Hi there teacher friends!
Our guided math workshop is certainly one of our most favorite times of the day. I aim to be very intentional with each routine and step that I take with my students … I am really horrified at the idea that they will develop math anxiety, the same way I did when I was little.
Today I wanted to write about the 10 most important things that I do that make our guided math block a successful time/space for me and for my students.
Intentional Wall Use
Let me ask you one question before anything, have you been as diligent in creating a numeracy environment as much as you have been with your literacy environment? Maybe you have been, or maybe you haven’t. One of the things that I have learned throughout my teaching years, is that I need my students to be immerse in a math rich environment. This is because I want to promote mathematical understanding not only during our guided math workshop, but during the whole day. This anchor chart of word problems is a good example. I add the word problem sample as I introduce each type of word problem. You can download by clicking on the pic.
Follow the Data
Yes, I know, you might be thinking “gag.” But data is a very important piece of the puzzle if you want to be accurate when grouping your students for guided math small groups, and to identify students who need interventions. You need both your knowledge of your students and assessment data, in order to fill their many holes and to move your students forward with intention and precision.
OK so anchor charts are my jam. Anchor charts in our guided math workshop serve many purposes. They can help students with math routines, concepts, mathematical processes, learning from math exemplars, and more!
This is an exemplar chart that I created for my students to see how I solve two-step word problems.
We don’t teach standards. We teach students.
I want to make that clear. It is a wonderful thing, when an awesome teacher can teach both. The standards, whether Common Core or your state standards, should be the center of your instruction. There should be whole group lessons for each standard, and differentiated small groups to scaffold. This is why your guided math block is so powerful!
BUILD Math Centers
My BUILD math centers allow me to effectively meet and teach my guided math small groups. My students are completely engaged in a variety of tasks where they can explore and expand their mathematical thinking. So far, I have them available for Kindergarten, first and second grade! You can also purchase the K-2 mega bundle and SAVE more than $100!!!
BUILD Math Centers allow my students to reinforce and extend prior instruction, while learning from each other. They are packed with tons of engaging standards based math activities.
If you are curious, you can download FREE math centers for FIRST GRADE and for SECOND GRADE.
There is not really a set structure for our guided math block. The structure is set by where we are in the gradual release of responsibility model. In other words, our guided math workshop works because we are flexible. We respect each aspect of it and truly believe that everyone is a mathematician with the right support!
A great example of gradual release is seen every time I teacher word problems by problem type. This is a great graphic that I created, it shows the gradual release of responsibility model:
I organize our classroom library in such a way that there is room for books about math. Why? Because we should know better that students make the MOST meaningful connections through literature and math is not the exception. Through literature, our students observe mathematical patterns, develop understanding of fractions and large numbers, and they also explore the meaning of mathematical vocabulary.
Let the standards guide your technology choices. I wrote this blog post about free apps to develop number sense. Instructional technology serves many purposes in our classroom, in our guided math we use it as part of our BUILD math centers. My district also implements an assessment tool to be used with an iPad, so yes… Technology is everywhere. However:
Don’t forget that!
Problem of the Day
Problem of the day is a must in our classroom, and it should be in your classroom too!
Why are they a very important section of our guided math workshop?
Well, once the word problems are posted and solved, your students will see that there are many solutions represented in multiple ways. This means that through problem of the day, not only will your students be learning that there is not ONE way to do math, but they will also develop relational thinking.
You can purchase the word problem packs for different grade levels, in English, Spanish, and for Google Classroom! All of my word problem packs are research based, hands-on, engaging, student approved, colleague acclaimed, and the follow the CPA approach.
CPA: Concrete – pictorial- abstract.
Social Aspect of Learning
Every classroom should have some sort of intentional talk going on. There is a difference between playground talk and intentional talk in our classroom and I like to make this very clear with the children from the start. I encourage students helping each other, monitoring each other, and providing feedback to each other. Meaningful interaction like this one are so valuable in our guided math workshop. I am humbled when I see my students overcome fears, develop critical thinking skills while collaborating with each other. Math Task cards offer an exceptional opportunity for students to tackle important math conversations!
Jessica Greene says
Do you have a link for the containers used for your BUILD centers? Also, how many copies or sets do you make of each activity?
I buy my containers from the Dollar Tree. I also make 2 or 3 copies of each set to put out to students.
Laura Gabelsberg says
YOur anchor chart video is impressive. They are your jam indeed! I am a teacher who teaches students. Standards do make me puke, talk of data doe smake me gag, but I am learning to overcome it and hone my instruction. I know where my kids are and what they need to focus on the most. I struggle with the management of supplies and having appropriate stations for each thing. It is alot to keep up with change out on a regular basis, so what systems do you employ for the constant changing out of materials in stations? What is your routine/rhtym for that?
My stations, whether literacy or math, last two weeks. Students will finish their stations at different times… everyone is a different type of learner, right? For the fast finishers, I give them different choices, including Marcy Cook games, choice reading, or project based activities that I purchase directly from TPT.
In the first picture is a paper that has “story problem QR code” at the top. I love the format of this page. Is it part of one of your packs? Thanks!
The story problem QR code mats are part of my Kindergarten word problems pack. You can find it here: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Word-Problems-for-Kindergarten-848350
What do you use to group your students?
I use iReady benchmark data, state mandated assessments data, informal observations, and formative data to group my students FLEXIBLY.