Last semester at one of our division math PLC meetings, our math coach talked about Daily 5/Flex Groupings that some elementary teachers were trying in math. The idea was adapted from the Daily 3 or Daily 5 that is done with reading at the elementary level. I was intrigued by the idea, so researched it a little more and thought about how I might incorporate it into my math 9 class. I decided that I would try it in semester 2. I looked at the outcomes I had left to work through and decided I could afford to use Mondays as a flex grouping day. I figured we could use that time to review outcomes that needed work, based off of the data I was collecting.

So this semester I have started to use flex groupings in
my math 9 class. The students are split into groups, and these
groups are flexible, so each week they will be with different people. It depends on the outcome we are going to be
reviewing. I use the data I have collected
from assessments to group the students for that week. The different groups I may use are: math with a teacher, math with a partner,
math on your own, math in a group and math with technology. Depending on the topic to review and the
time necessary, I may have 3 – 4 rotations in a day. I will always use math with a teacher as one
of my groups. This is the most
beneficial one. I will usually group
students based off this group. Whichever
outcome we are working on, I look at my data and take the three or four “weakest” students
based on their data, and put them together, then the next three or four in
another group, etc. For the 12 – 15
minute rotation that they are with me we will work through one question at a
time and I can see what they are misunderstanding and we can talk about this
and find a way to help them understand better. It has been amazing how impactful this has
been. I have discovered with a couple
students, that what I deemed as “rushing through the work” and being careless,
was actually a misunderstanding about double negative signs. With other students, just having me sit
there as they worked through a couple of questions, discussing with them what they are
doing right and where they are making mistakes has helped them to
understand.

When they do math with a partner, I have deliberately
grouped them so that one partner is able to help the other partner. For the math by myself and math with
technology, it is more about reviewing and becoming more consistent with basic
math facts. The math with a group is
about problem solving and logical reasoning.

In order to do this, you need to teach the students
how each group is supposed to work. If I
need that 12-15 minutes with my students who are with a teacher, I can’t be
monitoring the rest of the class. As a
result, we “practiced” each group before we formally started this process. The guidelines we set up as a class are:

* Gather
& set up materials quickly and quietly

* Get
started right away

* Work
quietly

* Stay
in one spot

* Be
respectful of classmates

* Work
with math the whole time

* Build
your math stamina

* Grow
in your understanding of math

* Put
materials away quickly & quietly