Archive for January, 2010
Who should the teacher work with during guided math lessons – novices, apprentices or the experts?
I think it is very important for teachers to work with small guided math groups with all the different students, not just the lowest performing. Everybody needs the teacher’s attention at some point to push them to the next skill level. Classroom assistants are a great help, but they should not be the only person who works with a particular group. By the end of the week, I think it is important that the teacher has connected with all of the students in some form or another.
Read Full Post  Make a Comment ( None so far )Students should set individual math goals!
Developing mathematicians must also have multiple opportunities to discuss their strengths and as well as their areas of struggles. They must set specific math goals and then make a plan for achieving those goals. Research shows that when students set goals for themselves, they are much more likely to achieve them. Teachers have to work with students in order to set appropriate goals. They should base these on the math data including ongoing observations, math interviews and quizzes. For instance, a student might say that their goal is to learn their 6 times tables. However, after doing a math interview, the teacher might find out and discuss with the student that they really need to learn their 3’s first. Math interviews can play a crucial role in scaffolding goal setting.
Furthermore, observations of students during Guided Math sessions, individual math conferences and math running records can help teachers guide students’ in their individual goal setting.
Read Full Post  Make a Comment ( 2 so far )Teacher’s Role in Guided Math
The teacher puts up a Math Schedule so that students know what they are doing that day during math workshop. Teachers schedule various groups in different math centers and usually two groups a day for guided math lessons. During guided math lessons, the children meet in small groups for explicit math instruction based on specific content, strategies or skills. The teacher introduces the content for the lesson. The children discuss the content. The children engage in a mathematical activity around the content. The children then discuss the activity in detail. The teacher then summarizes the learning for the day and then the children return to their desks. The teacher scaffolds the lessons so that children become competent, confident, flexible mathematicians. Teachers need to create a nonthreatening, supportive learning environment.
Guided Math provides the necessary opportunity for teachers to explicitly teach math content, strategies and skills at the students’ individual levels. During this group time, teachers review, reinforce, reteach and practice mathematical ideas, concepts, strategies and skills. Developing mathematicians must have multiple opportunities to work with numbers in nonthreatening environments and to make sense of their meaning by engaging in scaffolded discussions about them. Guiding students to think mathematically takes planning, persistence and time to practice.
Read Full Post  Make a Comment ( None so far )Student’s Role in Guided Math
Students should come to the group prepared to participate. They are to pay attention, engage in the discussion with their teacher and their peers. Do the math. Try new ways of doing things. Talk about their learning with their partners and their teachers. Ask questions when they don’t understand. Explain concepts, strategies and skills to their peers when they do understand. Continue working on the particular concept, strategy or skill, during center time and at home.
Read Full Post  Make a Comment ( None so far )Math Centers at the Computer Station
There are many types of math centers in the classroom. The computer station is an important one because it allows students to work individually or in pairs. It taps into a variety of intelligences, including visual spatial, bodilykinesthetic and often logical mathematical. Here are some great places to start:
http://www.cobbk12.org/sites/literacy/math/math.htm
Read Full Post  Make a Comment ( None so far )Where Is the Guided Math Area in the Classroom?
There should be a specific area in the classroom where Guided Math Groups are conducted. Students need to be aware of that area and routines surrounding that area, such as coming to the area prepared, gaining access to the teacher during that time, leaving the area. The Guided Math area should be set up with all of the things the teacher needs to conduct the lessons. The student folders, supplies and math manipulatives should all be in a organized and clearly labeled containers in the Guided Math area. This involves much planning ahead of time.
Read Full Post  Make a Comment ( None so far )Posting Math Workshop Schedule
The Math Workshop Schedule should be posted in the room in a way that children know exactly what is happening. There are a variety of types of Center Boards that can be made (See Below). Oftentimes, teachers go over the Math Workshop Schedule during the Morning Meeting.
Read Full Post  Make a Comment ( None so far )How Often Do Guided Math Groups Meet?
It depends on the individual classroom schedule. I recommend to meet with each group at least two to three times a week. I would meet with the lowest performing groups more often than the highest performing ones (See below for a sample schedule).
In a Math Workshop Classroom, there is always a minilesson done with the whole group. The children then either go to their tables to work with math centers (which are portable containers) or they go to work in a Guided Math Group. In this particular model, the children will do 2 different centers. They will do one center and then after a signal, their table monitors will switch with their centers with a different table and they will do the new center.
One of the centers, is a scheduled Guided Math Group. This schedule is based on a 75 minute math block. If the math block is shorter, the teacher might only do guided reading twice a week with the lowest groups and once a week with the medium and high groups, because s/he must allot time for conferencing, observations and interviews.
The last section of everyday is devoted to 57 minutes of fact power practice. This is a number of the day type activity, where the children work flexibly with a number trying to add it, subtract it, make it into money and discuss it in a variety of way are problems on the boards. After fact power practice, the teacher then gathers the children together for Share time.
Here is an example from a 3rd grade classroom in the middle of a multiplication unit.
Sample Weekly Math Schedule  
Content Strand:Number Sense
Grade: 3 
Month:December
Week: 3 
Goals:Children will gain a conceptual understanding of multiplication  Resources:Double Dice
Mosaics Templates 

Monday  Tuesday  Wednesday  Thursday  Friday 
Mini Lesson:Telling Multiplication Stories Continued
Table 1 Guided Math Group Nests and Eggs Sculptures Fact Power Table 2 Nests and Eggs Sculptures Guided Math Group Fact Power Table 3 Writing Multiplication Stories Multiplication Puzzles Fact Power Table 4 Multiplication Puzzles Writing Multiplication Stories Fact Power Table 5 Computers Circles and Stars Game Fact Power Whole Class Share

Mini Lesson:Read: Anno’s Disappearing Jar
Table 1 Computers Circle and Stars Games Fact Power
Table 2 Circle and Stars Games Computers Table 3 Guided Math Group Nests and Eggs Sculptures Fact Power Table 4 Nests and Eggs Sculptures Guided Math Group Fact Power Table 5 Writing Multiplication Stories Multiplication Puzzles Fact Power Whole Class Share

Mini Lesson:Read Multiplication Pop Up Book
Table 1 Guided Math Group Multiplication Puzzles Fact Power
Table 2 Multiplication Puzzles Guided Math Group Fact Power Table 3 Computers Circle and Stars Games Fact Power Table 4 Circle and Stars Games Computers Fact Power Table 5 Guided Math Nests and Eggs Sculptures Fact Power Whole Class Share 
Mini Lesson:Read Sea Squares
Table 1 Writing Multiplication Stories Multiplication Puzzles Fact Power
Table 2 Writing Multiplication Stories Multiplication Puzzles Fact Power Table 3 Guided Math Group
Multiplication Top It Fact Power Table 4 Multiplication Top It Guided Math Group Fact Power Table 5 Writing Multiplication Stories Multiplication Puzzles Fact Power Whole Class Share 
Mini Lesson:Read Amanda Bean’s Amazing Dream
Whole Class Activities:
All tables work on whole class activity Table 5: Guided Math Group
Whole Class Share 
Role of Flexible Grouping In Guided Math Instruction
Guided Math Groups are organized according to the common needs of a specific group of students. The goal is to engage in depth with those students around a particular instructional goal, with intensive practice. Guided Math Groups are Flexiblemeaning that they change over time. As the teacher notices that students achieve particular knowledge and skill sets, they move the students around. Also, students can be in different groups based on the content strand. For instance, Carlos could be a great geometrical thinker and yet not have much fact power. So Carlos would be in the novice group for fact power but perhaps in the expert group during the geometry unit. This is why ongoing assessments are essential to the effective implementation of Guided Math Groups
Read Full Post  Make a Comment ( 1 so far )How are Guided Math Groups Formed?
How are Guided Math Groups Formed?
Effective Guided Math groups are based on intensive, informed teacher planning. Teachers must plan based on a variety of math data that gives a complete picture of the child. Teachers plan for, implement and evaluate guided math groups based on math data. This data is collected in a variety of ways.
At the beginning of a unit, the teacher does a series of preassessment moves to determine the initial groupings. These might include surveys, quizzes and/or minimath interviews. There is also a way to do a type of math running record to implement a strategic math plan. After this initial assessment, the students are grouped in three main categories 1) novice learners who do not have a basic understanding of the concept; 2) apprentice learnerswho have a basic understanding but need concentrated work to reach a deeper level (often time these students are working right on grade level) 3) expert learners who are working above the grade level standard and need to have the topic extended.
All of this takes extensive planning, before the unit is taught. After the initial assessment the teacher forms the groups and works intensively with them around specific content, strategies, and skills. The ongoing teacher observations, anecdotals during centers and quizzes provide the teacher with information about student progress. Students need ongoing practice with the content to gain proficiency. Look at the Links for Great Assessment Resources and Websites.
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