and standard I’m teaching, what fits the level of the group I am working with, and try to give teacher time variety so we’re not doing the exact same thing each day. The main goal of Teacher Time is to teach that day’s skill to each group with differentiated instruction at their level.

Before I get into my ideas I have to tell you that I love teacher time.  This is one of my favorite times of the school day. I love being able to work with a small group and have great math discussions with them.  I also love how I can modify the lesson as I’m teaching it to them to fit their needs.

Story Problems:

I love using story problems in general and have done many blog posts about my love for them and tips for using them. I also like to use them during teacher time.  Story problems can apply to so many different math skills and it helps give context to the skill.  I will often use story problems during small group for students to solve. Students will solve it on the white board or a white board table and then share their strategy with the group. This works well because it not only gives kids practice working on the math skill, but also communicating their thinking and strategies to others.  I will often use story problems with each group, but will differentiate the numbers to fit the needs of the group. 

CGI/Number Talks:

As I mentioned in my Mini-Lesson post CGI and Number Talks are a great way to practice math skills and get kids talking about math. I will sometimes do a Number Talk with my small group. I will follow the same steps as a whole group Number Talk, but the nice thing is each child in the group will be able to share their strategy (since there are only a few kids in a group as a opposed to the whole class in a whole group lesson).  Number Talks can also lead to great discussions about noticing similarities and differences with strategies.  It can also be a time to go over and discuss math misconceptions too.

Math Curriculum Resource:

Teacher Time is another time that you can use activities or practice from your math curriculum.  In the past I have taught with enVisions and Investigations.  I do not always use pages from their books for small group time, but sometimes they fit in very well.  The enVisions series is already differentiated a bit for you, so I would often use the re-teaching page with my struggling group, the practice page with my on-level group/s, and the enrichment page with my challenge group/s. We also had some awesome hands-on lessons and activities from the Investigation series.  Below you’ll see pages from their line plot unit that we did during small group instruction. 

Special Projects:

Special projects are always fun and math special projects are no exception. I would use these as a challenge for my students who were ready to be pushed and could work on it with me, but also were able to work on it a little bit independently.  I have found some great enrichment projects on TPT that the kids loved working on.  We would meet and go over it and then they would work on it with their group during Seat Work time. Then, the following day we would review their work and discuss.

If you missed my past posts from my Math Rotations Blog Series, click below…

Check back Sunday for ideas for Seat Work.

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