Guided Math - Week #1 Chapter #1

Are you a summer reader?  I really enjoy reading for myself ALL year round, however, I do think professional reading over the summer gets me ready for the upcoming school year.  There are always things that professional reading helps me to reflect on – good and not so good pieces of my teaching.  Best of all reading and reflecting over the summer gives me the time and energy to put things into place for the coming school year. 

This summer, I will be participating in two bloggy book studies – one math and one reading.  Today we will start looking at an AMAZING book by Laney Sammons – Guided Math.  I would LOVE if you would read along with me and comment on your thought along the way. 

This week we all read chapter one – Guided Math – A Framework for Mathematics.  This was a good overview of Laney’s framework and got me thinking about what is working in my classroom and what I would like to change.

I have decided to look at the 7 areas of the Guided Math framework and take each one at a time and talk a little about how they are working well, working poorly, or not happening yet in my classroom.

Classroom Environment of Numeracy
It is so important to create a math happy classroom, just like you create a literature rich classroom.  I do this in a number of ways. 

I use this math alphabet chart.  You can find it HERE as a freebie.  I do have an additional alphabet chart with more phonetically sounding words for reading. 

I have manipulatives on view and easy to access.

I use this calendar and place value board.  I got the board at Lakeshore and has helped with my students place value knowledge. This is an area I am excited to improve on, but I think I have some good basics in place.  

I also create many charts to use during lessons, as reference tools, and to increase understanding.  Here is one I use for 3-D shapes.

Whole Class Instruction
Each math lesson begins with a 10 minute whole class math lesson.  We usually start with a math review (2 or 3 examples of a concept that students have mastered) and then a brief introduction to the topic of today.  Sometimes a literature connection can be shared here too. 

This week we are working with shapes and I read these two books. 

Math Workshop
After the whole class lesson, students start working through their independent math work.  We use the Everyday Math program, so many days the students have a math journal pages.  Then students move into differentiated (independent) folder work and finally play a game.  Sometimes the games are the same (but differentiated), sometimes they are different.  It depends on the skills. 

Here is a picture of our math board.  The kids groups change with the skill that we are learning.  I use pre-assessment data (see the next heading for more on that!) to group kids, but I also use what I know about students.  This year I have three groups, because it is just me in the classroom and I only have time to see three groups, but some years I do 4, if I have the extra support. 

As a team, we have modified ALL of the Everyday Math assessments.  We created pre and post assessments that match what we felt kids HAVE TO know. 

To create these, we first looked at each unit and decided as a team what the HAVE TO’s were for the unit (there are some things in this program that are not first grade standards – time to the quarter hour is one).  We listed these and send them home to families at the beginning of the unit. Here is an example of the HAVE TO's for unit 7 on shapes.  

Then we used this to create an assessment grid.  This is where we collect our data. 

Next, we create assessment questions that help us assess these HAVE TO know items.  We include 2 or 3 of each skills, so we are sure that students aren’t being “downgraded” based on a silly mistake – they are only 6!

To create the post assessment we make changes to the names and numbers in a problem. 

We use the pre assessment data to inform our instruction and group students.  We also have a check in math problem for morning work that reviews the previous day’s concept – This can also effect groupings.  Finally, we use the post-assessment data to compare and assess student progress, but also to create RTI groupings and find students who are in need of re-teaching.  
We also send a copy of the HAVE TO KNOW's home attached to the post assessment.  We highlight the skills that students are continuing to work on so parents are aware and can hopefully help their kiddos out at home.  

Calendar Math and Morning Work
As a part of my morning meeting time, I do some calendar math.  Meaning, I ask students to find the day on the calendar, talk about the days of the week, work on some place value with the number of days we have been in school, etc.  But even though I haven’t read Laney’s chapter outlining this piece, I am CERTAIN I am not doing enough during this time of the day.  I am VERY interested in learning more about how to use this time more effectively to build math skills. 

Small-Group Instruction
After the whole class lesson is over, I meet with each group to talk more about the day’s concept.  I start out the year ROCKING this, but as the year goes on my group time doesn’t always happen as consistently as I would like. I am truly hoping that I will get some useable suggestions to keep my small group teaching successful all year long!

 I do reading conferences and writing conferences, but I can’t say I have ever done a real math conference (I talk to kids about math all the time, but I’m not note taking or anything).  This is clearly an area for improvement

So, if you don’t have the book, are you ready to buy it?  We will be back every Thursday with a new chapter review and discussion.  There will be weekly giveaways (enter below) and MANY bloggers to read thoughts from.  In addition, I am also hoping to start creating some products to use along with the Guided Math framework.  Stay tuned!!

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  1. WOW!!! Your assessments and tracking data is FAB!!! That is one thing on MY goal!
    Kickin It Whole Brain In Texas

  2. I agree with Chelsea that your assessments and data analysis are amazing! I also want to improve in the calendar aspect. I'm looking forward to gaining insight from the book and everyone else as we make our way through this book study.

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