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Math problems on a worksheet with a pencil.

30 Minute Intervention Block Using Math Menu

At Malletts Bay School, we had a set 30 minute intervention block beyond what we call “First Instruction.” My everyday math block consisted of about 55 minutes for the math lesson that day and then an additional 30 minutes set aside for intervention. That first 55 minutes of math includes a Number Talk, the Math Message, the Focus Lesson, Independent Practice and a Summary. Typically, this takes more like 45 minutes because we have 10 minutes of snack in between first instruction and Intervention.

The 30 minutes of Math Intervention is the time when our math interventionist pulls a small group of students (a mixed group from four different classes). Our Special Educator also pulls a small group of students (also a mixed group from four classes). I work to support a group of students from my own class at this time. I choose to use Math Menu for intervention.

For my Math Menu at this point in the school year, students are able to move fluidly through multiplication fact practice, math games, skill practice and an exit ticket/formative assessment/journal based on the current content in my first instruction. Students have 30 minutes and (right now) can choose which activities they need/want to work on. I am still in Phase I of Math Menu implementation.* In the next few weeks I hope to be more deliberate in preparing math menu options that are specific to certain students and their needs.

I choose to use Math Menu during my intervention block because it is an opportunity for me to support students in their learning based on where they are at NOW. The separate intervention block encourages teachers to follow a Tier 2 intervention plan where students are receiving instruction based on an informed decision by the teacher. Currently, I use the information gained from my CRA on multiplicative reasoning- the high leverage skill listed under third grade on The Map to determine who will have “Teacher Time” as part of their Math Menu.

My focus for this group is on modeling multiplication using equal groups. I also re-teach/pre-teach to some students during this time based on information gained from their Exit Tickets in first instruction. Math Menu works well for my intervention block because students feel empowered with choice. In the few weeks that we’ve been doing Math Menu so far, I’ve observed that all students are engaged, they work the whole time, they work quietly and they say that they really enjoy it. I like that I’m able to focus on instruction when meeting with my group because the management of the rest of the class is fluid.

I find that students make good choices for themselves, but are also willing to complete the “Must Do’s” when I ask because they know they will also get choice in their next activity. I asked my students what they think about Math Menu and these are their responses:

  • “I like the different activities and I like specifically math games.”
  • “I like that you get to pick your own choice. One thing we do want is even more choices that are some easy and some hard.”
  • “I think math menu is one of the best parts of the day because you get to be free and do math games and stuff.” 

Having a designated intervention time outside of first instruction has allowed me the flexibility to ease into using Math Menu in my class. My goal is to move to a more fluid math block that includes Math Menu over the course of the whole math lesson. I enjoy Number Talk and Math Message as a whole class because of the dialogue, but I’m thinking I can start Math Menu BEFORE snack so that it is also part of my first instruction. That way all students have Math Menu time, because in our current format, students who are pulled for small groups are not necessarily getting a Math Menu on a regular basis.