Thursday, May 29, 2014

Guided Math Book Study- Chapter 1

This summer I'll be participating in a book study on Guided Math by Laney Sammons. I'll read a chapter each week and blog about what I've read!

Before we begin our look at this week's chapter and questions, let's chat for just a bit about what Guided Math is and why it's important.

Think about your reading instruction. How many teachers would you think might say small group reading stations are important? Just about everyone, right? The same should hold true for math, but for some reason this seems to be more difficult for us. That's why this book and what it has to offer is so important. Guided Math is a resource that shares with us successful strategies for implementing successful, purposeful math stations and small groups. 

This topic hits home for me. In my state, we are undergoing a change in our RTI format. Our state focus will not only be on intervention, but on instruction as well. We're putting our focus on the general education classroom- this is a new concept for many teachers across the state! RTI is no long a "fast track to SPED," but rather an approach to meet each child's needs in the most appropriate setting. This leaves many general education teachers wondering just how they're going to meet such a variety of needs within the classroom.  I think Guided Math might be our answer!

Let's get started with our first focus question from Chapter 1- Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction.

Laney Simmons discusses 7 different components of Guided Math:
1- A classroom environment of numeracy
2- Morning math warm-ups and calendar board activities
3- Whole-class instruction
4- Guided math instruction with small groups of students
5- math workshop
6- individual conferences
7- an ongoing system of assessment

Of these seven components, my math instruction is most successful in component 2- math meetings. I've spent a significant amount of time reading and researching the importance of a daily math routine- it's the one component of math I'll never leave out again!

A math meeting, or Number Talks as I call them, is a chance for students to solve problems in a variety of ways- looking for multiple solutions and learning new ways of solving from their peers. If done consistently, this can easily become the most powerful 15 minutes of your math lesson! I've absolutely fallen in love with the Number Talks book by Sherry Parrish. Every math teacher, grades K-5, should own a copy. 

Along with the Number Talks book, I'd also like to encourage you to include a "Number Bond" card each day. During number bonds, students generate ideas of way to create a specific number.  How many equations can you create that equal 26? Any combination that equals 26 will work! 
Want an extended sample to test them out for yourself?
  Click here to download!

Want the full set (1-120)? Need other sets of cards specifically created for math meetings? 
I have many other sets to get you started in math meetings! 

One more book suggestion that really helped me in creating purposeful math routines: Number Sense Routines by Jessica Shumway. You can down load that book free by clicking here.

I am most concerned with component 7- creating and maintaining an ongoing system of assessment. In order for this system of purposeful small groups to work efficiently, we need to constantly assess what our student know. If we don't understand their misconceptions about math, how can we possibly meet their needs? A system must be in place for collecting and documenting the evidence we collect on our students' progress.

Along with this thought, I've also been working this week on ways for students to document their own success and progress in math.  I think it is equally important for students to monitor their academic growth! I've thought a lot about the types of daily activities that I'd like for students to document and compiled them into what I call a "Student Data Notebook." Here,  students will keep track of their progress on bell ringers, exit tickets, homework, and assessments. There's even a place to keep track of goals and accomplishments! When it's time for student-lead conferences, I've got you covered there too- student lead- conference forms are included.

Want to download a sample? Click here to test it out for yourself 

That's it for this week! I'll be back next week with Guided Math Book Study, Chapter 2!

P.S.- We're having lots of fun over on FB! Click the "like" button to get math updates! 

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  1. Chelsea, I did a google search. The PDF popped up as one of the first links on google. I hope you enjoy it!