Thursday, June 19, 2014

Guided Math Conferences Chapter 1

Note from 6-26-14:  This book study will be starting on July 6.  Brenda (Primary Inspired) decided to delay the start to allow some of the people participating time to get their books and complete another book study that was going on. Good thing since I'm behind in my reading!

Connections to literacy instruction is probably what drew me in to Laney Sammon's first 2 books, Guided Math and Building Mathematical Comprehensions.  As a long time first grade teacher, reading interventionist and literacy coach, my teaching world revolved around literacy.  I was well versed in the works of Lucy Calkins, Fountas and Pinnell, Debbie Miller and others, but my only real professional development in math came from a Math Their Way training when I started teaching 1st grade in 1987 and a Kim Sutton workshop about 10 years later.
So when I stumbled across Laney's Math Stretches book and then Guided Math while preparing to return to the first grade classroom (and math!) 4 summers ago, and read how she had modeled Guided Math and Math Workshop on what was being practiced in language arts, I was immediately hooked!
In Chapter 1 of Guided Math Conferences, Laney again emphasizes the connection between math conferences and the conferring we do as part of our reading and writing workshops. Here are what I consider to be key points from this chapter:

  • Math conferences are 1-to-1 conversations with students about their work as mathematicians.
  • Math conferences help to promote thoughtful numeracy by helping students to engage in mathematical thinking, problem solving and to clearly share their mathematical thinking.
  • Math conferences are different from math interviews and small group lessons
  • Math conferences are structured; Laney outlines a structure based on Lucy Calkins writing conferences: Research student understanding of skills, decide what is needed, teach to student needs and link to the future.
The challenge for me will be finding time for these 1-to-1 conversations.  I need to take another look at the schedule I've created for math workshop and make sure I have allowed myself time to visit and talk with my students as they do their work as mathematicians.

Head over to Primary Inspired to read what other bloggers have to say about Chapter 1 and follow along with the rest of the book!

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