Thursday, June 2, 2011

Guided Math, Part 1

So... I've had A LOT of people ask me about my guided math model I use in my classroom along with the components of it {i.e. stations, calendar, etc.}.  There's SO MUCH for me to share that for the sake of time and my sanity, I'm going to have to present it to you in parts.  So, here's Part 1.  We'll call this 'The Setup' of my classroom.  I really wish it wasn't summer vacation so I could take you on a video tour of my classroom.  Maybe I'll edit this post once I get back in my room with a video component.  Until then.... I'll just have to give details and a few pictures.

Please Note: just because I teach 4th grade doesn't mean a 1st or 2nd grade teacher can't use these ideas.  I think it will work great with any grade.  I have been in a first grade classroom where the students were amazing and very independent during reading centers while the teacher was conducting guided reading.... IT CAN BE DONE! :)

The Setup
Before I begin, please know that my room is very large.  I have one of the largest rooms in the school {Lucky Me!}.  However, this model can be done in a small classroom, but you have to be SUPER careful where you set things up.  Even though my room is large, I make sure to have the least disruptive environment WHILE giving the students a chance to talk and share.

For Guided Math, I have four areas of my classroom I use on a daily basis.

o Whole Group Area- this is where my mini-lessons take place.  In this area I have a whiteboard on the wall, a SMARTboard, a small carpet area, and a wheasel {I love my wheasel}!  During Mini-lessons, we only spend about 15 minutes here everyday.  This area is located at the font of my classroom.  Also, I want to add that I do not have student desks.  I have two trapezoid tables put together to form a hexagon.  I have five of these.  At first, I was reluctant to have tables, but I love the way it encourages collaboration with my students.

oSmall Group Area- this is where I conduct my guided math to my students.  In this area I have a kidney-shaped table, whiteboards, dry-erase markers, paper, pencils, and a shelf that stores any extra materials I will need for the day like manipulatives.  I had an issue with having enough space to put as many chairs as I needed.  I have big kids so the chairs are adult size.  To solve this problem, I added a few stools to fit where chairs would not.

oCalendar Area- I use my math calendar that I created as one of my rotations during guided math.  I like to use it because it is a spiral review of concepts taught all year long.  Students complete one calendar per week.  I made an area on my whiteboard for each section of my math calendar {I have two whiteboards in my room.  This whiteboard is different from the one I use for mini-lessons}.  I used blue painters tape to separate the sections.  However, this year I'm going to use the cute zebra print duct tape :)  Here's a picture of the board the students work from.

oStation Area- This area is probably the kids' favorite place to go.  They love stations!  Although I have all my stations located in one place, it's really not that bad considering only 6-7 students are there at a time {more on that later}.  If you have a lot of kids going to stations at the same time, I would recommend having two or three different areas around the room to house the stations.  This way, one area of the classroom will not always be congested.  I've posted this picture before, but this is what my station area looks like.  Nothing fancy.

My stations are on the bookcase in the tubs.  The baskets on top of the bookcase are where my students turn in their work.  The magazine holders above the bookcase is where I store all stations not being used at the time.

Here's a rough draft of my room layout.  I'm really looking forward to using my new Flip camera once I get back to school and get everything put back together.  I just made this real quick in Word to give you an idea of how my room is setup.  

It's important to know that...
oCalendar work is independent.  There is no talking.
oSmall Group is student-led with little teacher direction.
oStations are usually completed at the front of the room on the floor or at collaborative groups with a partner.  Students are allowed to whisper.  
oStudents know that stations are NOT to be completed near the small group table. 
oWhole group instruction is led by the teacher AND guided by the students.

Okay, so this is my... 
Guided Math Part 1

I hope it wasn't too much information.  Here's what's coming up for part 2:

How Do I Group & What's My Schedule?

I'm leaving for vacation Saturday morning.  I MAY BE {this is a BIG may be} able to post it tomorrow.  We'll see!

Please leave me feedback {as comments} on whether or not this was useful.  I hope this has answered some questions that some of you were asking.  I know there are many other questions.  I'll get to those, I promise :)

Have a fantastic evening!

post signature

38 comments:

  1. This is great! I find this post very helpful. I am wanting to restructure my math time. I would love to move into guided reading groups. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts.
    Barrow's Hodgepodge

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  2. I am currently reading Guided Math by Laney Sammons. This is a GREAT resource! Currently I am looking for info on Guided Reading. Please head over to my blog to check out my Guided Reading Post.
    www.lifesateach.blogspot.com

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  3. I love it and I don't even teach math. You have inspired me to post about it sometime next week. :)

    Ms. M
    Ms.M's Blog
    A Teacher's Plan

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  4. I am thrilled to see Guided Classroom in an upper elementary classroom. I teach third grade and look forward to reading the other parts of your post to see how I can apply it to my third grade classroom. Thanks for sharing!

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  5. I'm really looking forward to reading more. I teach ELL 4th/5th grade and I would love something that fostered a little more independence. Thanks SO much for posting about this!
    Kristen
    Ladybug's Teacher Files

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  6. Thanks for sharing--this cleared up some of my questions. I am so excited to give this a try next year and with your continued support (blog) I think my students and I will have a great time during math. Thanks for posting!! Denise

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  7. Geez, ya'll have gotten me REALLY excited about sharing the rest of this. With all this excitement I just may find time to post Part 2 tomorrow! Thank ya'll for reading, enjoying, and applying my ideas. It really means a lot!

    Ms. M- I can't wait to read your post!
    Kristen- this would be great for ELL students! It would give you an opportunity to group and teach them according to their needs.
    Denise- I sent you a message earlier. Did you get it?
    Third & Thankful- I have a friend who used it this past year in her 3rd grade classroom.
    Melissa- That's a great book. I read it this past year. However, I would have liked her to go into a little more detail in some areas.

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  8. I teach K and I think you're going to share things that are helpful to many of us. It also reassures me in some of the things I am planning to implement for G.M, next year like no more than 6 kids working with manipulative materials to help keep noise down. So please do share!
    - Leslie
    KindergartenWorks

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  9. A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to implement Guided Math next school year. I received my Guided Math book from Amazon yesterday and have been reading nonstop. I was SOOOOO excited to see this post today!!!! It couldn't have come at a better time! Thank you for your expertise because I know NO ONE who is doing Guided Math. It really helps me out a lot. I look forward to your posts!

    Thanks!
    http://frogsandcupcakes.blogspot.com/

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  10. Amazing....thanks for sharing your post with us!...Unique Gifts

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  11. Thanks ya'll- this past year was just my first year using this model. There was A LOT of trial and error on my part. The hardest thing is sticking with it. It's hard work! I mean it. After three guided groups, it was difficult for me to find my fuel for my second class. And when something got difficult it was easy to just quit. My goal for this year is to start something and stick to it! That's an entirely different post.. lol. Maybe I will include that on my last part!

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  12. I just read the post about the Guided Math book at Amazon...is this appropriate for a teacher teaching 4th grade? I will be teaching math to the entire grade level this coming year and am very excited! I would like more information on the stations, where do they come from?

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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  13. I just found your blog when you posted on TBA...Thanks for posting the quick link to the first two posts...I have been brainstorming for months on how to do guided math in my second grade class...thanks again for sharing your information.
    -Megan
    www.primaryfilefoldergames.blogspot.com

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  14. Thanks for all of the info! Our new math curriculum lends itself perfectly to Guided Math, so I really wanted to use this model this coming school year. Your posts have really helped me visualize what it will look like in my classroom. Thanks again!

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  15. Great information! I posted a link to your blog on my blog Guided Math Study Group. You did an excellent job explaining what you do!

    http://guidedmathstudygroup.blogspot.com/

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  16. I just found your blog and I am excited to find another 4th grade teacher that is using Guided Math. I am also excited to begin exploring your blog. Thanks!!

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  17. WOW! Thanks ya'll! Last year was my first time doing guided math, and I love it! Someone posted earlier about the guided math book. Yes, it is appropriate for 4th grade. I've scanned it, but I have not completely read it since pretty much every thing it discussed were things I was already doing. I just can't wait until I finish graduate school so I can REALLY devote my time to my classroom and to my blog :)

    ~Terri

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  18. A weasel is a whiteboard on an easel! I have gotten all the teachers at my school addicted :)

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    1. Where did you get your wheasel? They are so expensive! Thanks so much for all your fantastic ideas!

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    2. I'm not sure. My principal purchased it for me.

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  19. This is amazing! I'm a first year teacher preparing for my fifth grade classroom. I've mostly done whole-class instruction only (for math) and I'm excited to try this. This helped a lot!

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    Replies
    1. Great! It really is amazing! In 2011 the percentage {for the entire 4th grade} of those who passed our state test was 78% {yuck}! This year, it was 93%! That's just amazing and proof that it really works!

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  20. What do you do if you have a student who finishes the calander math in one day? Our school does a sprial review daily/

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    1. I have various things for them to do. The most common is to have them work on their standards check list. I talk about i here: http://www.the-creative-apple.blogspot.com/2011/04/standards-checklist.html. I have also purchased Shelley Gray's Early Finisher Board which I look forward to using this year if I can get it together! But, the important thing is that you have to have plenty of things to do because so some students do finish early.

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  21. Our campus is requiring all its teachers to do Guided Math this coming year. Unfortunately, I've been a 4th grade ELA teacher for the last couple of years and have no idea how to do it! For the 2012-2013 school year I'll be self-contained again and am sooooo excited to find your blog outlining how to make Guided Math work! I know you're busy, but please keep posting. Your info/insight is incredibly helpful. Can you please share the name of the Guided Math book on Amazon that everyone keeps referencing?

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  22. Thanks for the encouragement. I've always wanted to do math stations, just didn't know how to start it.

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  24. Thank you for all of the info! I can't wait to read part 2 and more! Hopefully I will be able to start math centers this year since I will have 27+ students.

    Thanks again!

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  25. Kelli LenningtonJune 1, 2013 at 9:54 AM

    Great information! Where did you find the colorful magazine holders? I love the bright colors!

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    1. Thanks, I got them from reallygoodstuff.com

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  26. Love the idea of guided math! Makes so much sense! I also love your colorful baskets! Where did you get your supplies?

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    1. Thanks, I get most of my baskets and things from reallygoodstuff.com

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  27. I am new to fourth grade (moving from kindergarten - scary, I know) and am looking around for ideas. I came across this post and am curious about your calendar board. Does this have anything to do with an actual calendar? Where do you get the problems included in the grid? Thanks!!

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    1. Hi, Hailey! No, the calendar has nothing to do with an actual calendar. It's just a spiral review of various problems that I come up with myself. I also have a math workshop guide on TpT that is totally worth the money. I'm not trying to sell my product, but if you are serious about doing guided math/math workshop in your classroom then it's a great resource. I talk a lot about my math calendar in the guide.

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    2. Hi Terri! Thank you for the clarification. I really like this idea. I am going to purchase your guide resource - it seems like it will be a big help! Thanks!

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