Let’s talk about making a schedule for guided math small groups and rotations. If trying to figure out how to fit everything in is a struggle for you, you’re not alone!
It’s important to remember that teaching math in small groups is one of the most effective ways to differentiate instruction. This means that creating and planning a functional schedule is critical.
I’ve created a free resource that will help you set up your guided math schedule to get the most out of your entire block of math instruction.
If you’re brand new to starting guided math, be sure to check out my 3-part series on launching guided math. You can read part one here!
Before You Begin
There are a few important items you must determine before making a guided math schedule that will work in your classroom.
Total Time: I’ve designed sample schedules for 45, 60, and 75-minute math blocks.
Number of Small Groups: All examples include versions for 2, 3, or 4 small groups. I suggest no more than 6-9 students in each small group. (These group sizes are probably going to be a bit larger than small groups for reading.)
Goal: Meet with your small groups for 12-20 minutes each – I find 15 minutes to be the sweet spot!
Guided Math Schedule: 45-minute math block
While I do not suggest having a 45-minute math block, I’ve heard from teachers that 45 minutes is all they have to work with each day. For that reason, I created the chart below.
Because 45 minutes is on the shorter end of time constraints, I do not recommend trying to teach 4 small groups. After transitioning between rotations, students would only meet in small groups for 10 minutes in total. This is a recipe for frustration, chaos, and simply not enough time to cover material sufficiently.
Guided Math Schedule: 60-minute math block
If you have an entire hour dedicated to guided math, 3 small groups and 3 rotations is a great balanced schedule. This gives you plenty of time to begin with a short mini-lesson or number talk, spend 15 minutes in small groups, and end with a quick closure.
Guided Math Schedule: 75-minute math block
If you have 75 minutes, there is much more flexibility in your schedule. I included a schedule for 2 small groups; however, if you have a 75-minute block of time, I’d strongly suggest utilizing 3-4 small group rotations.
How Do Students Know Where To Go?
No matter how much time you have for guided math, students must know where to go for each rotation. When students don’t know where they’re supposed to be during guided math, the classroom can get chaotic and hectic quickly. Be proactive and give every student their own rotation chart so they know exactly where to be!
Free Scheduling “Cheat Sheet”
I’ve put together all the schedules from this post into one handy little “cheat sheet” for you to print. It also includes an additional planning page to help you figure out what rotations you’ll use in addition to teacher table.