First, we gather together for a 5-10 minute whole group lesson. I use the SMART board for these lessons and I have them laid out and ready to go (they come in a pdf version too). I go through the slides with the class. They contain discussion questions to introduce the topic we will be working on. At the end of the slides, there are 6 different activities they will do for each rotation. I provide just a visual of the activity. I use the visual to explain what they will be doing at each rotation.
After the whole group lesson, the students go to their first rotation. There are 5 total rotations. The 6th rotation is an open rotation for any time during math. I use a SMART notebook slide to designate where my students start. Then, I switch the slide approximately every 8 minutes for the next rotation.
At each station, you will find two tubs. I use yellow and orange tubs. The orange tub contains the activity they will be completing. The yellow tub is the turn-in tray for that activity. This keeps things nice and tidy for each rotation.
Let’s take a look at each part of Master Math!
Manipulatives are a must in a math program. In this rotation, we work on skills through movement. It can be moving math objects, building puzzles, or moving our body through a scoot activity. It is simply math with some sort of movement.
In apply skills, my students work on applying what they are learning by playing a game. Math games are a great way to learn math and have a little fun too. This station is a favorite. It really helps my students work on being kind, playing fair, and working together. Take a peek!
The small group is my station. This is where I sit and work with a group of 4-5 students at a time. It is a paper-pencil station where they work on the skills we are learning. This is where I can see first-hand if my students are understanding the concept. Not just one student, but my eyes are on ALL of my students daily. It is the best feedback I can get to guide my instruction. To say this is my favorite station is an understatement. I love the small-group interaction, the formative assessment, and watching them grow.
My students love technology. It is all around us so why not embrace it. It is also another avenue to reach your learners. In my classroom, we have Chrome books. I only need 5 at a time, although I do have more. During this time, my students work on either Google Slide activities or digital task cards call Boom Decks. They do prefer Boom Decks because they get instant feedback from them. Who doesn’t LOVE instant feedback? I also prefer Boom Decks because I also get a report on their progress. In my units, I offer both means of technology.
This rotation is an open rotation. Students are never sent to this rotation, but they can go when they finish any activity if they choose. I have also used the activities from enrichment during small group with my higher learners. Some years I have enough students to make an enrichment group. When they come to me, if they already know the small group material, we just do the enrichment. It varies from year to year.
The review rotation is a paper-pencil pencil center where students work on previously learned material. This rotation is SOOOO important. It keeps students fresh with learned material and it also helps those students who didn’t quite get it the first time. It’s like a second chance at mastery.
Here are Some Helpful Tips
1. I always color-code my worksheets when printing.
*small group is white*review is green
*enrichment is yellow
*apply skills are pink
* manipulatives blue
2. I always stick to my 8 minutes with a 2-minute transition time. If they don’t finish, it is ok. We do our best and move on.
3. At the last rotation, the students bring all materials in the two tubs over to an assigned area. Then, I go through and gather papers and replace the tubs for the next day’s activities.
4. I copy an entire chapter and have it all prepped by the day before beginning a unit.
5. I store all of my lesson plans in a binder.
6. I store all of my games and activities in a tub.
Did I mention that every math unit ends with an assessment and a cumulative project/craft? Since the assessment doesn’t take as long as Master Math, we add a little fun in at the end. Each unit is theme based so the project or craft is based on the theme. Here is a peek at a few.
Would you like to see the units covered in Master Math? Here are the different units I created using the Common Core State Standards for First Grade
l could never teach math in a whole group setting again. Not only do I love everything about Master Math, but my students do as well. They are upset on shortened days when we can’t fit it in. Guided Math has changed the way I teach math instruction for the better!
Read more blog posts about Guided Math lessons here: