Teaching whole group has its advantages and disadvantages. For math, the disadvantage is that as the math becomes more challenging, kids start to vary in their levels of understanding. Thus the idea to split math into two groups came to be. Working with a smaller group will allow more individualized instruction and can provide more insight into what each student knows.
Some second and third grade classes have great math centers/groups/rotations going. Since first graders are still developmentally not quite ready for high levels of independence, groups are challenging. I teach the first half of students while the other half are working on a review sheet of what was done yesterday and then move on to a math game, and then the two groups switch. In theory it sounds wonderful! And in reality some days are great! Often times I’m struggling with the first lesson and then teach it the second time around much more successfully.
There is a lot of effort going into figuring out which sheets and games kids can play. Since time is the most valuable resource that is available, sheets and games need to be relevant to the material and objectives being taught in math. If a worksheet or game is too challenging, kids cannot complete it independently, get distracted and cause noise, which reduces the effectiveness of the group concept. I’ve tried introducing DreamBox (an excellent online math program!) as a station for kids to go to as soon as their sheet is done, and it’s been an effective one. Will need to practice doing it more.
So far games the kids are playing are Pumpkin Patch, where they roll dice, add the partners, and move a counter to the total. Another game is five in a row bingo of rolling dice and placing counters. Some games can be played independently: having red/white counters, tossing them, writing down how many white/how many red, writing equation, and solving. Domino addition is fun: write the equation horizontally, then vertically. Plus a few other games that involve using dice, counters or dominos. For kids wanting an extra challenge, double dice are used. I’ll take pictures and insert them here so I’ll remember what the games looked like.