First things first….if guided math is something you are wanting to try…try it! Let this be the school year you dive in and give guided math groups a whirl. I promise, you won’t regret it.
To get your brain going and thinking about the possibilities of guided math groups in your classroom try answering each of these questions:
*How much time can I dedicate to math each day?
*How many guided groups will I have in my classroom?
*How many times am I going to try to meet with groups each week?
*Where will your students be working with you during guided math instruction?
This will certainly vary depending on your school and its expectations of mathematics. At our school, we are required to spend at least 60 minutes on math each day. Now, 60 minutes may sound like a lot to some people but from someone who loves math this is a short, very short, amount of time. I do go over that allotment of time but try to keep mine to about 80 minutes.
10-15 minute mini lesson (to introduce a skill, review a skill, discuss expectations, create an anchor chart, ect.)
Four 15 minute rotations of meeting with guided math groups (or if it is a more difficult concept: three 20 minute rotations of meeting with guided math groups.)
10 minute closing/sharing (something students learned today or something to add to our anchor chart.)
Small group instruction, in an ideal world, should have 5-6 students. However, in my classroom of 28 students I have 7 kids in each group-giving me 4 different groups of students. It is what works best in my room and allows me to see the most students each day.
How many times am I going to try to meet with groups each week?
I say “try” because I feel as though during most weeks something comes up and changes my “ideal” schedule. Whether it is an assembly, a fire drill, or a special running late there always seems to be something. So I make my “ideal” schedule with the understanding it might now always happen!
I enjoy being able to meet with every group every day. That is why I choose to have 4 groups of 7, instead of 5 or 6 groups with less children. However, due to the depth of a lesson or something cutting into my “ideal” schedule (like a fire drill or an assembly.) I am flexible and my students also learn how to be flexible with math groups.
I am lucky to have a “jelly bean” table in my room (totally took that cute name from Aylin-so much better sounding then “kidney” or “horseshoe.”) I can fit 7 students around my table with our work mats and manipulatives. There are also times when I will relocate my guided group to the carpet so that I can use the SMARTBoard. Students get a clip board during our guided groups if we are not sitting at the “jellybean” table. You can certainly be creative with your space: using tables, carpet space, or the ground. As long as students can write (clip boards or even an individual white board can be used in a student’s lap) and they can pay attention and focus on you/the lesson the space should work just fine!
|My “jelly bean” table used for both guided math and guided reading with my first graders.|
Click here to get a freebie that will help you organize your weekly guided math time. It is in an editable file so that you can either print the blank template and write on it each week or type directly in the document.
I am going to break this post into several shorter segments. So, that is all for today! Let me know any questions and/or suggestions you have about your classroom-I’d love to hear them!
Please look for several more parts to this Guided Math post throughout the next several weeks of summer. In these upcoming posts I will discuss the ways I hold students accountable during independent centers, management pieces I have learned a long the way, as well as what I am doing during my guided math groups.