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!
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.