Monday, March 31, 2014

Flex Groupings

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

The students have been following these guidelines pretty well.  They seem to enjoy this strategy and when I missed a Monday (the day I have chosen to use this),  they asked me on the Tuesday if we could do “Monday math”.  So as a teacher I am seeing improvement with the students understanding, and they are enjoying the process as well.


  1. Hiya

    Could you please send me your assessment excels particularly the progress report? To please. Thank you.

    Your blog is amazing!

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Hi!
    I have read your entries and I think the content is superb. I like the way you teach your students in Mathematics class. You group them and it is a flexible group as they will learn with different people each week. The different group you use are Math in group, Math with teacher, Math with partner, Math on your own and Math with Technology. I am very interested in Math with technology as I think this is one of the best way in learning Mathematics. For your information I am studying at University of Education in Malaysia. I'm taking Bachelor of Science (Math) with Education. As a teacher-to-be, I think we need to use technology to make the students more understand about what they learn in class. For example in topic Integration we can use the GeoGebra to visualize the real concept of integration. We can show them how the graph is. We can show them how differentiation and integration is related. If you don't mind, can you share with me how far technology is being used in Mathematics education nowadays. Feel free to reply and I really appreciate it. Thank you :)

  4. your blog is amazing infused with lot of practical experience

  5. your blog is amazing infused with lot of practical experience

  6. Your experience really pays off. Your strategies are unique and can be applied in any tutorial center conducting Math classes.