Lesson Formats

Depending on the classroom setup and needs of the student, option exist for whole group, small group, and one-on-one presentations.  Follow-up work for students having difficulty should be done one-on-one or in small groups when possible.

Whole Group Lessons

Using the floor or rug space, one ‘lead’ teacher presents the lesson to the large group, while the second teacher works in a ‘support role’.  All students have access to the same curriculum and interventions are integrated.

The share language and experience is necessary in advancing the student thinking and allows teachers to become aware of students’ progress.

Small Group Lessons

Using smaller work areas such as tables, work centers or floor spaces lessons are presented by one teacher to small groups of students.

Small group lessons allow for the same or differentiated lesson to be taught to different groups of students in the classroom, allowing for a smaller student-teacher ratio.

Individual/Partner Work

Using smaller work areas such as tables and work mats students work in groups of 1-3 students.  

Individual or Partner work typically builds off the whole group presentation and allows students to consolidate ideas using the cards in the Student Activity Pack (SAP) and materials from the shelf area.

While students are working on mats the role of the teacher is of an observer.  Ask questions of students and interrupt only when necessary.  Take notes on how the student(s) interact with the work and allocate time for more directed lessons that can be offered during other work times.


Grouping Students

Can’t decide how to group your students?  Embed a problem-solving task into a simple group activity.  Using the cards below assign sorting criteria let the kids explore and groups are created in no time.  Classroom routines that incorporate mathematical ideas are the best!


Organizing Student Materials

What materials are needed and how do we organize the materials?  The program comes with a deck of Mathodology playing cards and SAP for each student.  Below are ideas for organizing these materials.  Many of the manipulatives required for lessons are typical ones a teacher may already have on hand.  This manipulative list will give you an overview to what will be required to implement the program.  We have also set up links to some of our favorite materials below.

Student Playing Cards

Teachers have found it convenient to organize cards by type in bags or with rubber bands.  Students pick the set need for different activities.

Student Activity Pack (SAP)

File Bins are handy was to keep track of the Student Activity Pack and have them ready for the lesson ahead.

Building Shelves

Work that builds off the whole group presentation should be provided on shelves or centers available for independent practice or exploration.  Centers are introduced after group exploration as part of the guided practice segment of the lesson.  Center work for current practice can move to cumulative or extension shelves as needed.

Foster independence and a sense of responsibility by giving lessons on how to use and handle the materials.  It is an expectation of the student to return materials to the shelf in a manner ready for someone else to use.

Opportunities to select and engage in shelf work provide time for teachers to assess student interaction, conversation, independence, and perseverance on a task.  It is essential to integrate “I choose/ You choose” options through the course of a topic.

Ideas for Virtual Shelves

Shelf 1: Cumulative/Spiral Shelf

Work on this shelf is identified by the teacher through assessment.  Choose work that provides insights to student progress around a particular mathematical concept.  Be sure to change out activities while including activities that  appeal to students. 

Shelf 2: Current Practice Shelf

After the group presentation students practice concepts through play using materials in the Student Activity Pack (SAP).  Task performed during the practice phase of the lesson can be moved to the shelf for future exploration.  Choose tasks for the shelf that require more experience by the students, provide an assessment opportunity, or have become a classroom favorite.

Shelf 3: Extension Shelf

Work on this shelf includes materials that have not been explored by the class during group presentations.  Examples may include logic puzzles, board games and Task Cards.  Task cards can be downloaded from the Online Teacher Resources for each chapter.

Setting Up Shelves

Author, Cheri Garnder explains how shelves can foster independence and problem solving through thoughtful design and organization.

Early Routines

Beginning routines include defining work space. Students learn how to care for their environment and prepare their work mats for both individual and partner practice.