Math Mastery Grid Tips & Tricks

Rae HughartBlog, Differentiate Better, Lesson Plan Better, Manage Better, Mastery Done Better


  • Using The Grid Method in your classroom provides extreme differentiation all the time!
  • Try to use what you know about creating typical lesson plans when you make a grid.
  • Add in assessments as checkpoints.
  • Strategically place check-ins in common places where students have misunderstandings.
  • Collaborate with others when creating your grids.

Developing a grid in a math classroom is like creating the most differentiated lesson plan of all time! With the varying levels of math understanding spanning our classrooms year to year, the expectations for a teacher to reach all learners every given day seems unrealistic, impractical, and gosh darn stressful! I mean goodness, friends, we are only human! Nevertheless, The Grid Method continues to surprise math educators daily as the differentiation opportunities are endless.

Let’s dive into my 5 favorite strategies to make a math grid epic!

Developing a grid in a math classroom is like creating the most differentiated lesson plan of all time! Click To Tweet

Math Grid Tip #1: Think of your grid like a typical lesson learning pathway.

There are so many suggested steps and layers to creating a grid.

First, begin with the standard. Then, break it down into tiered topics. Next, create mastery questions…and so on and so on.

However, I have found most math educators do this naturally in their traditional planning! Most of our content builds and builds and builds. Therefore, math teachers are professionals at scaffolding content. So, if you find yourself getting stuck in the creation, skip the steps and go back to the basics.

First, identify your standard (duh!).

Then, lay out how you’ve taught the topics in the past. Lay out your resources, review your planbook from prior years, and locate those favorite lessons! Allow your grid to build itself from your prior knowledge of the topic from beginning to end.

Math Grid Tip #2: Integrate your assessments into your checkpoints.

Assessment is all about checking for understanding! As math teachers, we do this all the time. Therefore, as you look through your grid, consider where your assessments can fall into your grid design. For me, I always enjoyed having quick formative assessment check-ins within the levels of the grid and larger formative assessments (similar to quizzes) at the end of the level.

My theory was while I was continually checking in with students’ understanding, I enjoyed checking students right at the end of the level to confirm students retained all previously mastered information and ensure, as they leveled up toward more challenging content, they were working from a concrete foundation. The end of the level is also where I would store my summative standard assessment based on the depth of knowledge of the standard. Integrate, integrate, integrate!

Math Grid Tip #3: Utilize check-ins for specific misconceptions.

Check-in student conferencing is essential for any grid, but especially for our math classrooms. Because our content builds, it is our responsibility to ensure students not only understand the fundamentals of the content but also make certain that common misconceptions are addressed quickly.

Come on, we all know those hurdles or misunderstandings that arise while learning a specific idea. Those are the essential moments for a student conference! While conferences can be facilitated and structured in a variety of ways,  make sure to integrate specific questions related to common misunderstandings to ensure your students fully understand the ideas before moving forward.

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Math Grid Tip #4: Change up your tools.

Grids should contain a variety of modalities for learning! A balance between technology and the classic paper and pencil is essential for our math classrooms. Therefore as you work through your grid and as a final check at the end, make sure to do an audit of your tools. What is your students’ experience like? How do they practice their learning? How do they model their understanding? Are they experiencing dynamic learning modalities?

Math Grid Tip #5: Stop trying to do it on your own!

So many of us hate failure. Even while we understand it is a part of any student learning progression, when it comes to our own learning journey, we like to get things correct the first time! Well, let’s do a little real talk for a moment here friends…failure, struggle, and confusion are a part of the process!

Stop experiencing this alone! Collaborate with a friend or member of the team throughout this process. It’s never a bad idea to ask for help, gain support, and have a brainstorming partner when the going gets tough! Trust me, you’ll save yourself a major amount of worry, stress, and concern! What’s the worst that could happen?

Are you ready to get started with your Math Grid? We’re here to help!

See the full blog series here!

About Rae Hughart

Rae Hughart is the Chief Experience Officer and co-owner of the Teach Better Team, Educator, and author of Teachers Deserve It (20) and Teach Better (19) books available on Amazon or Barnes & Noble. In 2017, Rae was honored with the Illinois State University Outstanding Young Alumni Award – inducting her into the University Hall of Fame. In 2018, Rae was honored again by winning 1st place in the Henry Ford Innovator Award for her work within educators communities to build unity between local businesses and schools. And in 2021, Rae was selected to give her first TEDx Talk called “Better Than Youtube,” emphasizing the true value of educators. You can learn more about Rae or book her for Professional Development opportunities within the Teach Better Speakers Network.