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November Math Centers for 1st grade and 2nd grade
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How To Plan & Teach Math Interventions

Math, Small Groups & Math Centers

Written by: Krys Warstillo

So, like an academic progress detective you’ve done that hard part- you’ve identified where the learning gaps are for your students in math. You’ve pinpointed which standards need reinforcement – but what’s the next step? Once you have that data in your hands, what do you actually DO with it? It’s time for one of the best parts of the day… math interventions and small group work!

sample lesson plan including planning tools and hands on learning activities for math interventions

 Planning Math Interventions Around A Specific Goal

When planning math interventions we’re focusing on deeper, not wider knowledge. If you’re still in the assessment phase and are feeling stuck please read the post How To Use Math Assessment Data To Identify Math Gaps to help you figure out what those specific goals should be.

The tricky thing about math interventions is that every student is so different. This is where using frequently changing flexible small groups becomes important. Select one very specific skill to focus on and plan a mini-lesson around that skill. Then group the kids accordingly. If you’re interested in learning more about how flexible small groups help with differentiation and intentional instruction watch the video below.

Alright, you’ve completed a math screener, you’ve got a skill selected, and a group of students to work with. Now what? It’s time to get organized and collect everything we’ll need for teaching the mini-lesson. The Lucky Little Learners Small Group and Intervention Math Kit has several tools to make planning easy! 

Take a look at our suggestion for planning differentiated small group instruction in math in a simplified way for a deeper dive into how to use these goal-setting and planning tools to lead meaningful and effective math instruction.

hands on small group math activities for teaching place value and addition

Planning Effective Math Interventions

If you’ve been using our Small Group & Intervention Literacy Kit, then you’re familiar with the five parts to a strong intervention lesson:

  1. Set-Up (review and practice of skills already mastered)
  2. Teach (model and teach the new concept)
  3. Engage (teacher-led practice with the new concept)
  4. Practice (extended practice with the new concept)
  5. Show You Know (a quick check of skill progress/ mastery)

These five parts go hand in hand with the I Do, We Do, You Do model. Let’s walk through how to use these with a sample lesson on place value to the hundreds place.

planning pages for small group math lessons in 2nd grade

Set-Up & Teach (I Do)

Use the Small Group Lesson Plans from the Small Group & Intervention Math Kit:

For the first 3-5 minutes it’s a good idea to get kids warmed up with an activity that reviews previously mastered skills. To make transitions smoother, set the expectation that as kids arrive at the small group table, they grab the review activity out of a tub and get to work right away. This ensures nobody is sitting around getting antsy and that you’re taking full advantage of all that precious instructional time. 

place value mats for math interventions when kids are struggling to grasp place value and number sense

Place value mats with base ten blocks are an easy and quick review activity. Simply write 2-digit numbers on a board or give your students dice to roll so they can create their own. They can quietly build numbers to review. If you don’t have physical manipulatives you can grab printable base ten blocks in the Small Group & Intervention MATH Kit. (They’re also part of the Lucky Little Toolkit!) Another handy tool to have on hand for teaching in small groups is a mini anchor chart! If you want to save some money, here are step by step directions for making one!

individual paper base ten blocks for students reviewing place value skills in math

Engage & Practice (We Do)

The next 3-5 minutes are spent modeling and teaching the new concept. For this sample lesson, we’re introducing/re-introducing the hundreds place. You can continue using place value mats, base ten blocks, and work in some place value chips (these are also part of the Math Kit). Practice using the hundreds place with a hands-on activity like Place Value Popsicles. Work on this activity as a group and check in with each individual student to ensure understanding.

hands on place value popsicle sticks activity for math interventions
Download this activity

Show You Know (You Do)

You’ll want to spend the most time in the “practice” stage of the intervention lesson. We recommend around 15 minutes so your students have plenty of time to turn the new concept into a habit! Gradually release students to work on the Place Value Popsicle with a peer then independently to show mastery. 

have your students practice each skill they learned in math interventions for 15 minutes a day for the concept to turn into a habit

Conclude your math intervention lesson with a quick check for understanding. This doesn’t have to be a new activity. You can ask students to demonstrate the practice activity one last time without any teacher guidance.

The student data booklet has a page for demonstrating knowledge of place value to the hundreds place using base ten blocks.

If you want a different activity to assess or grade you can grab the Place Value Interactive Notebook activity or Place Value Toothy and have students complete it. Once you feel your students have achieved mastery and are ready to move on to their next skill celebrate by coloring in the smiley face for the, ” I can identify place value of 3-digit numbers” in their student data booklet. Every success is worth celebrating! 

Small Group and Intervention Math Kit Contents

Our Small Group & Intervention Math Kit has everything you need to plan and effectively teach small group math intervention lessons. Grab a sample of the kit for your classroom in the banner at the top of this post. Or, grab the whole kit below:

Download HERE

toothy task kits

Small Group and Intervention Math Kit

4 Comments

  1. Irina

    Hi there, I am a homeschooling mom. I like the Math Kit you offer. Is it possible to get it all printed out and laminated? I noticed you only seem to offer the Digital Product….

    Thank you

    Reply
    • Jess Dalrymple

      Hello, Irina! Thank you for your interest in our Small Group and Intervention Math Kit! This resource is only available as a digital file to download and print. Please let us know if we can answer any other questions!

      Reply
  2. Amanda

    Hi! I can’t find the link for the observation sheet freebie. Thanks!

    Reply

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Welcome, I’m Angie!

Hello there! I’m Angie Olson- a teacher, curriculum developer, educational blogger and owner of Lucky Little Learners.

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