Pedagogy that is

Outcomes based




GSSD promotes the use of math Pods, which is small group instruction, like guided math.  Generally, the learning stations in Pods all focus on the same outcome, although teachers may vary this format somewhat to accommodate extra practice, other subject areas, or to reduce group sizes.  Small group instruction and collaborative learning is effective at all grade levels.

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GSSD’s Flexible Grouping Modules

For our video on how to set up and manage pods, click the link below



Livebinder of Guided Math resources

Organizing and Teaching with Pods

Jillan Hick’s Pod Organizer
Jill Hicks Pod Stations.JPG

Wanita Lippai Maps for Centres

Wanita Lippai Centres Map.JPG
Wanita Lippai Centres Map 2.JPG

Click the links below for a word doc copy of Wanita’s map and a blank map template

From Kendal Lukey

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Training Students to Learn K-Gr1-Gr2



Deb Ivanachko Yorkdale School

My experience with math pods started about 5 years ago, when I started to work with Michelle Morley and began to integrate technology into my teaching. I found math pods to be a really good fit for my students and me, because I could get my students using the technology (which I did not have a full class set of) on a regular basis. They were in small groups, taking turns to use the different materials, which freed me up to work with a group or roam and check-in with several different students. I also really liked that the purpose of pods is to focus on one outcome in several ways. So, during math pods the students all get a turn to do a computer activity, complete a paper-and- pencil activity, use the SMARTboard to play a game or complete an activity, and use manipulatives to complete an activity that pertains to that one math outcome.
Over the years, I have learned a few things about math pods that I think are worth sharing:

  1. have materials prepared ahead of time (just like your regular teaching but more so now because you want to ensure that the students are able to work independently and not interrupt you!)
  2. grouping should be flexible (sometimes you want the groups to be like-ability, so that you can teach them the skill or strategy they need to move them along; other times you want mixed-ability groups, so that they can help each other or do some peer-teaching)
  3. use anchor charts for training and rotation (I have incorporated the I-charts from the daily 5 to help my students know what is expected of them at each pod. We also have a chart with the name of their group and the order of their pod rotations so that they can always go check what is happening next. This was a learning process that took lots of training and practice. At first we could only work independently in our small groups for 5 minutes at a time. We would come back to the large group talk about what went right and what needed to be changed and worked to build our stamina, so that we can now work for 20 minutes at a pod.
  4. have a way to handle interruptions so that everyone is using their time productively (my students and I discussed why interrupting the teacher was not a good thing and then together created an anchor chart for what to do if they have a problem so that they do not interrupt me when I am working with a small group. The only exceptions are bleeding or a bathroom emergency!)
  5. built-in differentiation (the pods themselves provide differentiation because the students are working on one learning outcome in several different ways but also within each pod there are many opportunities to differentiate. For instance, at the computer pod the students can use different parts of the same website according to their needs or ability. At the paper & pencil pod, the children can be given different sheets with more or less work or easier or more difficult work depending on the need of each group or individual. Also, manipulatives, websites, and apps allow you to provide scaffolding for those students who need a little extra support in their mastery of the learning outcome being taught. And let’s not forget, you are now free to work with small groups to teach them the exact skill or strategy they need to master the learning outcome being worked on!)
  6. helpful resources (Michelle’s sites which work well on the SMARTboard for a small group or on the computers for individuals to use, Destination Math on the computers for individuals to use or on the SMARTboard for a small or large group to teach a concept, iPads with 100s of apps, and two awesome teacher resources include Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller, and Guided Math in Action by Dr. Nicki Newton)

I think you all have to agree: Teaching a small group is always more effective, especially if the rest of the class is productively engaged in their own work and math pods provides that framework for you. So, no more “What is the rest of the class doing while I teach the small group?” and REMEMBER – training, training, training and take it in small steps!


What Am I Learning:
1. Do I understand what we are learning?
yes no
2. How much?

a little   somewhat   a lot
3. I would like to know more about…



Communication and Connections are the two areas that our Grade One students always score lowest on when we do our Exemplar Benchmarking. I have always thought this is developmental and our students just don’t have the life experience yet to be able to make those higher level connections or communicate at those higher levels but I am now realizing I have not been giving them the right tools to help build those skills and experiences. I am now being more explicit in explaining and demonstrating what a good mathematician does and how we can prove our thinking to others. Here are two charts that help with this:

What do good mathematicians DO?

They ask questions.

They say when they don’t understand.

They use tools.

They prove their thinking with pictures.

They explain their thinking with words.

How can we prove our

We can use counters.

We can use the numberline.

We can use the hundred chart.

We can draw pictures.

APPs explained & demonstrated:
1. Pic Collage/Skitch – take pictures or insert pictures to create a collage with different backgrounds, arrangements, sizes, etc. and save your collage; open Skitch and import your saved pic collage, now you can add labels with arrows and save to post in your blog, etc.
2. Story Creator – import your pictures and add text to create a story book to post and share.
3. Show Me – example: show ways to make 10, save and you can replay o post
4. Educreations – create/demonstrate something with recording and visual to post/share
5. Friends of Ten – great for independent practice as well as small group instruction
6. Geoboard/Color Tiles (screen capture) – demonstrate understanding/complete task and then save work with screen capture
7. Montessori Numbers – lots of practice with number recognition and quantities