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5 Classroom Management Strategies For Whole Group Math and Literacy Activities

Do you feel like pulling your hair out when doing whole group math and literacy activities? It’s time to implement some classroom management strategies that will make your math activities and games engaging and fun.

Doing a whole group activity where kids are up and moving can end up being more stressful than fun.

It’s important to have some classroom management strategies in your back pocket when doing a whole group activity. The kids will have a lot of fun but so will the teacher. 

Let’s talk about some classroom management strategies for whole group activities.

classroom management set clear expectations with activity picture

Set Clear Expectations

Before you do any kind of whole-group literacy or math activity, it’s important to set clear expectations before you begin.

For example, if kids are working with partners what do you want them to do if a problem arises between them? Or what do you want kids to do if they are struggling with the activity or game?

Create a chart of expectations, write them on the board, or display them on the screen. Leave up the expectations for the duration of the activity or game so students can reference it. 

When kids know what’s expected of them, there’s less room for guessing, which cuts down on the confusion and chaos.

classroom management picture of context clues activity

Have a Designated Parking Lot

To help kids during the whole group activity you can have a designated parking lot. This is an area in the room where the students will go for assistance. 

Set yourself up in the parking lot area so you’re available to help struggling students. This prevents you from having to run around the room in order to reach all the kids who need help.

Have a copy of whatever the activity or game is in front of you so that you don’t have to leave the parking lot in order to assist students.

classroom mangagement of a teacher talking to students

Walk Around the Room

If the parking lot suggestion doesn’t work for your particular group of students, you may need to walk around the room. With certain groups of kids, it’s helpful to have the teacher’s presence nearby.

Walk around the room to observe as well as help students who are struggling. This is an important classroom management strategy for all areas but it’s especially helpful during whole-group activities and games.

If there is an expectation that is not being met, it’s easier to address if you’re in the vicinity.

The type of monitoring you choose will depend on your group of kids and it will most likely change every year. 

3rd grade math worksheets

Assign A Worksheet 

If you have kids who are not meeting the expectations of the activity, take the privilege of the activity away.

Doing a fun activity or playing a game, is a privilege. And if students are unable to meet the expectations you set, they can work on the same math skill on their own.

Before you begin the whole group activity or game, you might want to have a worksheet prepared for this type of situation. Find a worksheet that covers the math or literacy skill from the group activity and assign it to the student who has lost their privilege. 

You’re not preventing the child from practicing the skill. You’re just changing the way they are participating. 

context clues activity on laptop

Differentiate The Activity

Sometimes kids need a challenge or they get bored. For kids that need a challenge, give them a set time to complete the activity. 

Pair students up with a math or reading partner so they can work together and support each other. Shorten the assignment for students who receive that accommodation or who you know would perform better with less work.

Another way to differentiate is to provide the activity as an independent assignment.

For example, if the students are solving math task cards around the room, you can assign a set of the same task cards in a digital format to a student who does better working at their own pace in a designated spot. 

I like to do this with my math scavenger hunt games. My scavenger hunt games are completed by going around the room and solving problems. 

The kids can play the same game in Google Forms but they don’t need to move around the room. This is helpful for students who need that accommodation or struggle with activities that require movement.

Managing whole group activities and games doesn’t have to feel like herding cats! When your classroom management includes clear expectations and ways to differentiate and solve problems, it makes for a fun learning experience.

Check out the resources highlighted:

Context Clues Breakout Scavenger Hunt Games

3rd Grade Math in a Snapshot Worksheets

Math Scavenger Hunt Games

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