Monday, June 11, 2012

Guided Math: Chapter 1

I had to become reacquainted with math 2 years ago when I returned to the regular classroom after years of reading intervention, and I discovered I loved it!  Last summer I followed an online book study of Deb Diller's Math Work Stations and implemented math tubs in my classroom.  The kids loved them and were always disappointed when we couldn't do them.  This year I want to really implement guided math, so this summer's book study of Guided Math by Laney Sammons is perfect!  Head over to Primary Inspired for all the details!
Chapter 1 covers the framework of math instruction including guided math.  It was reassuring to read that small group guided math does not have to occur every day.  I was worried about how to fit in all those groups, particularly if our class sizes continue to increase. (Getting to everyone enough times each week was a real challenge in guided reading this year!)  The schedule suggested is very flexible and can be easily adjusted to meet each classroom's needs.  The reflection questions at the end of the chapter asked us to think about our current practices in our classroom.  Here are my thoughts.

What worked this year:
  • Math stations:  Because I didn't have a lot of math materials, these took some time to create, but it was so worth it!
  • Organizing manipulatives:  I put all of my manipulatives in labeled plastic boxes so they were easily accessible for lessons and for students to use during independent work.
  • Calendar:  I created a calendar routine for my Smart board.  I tried to vary the activities a little bit each month and added a lot of number talk opportunities.  If we ever missed calendar time, I heard about from the kids!
  • Focus on numeracy:  As primary teachers, we all know the importance of a print rich environment, but we've never really focused on numeracy.  This year, I had a math wall and I displayed math anchor charts.  It was a small step, but I wanted the kids to know we valued math as well as literacy.
  • Math talk:  Kids were regularly given a chance to explain their thinking to others.  I need to do more, but it was a start!
My goals:
  • More small group guided math. 
  • Utilize math journals:  We used journal prompts regularly, but I want the kids to use the journals to record their thinking and learning during lessons and activities as well.
  • Use individual math toolkits:  I attended a workshop by Kim Sutton who advocates that the students build a supply of math tools to keep in their desks.  I also want to use her number line.
  • Authentic assessments and record keeping.
How does/will guided math work in your classroom?


  1. Considering your "what worked last year" list, it looks like your well on your way toward Guided Math. One of my goals for next year is using math journals. I noted Sammons gave that as a suggestion for workshop. I do use individual math kits & they work really well. I think you'll like them.
    Thanks for linking up! (I'm also your newest follower, btw!)

    Primary Inspired

  2. It sounds like you had better success with math stations than I did. I look forward to reading more of your blog.

    theverybusykindergarten :)

    1. I just posted some information about how I did math stations.
      I'm no expert but maybe my experiences can help.

  3. You've got a great start on a math-rich classroom!

  4. I'll be interested to learn more about your math tubs and stations. I am a new follower.

    First Grade @ Klinger Cafe

    1. I'm doing a couple of posts on my stations. Hope my experience can help!
      Thanks for following!

  5. I like the idea of individual math tool kits. I am looking forward to reading your posts of how you incorporate and manage these!

  6. I read Math Work Stations over Christmas break last year. I implemented it slowly, but I can't wait to try it from the beginning this year. I, like you, am intrigued by and ready to run with math journals this year. I enjoyed reading your post!

  7. I haven't read this book before, and I am thinking I may now need to get it, so I can improve my math work stations for the upcoming school year. I have started this last year, but I will need to work on more small group instruction. I'm looking forward to learning more about it! I am a new follower too!

  8. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on Chapter 1! I use math journals in my classroom, they are AMAZING! We have SO many conversations about what we do in them. I like how this book stresses how important it is to TALK about math. I am having so many ideas for future post right now! :)

    Second Grade Math Maniac