Sunday, November 16, 2014

Guided Math!

Hi Again!

I am Abbey from A Teacher Mom!

Can you believe a WHOLE month has gone by since I posted last (I am SURE you have been waiting for it – haha – just kidding).  Have you been as amazed as I have been with all of the amazing ideas these ladies have to share.  They are surely keeping me on my toes with lots on my to-do list!

Last month I wrote to you about guided math with a focus on one lesson on telling time.  I heard from a lot of you saying that you would like to hear more about guided math – the structure and what it looks like in a first grade – and most of all how I am making it work.  That’s a BIG post – more than we have time for today, but I will get your started with a bit of an overview of guided math, a look at the structure of our math block and a snip-it about math warm ups (hint hint There is a freebie in it for you if you keep on reading…)

Guided Math is HUGE topic, which I was first introduced to by Amanda Wilp from ThePrimary Gal.  She hosted a amazing bloggy book study this summer which really got me thinking and excited about teaching math.  Here is the link to my first post about it, with the links to everyone’s posts too.  The posts continue over 7 weeks (don’t worry I won’t link them all here), but if you want to know more about one specific piece it may be worth a search…)

Here are the BIG pieces of Guided Math:
-     Pre and Post assessing/exit slips
-     Math Warm Ups
-     Numeracy Centered Environment/Math Literature
-     Differentiated Small Group Instruction (picture guided reading with math)
-     Math workshop

-     Conferring

During our math workshop time I set up the room into three centers.  One is on the carpet - this is usually the teacher time station.  Another station is a game.  And the third station is INDEPENDENT work.

Let's take each station, one at a time.  

Teacher Time
This is the time when I am teaching the kids (duh right??)  Well before this year, I spent the beginning of the math lesson doing a whole class lesson and then working with small groups after that.  I didn't quite see what I was doing wrong, but once I started doing all of my teaching in small groups, I TRULY realized that I (and more so my kiddos) were missing SO much when I taught to the middle in a whole class lesson.  
This teacher time is not lecture - in fact because the kids are in groups of 6-8 I am more easily able to use manipulatives in a clear and useful (not to mention manageable) manner.

So, where do I find the lessons that I am using during this time?  So far, I have been using a combination of parts that worked from last year (just modified to be used in a small group) and some WONDERFUL ideas from TPT and Pinterest.  Maybe soon I will start making some math goodies, but for now I have been a lurker on some wonderful teacher blogs!

The proof is in the pudding right?  Well, we just finished our second math unit assessment and the data was OVERWHELMING!  My kiddos are getting it the first time, so my intervention groups are super small!  WOW

We all use games in our math blocks, I'm sure.  Last year, they were what the kids did when they were done with their work.  BIG problem because some of your most needy and wiggly learners would NEVER make it to the games that they so desperately need!  This year they have a game each day to reinforce what they learned on the carpet that day or the previous day.  Some days, I have extra support in my room, so I can ask that person to teach a new game, but often I teach the game during a piece of my teacher time the day before they play it independently.  

Here is the key to this work time INDEPENDENT - Did you see that I wrote it in caps?  This was the hardest part for our team to work through this year.  Just this week, I taught a teacher time lesson on even and odd at one station, had the kids play even Steven and odd Todd (the game) for a second station.  You want the kids to be able to do even and odd work at the third station right?  Well, it only works for kids who know even and odd or who have already have their teacher time.  Sometimes the work in the folders is based on a concept from the day before to ensure INDEPENDENCE.  You CANNOT be interrupted during your teacher time!  This is precious teaching time!

Here are the color coded bins I use, to help organize the materials.  

Ok?  So, your mind may be whirring... I am HERE to answer questions (though I am learning too, so I will do my best!)  Please leave them in the comments!

I don't want to leave you empty handed, so even though we didn't talk too much about math stretches (hint hint for next month's post?).  I have a math stretch pack for the whole year. 

Interested in trying out math stretches for December?  Here is the FREE December set!  

Like what you see?  Find the whole pack HERE!  


  1. Is there supposed to be a picture posted of the bins? I just wondered how your organized your stuff. I teach third but can see this working beautifully. How long do you have for math? How long are your teacher times with groups? Thanks for the post! It is great! :)

  2. SO Sorry! I added photos on my phone and they didn't go through. I added them again - They should be there now!!

  3. Hi Abbey. I have just started using a math workshop model too this year. Just like you, I was doing whole group instruction before. I totally know what you mean. I will never go back to whole group instruction for math again. I have blogged about how I use the math workshop model in my classroom too and it seems we are doing very similar things. I love hearing from others who use this method. I truly believe it's best practice. Thanks so much for sharing. What a great post!