3 Steps You Can Take to Improve Differentiated Math Instruction

Do you ever feel overwhelmed when it comes to differentiated math instruction for the entire class? It definitely can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be! Here are 3 steps you can take today to improve differentiated math instruction!

Text reads, "3 Steps You Can Take to Improve Differentiated Math Instruction"

Start Small With Differentiated Math

Start small and only change one thing at a time. Don’t try to tackle everything at once!

If you’re a new teacher who only has a little bit of experience, you might feel intimidated to teach math in multiple small groups. Instead of trying to tackle all of it at once, teach your whole group as you normally would. Then, get in the habit of pulling a small group of students to work with while the rest of your class is playing math centers. When you’re ready to start pulling groups, go slow and start with just two small groups and work your way to your ideal number!

I plan out all of my small groups using this Guided Math Rotations Binder!

Trust Your Instincts

You were given that teacher instinct for a reason, so make sure you trust it! When you think something is too hard or too easy for your students, don’t second guess yourself. You’re probably right!

One time I had a small group of students that always needed a challenge for their independent math work. I thought the work I chose was absolutely perfect, but once they started working, frustration set in. They were overwhelmed, and I couldn’t come over to help them because I was meeting with a different small group.

I swear by using independent work folders for each guided math small group! Each group has its own independent work at their just-right level!

I didn’t want them to be without work, but my gut told me I needed to give them something else. Like we have to do sometimes, I quickly announced to that group to bring me their work and told them we’d meet in our small group later to work through it. Then I sent them off to have extra math practice time on their iPads.

Teachers, don’t be afraid to scrap something you had planned for a small group and swap it with something else. You know your students and what they need, so trust your instincts

Divide and Conquer Planning Differentiated Math

Team up with your colleagues to divide and conquer. Sometimes finding resources or leveled activities can be hard!

Gif shows Jim and Darryl from the TV show The Office giving each other a fist bump just like when teachers help each other plan differentiated math. The text reads, "When you have a teacher bestie you can plan with."

Split the work with a colleague. Maybe your colleague finds activities for 3-digit place value while you search for 2-digit place value activities. Maybe you modify a math worksheet while your colleague modifies a math center!

If possible, don’t try to figure it out all on your own. I also like to use these Monthly No Prep Math pages that are already differentiated!

Free Differentiated Resource Toolkit

I know it can be so hard and time-consuming to find resources that are differentiated. That’s why I put together this FREE Differentiated Resource Toolkit filled with math centers, printables, and activities that come in multiple levels to make differentiation a breeze!

Want more tips & tricks on all things guided math? Check out this post to learn how I plan guided math workshop!

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