Thursday, July 12, 2012

Guided Math: Chapter 4

Whole class instruction is perhaps the most difficult planning time for me.  What will I do to get my students' attention?  How can I make it engaging?  What can we do so students can have a firm understanding in a brief amount of time?  First, let's discuss some pros and cons of whole group teaching.

Pros
o you can address any issues/concerns with ALL your students
o ensure each student is receiving the same exact information
o save time by presenting it all at once

There are, of course, some cons to whole group teaching.

Cons
o communication with individual students is limited
o struggling students may "fall between the cracks"
o students may not feel comfortable asking questions
o direct & individualized feedback cannot be given to students

There are some great factors as well as some disadvantages about teaching whole group.  The best thing to remember is that a balance is what really matters.  Finding a balance between all the components can really make a difference with your students and their learning.

Speaking of whole group instruction.... one of my main methods of whole group instruction is through mini-lessons.  Sammons gave some useful insight for mini-lessons. Mini-lessons should be...
*BRIEF {no more than 10 minutes}
*VALUABLE {use your time wisely... don't waste on non-related things}
*TEACHER DIRECTED {sorry students... your time is in small group:)}
*EXPLICIT {hello.. you only have 10 minutes.... get to it!!}.

I really liked the chart Sammons listed on pg. 112 (figure 4.1).  As I've mentioned in my previous posts, I am working on my curriculum binder, and this is something I was interested in including.  I want to become better about mindfully planning my instruction.  I believe the ideas Sammons presents in her book, specifically those in her charts, are ideal for holding myself accountable.  I have included the chart in PDF so you can include it in your binder if you are interested.  You can access it by clicking the picture below.

I LOVE this chart because I want to make an effort to include each of these components sometime during my whole group instruction.  It's a great file to have for reference.  You could use it like a menu and choose one from each row each day.  Change it up a bit to give your students variety.  You can also add your own for even more variety!

I also want to create a file for you for activating strategies {okay, for me too!}, but I'm going to need a lot more time for that!

Sammons also discussed the importance of taking time to teach how math workshop will work in your classroom.  I can not tell you how important that is.  If you take the time early in the year (first 2 weeks) it will save you TONS of time during the year.  Here are a few things I teach my kids.

oNo talking during calendar.  None.  What-SO-EVER!
oDo not disturb me (unless you need an ambulance) during small group
oYou better not leave those stations on the floor!  I mean it!
oClean up after yourself... I'm not your Mama!

My sweet babies are 9 & 10 years old so I can joke around with them a bit... they get it.  And, I love that they do!

I can't wait for chapter 5.  Maybe I'll get it posted sometime between now and next year!  Hopefully now!

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