Why do Guided Math?

We do guided math so that we can reach all the learners in the classroom. We do guided math because we can differentiate instruction in many ways.  We do guided math so we can engage our students and ourselves.  It requires that we push our own thinking, to ensure that we throw a wide enough net to catch all the learners.  We do guided math because how we learn is how we teach but we don’t always teach the way they learn. So, guided math makes us think about how our kids learn.  It puts the focus on them.  It should push us past our own comfort levels, and make us reach, reach until we get to the place where each and everyone of our students can learn.  Guided math requires that we go off the beaten path, extend ourselves past page ninety-nine, past the base -ten blocks and all the other plastic manipulatives, all the way home.  Wherever that might be for our students…where they make connections to the math in their everyday lives.  That’s why we teach guided math:)


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4 Responses to “Why do Guided Math?”

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Even though I am a veteran teacher, I continue to be amazed at how much I still have to learn. Discovering your blog is like opening a treasure chest.

Guided reading groups has been an important classroom strategy for me, but I have never led guided math groups. A major challenge to incorporating guided math groups would be time, due to our focus on literacy and the expectation to deliver all instruction using adopted textbooks. I need to explore modifications to my current classroom schedule. Time is overdue to give math the same attention and focus that literacy has been given.

Hi June,
Thank you for your comment. I love treasure chests and I plan to continue to fill this one with wonderful things:) I am so excited to be in contact with the larger world about these ideas. I think you bring up a really relevant point about time. I always encourage people to adapt their current structures. You can easily move some of those same literacy time structures over into math, for example even if you have a traditional textbook you can still do a quick mini-lesson in the beginning. Then I would either do the workbook with the students or incorporate it into the day as a particular math center. I would then do centers/guided math groups and end with a whole group share. Good luck this year exploring modifications to your current classroom schedule. Please stay in contact and let me know how it is going.
Dr. Nicki

I am trying to help some third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers set up Guided Math classrooms and they tend to feel the workshop part of the set up is not meaty enough for higher grade levels. They feel it is great for K, 1, and 2 grades but not enough Math for the higher grades. Could you speak to that concern? I am struggling with trying to articulate clearly enough.

I think in terms of the workshop, they have to realize that all the activities are standards based jso students would be doing very engaging and rigorous activities. For example, 4.NBT.2. Read and write multi-digit whole numbers using base-ten numerals, number names, and expanded form. Compare two multi-digit numbers based on meanings of the digits in each place, using >, =, and < symbols to record the results of comparisons.

Workshop Model:
Mini-Lesson: Picture Book or Poem about Really Big Numbers (There are several great ones out there)
Center 1: Students have to generate numbers and write them in expanded form
Center 2: Students play a place value game on the computer
Center 3: Students play a game where they compare numbers (top-it)
Center 4: Students build the numbers with place value blocks and or pictures
Center 5: Students Pull Number Names and Have to Write the Numbers
Debrief: Students discuss what they are learning, what is easy and what is difficult

The workshop is always centered around what students should be learning so it should be challenging and engaging. In the next few months, I will be putting up grade specific links to the Common Core so we can see how some of these things look in a workshop model.

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