What is Guided Math?
Guided Math is an approach for working with students, preferably in small groups, to target specific skills for instruction. Guided Math is a component of a Math Workshop model, that allows teachers to use formative data in order to differentiate the learning. Teachers can enrich or extend the lesson, reteach, target a skill or strategy, remediate, and so on…. The opportunities are really endless – as long as the Guided Math session addresses the needs of the students as gleaned in data (not based on a hunch).
Hmmm…. sounds great…. how can I get started?
Getting started with Guided Math will take some planning, patience, and creativity – but the effort is well worth it in the long run!!
Here is a quick checklist to get you moving in the right direction. Keep Calm and Love Math!
#1 – Outline the minutes of your math block.
Whether you are working with a 40-minute or 90-minute math block, you will want to plan out your time to include the following core components on daily basis. This will provide structure and routine for you and your students.
Most teachers provide an exit slip at the end of the class when students are walking out, but this is too late. You want to know immediately after the mini-lesson, how your students fared with the intended objective. Assess your students every day after the lesson in order to provide immediate feedback, reteaching, or enrichment. There are many free online tools to help with the process, such as Kahoot, Quizizz, Nearpod, PearDeck; or you can use the old fashioned paper and pencil. This step should take about 2-4 minutes every day after your lesson and will help you form groups.
- Choose a system that you are comfortable with.
- Plan a daily quick check to use with each lesson.
#3 – Group your students.
This is the most difficult step, because you want to create fluid groups of students that change as the needs of your students change. You do NOT want to create groups of students that stay the same for the entire marking period, or month, at a time.
- Review measures of data, both formative and summative, to form groups.
- Share the groups on a bulletin board, magnetic chart, or SmartBoard.
- Plan different activities that meet the needs of each group of students.
#4 – Create a management system.
Create a management system that keeps your time and centers organized for you and your students. Some ideas include Math Daily 3. Spend time teaching the rituals and routines for transitioning, cleaning up, and cooperating. Model the expectations for students so the time in centers is engaging and productive, otherwise the time in centers will be a waste. The key to productive centers is planning activities that are in the student’s Zone of Proximal Development, otherwise you will have disengaged students who are bored or frustrated.
#5 – Plan a Guided Math Session!
A Guided Math Session is the ‘bread and butter’ of the Math Workshop Model, as Dr. Nicki Newton says. Sitting with a small group of 4-6 students, for about 10-12 minutes, allows you to target each student’s needs. This session may use a Gradual Release of Responsibility Model – OR you can use a Guided Discovery Method and allow students to explore the concepts behind the Math…
- Identify the specific need
- Introduce the learning goal
- Model the learning
- Student exploration and/or practice
- Teacher questions, facilitates, observes
- Teacher observes, takes notes, collects data
- Lesson closure
- Follow-up, either with independent work, HW, or next guided math session
TOOLS FOR SUCCESS:
- manipulatives – for every student
- tool for observations, anecdotal notes, checklists
- mathematician journals
- whiteboards, markers, erasers
Have fun with this framework, and enjoy the process. You will see increased student engagement over time as your move towards a student-centered classroom!
This piece was written by our team member, Jennifer Marinello. If you love math as much as she does, visit her website, #KeepCalmAndLoveMath!