Pacing Tips

Our Professional Development experts share tips for pacing through material in your math class.

  • ALWAYS work the problem before facilitating with students!
  • Know where you want to be at the end of the period as well as the central learning target. What is the main thing you want students to know and be able to do at the end of the period?
  • Prioritize parts of the problem (as you work it beforehand). Which parts are a MUST, which parts are a MAYBE and which parts can you SKIP?
  • Chunk the problem; this doesn’t mean do one problem at a time, but chunk pieces together. For example: Do Problem 1 Questions 3-7 with your group. 
  • Set time limits for the chunks and use a timer. This keeps everyone on track. The key is sticking to your time limits early on even if everyone isn’t quite finished. (They can always catch up when you share out or move to the next piece.)
  • Choose which pieces of the problem are most important to talk about or for students to present out to the class. (You can also do this as you are working the problem beforehand.) Also, know that you don’t have to share everything out as a class. Some ways to save time when having students present are:
    • Use the document camera instead of having students make posters
    • Use mini-whiteboards
    • Have a group that finished early make a display while others are finishing their work
    • Have groups pair up with another group and share, rather than sharing out to the entire class
  • Jigsaw parts of long problems when you can and gallery walk (or present).
  • Use ALL of your class time (plan a warm up and wrap up for every day and hold students accountable for those).
  • Have materials ready and at hand. Sometimes you can even pre-make posters with a table or graph set up so students just have to fill in their answers in order to present.
  • Script good questions upfront. (You can do this when you work the problem beforehand.) Anticipate what students might struggle with or misconceptions they might have and create questions that will help move their thinking in the right direction when that happens.
  • Use formative assessment. Find out what your students know and don’t know at the end of each period so you know what you need to do the next day and what you can skip. Don’t assume, find out!
  • MIX THINGS UP! When things get predictable, kids get bored and the pace slows down!

We'd love to work with you to help your students achieve their very best. Learn more about our Professional Development opportunities, and contact us if you have any questions.