Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Guided Math, Chapters 1-3

Y'all, I know that I am WAY late with this one. But I thought that I would share my thoughts up to this point, and try to join in on the rest of the chapters.

Last year, I used the Four Frames Framework to guide my math instruction. It divided my hour long math block into 4 sections:
5-10 minutes- Perfect Practice-a quick review of previously learned skills
10-15 minutes- Calendar Math- we used Every Day Counts
10-15 minutes- Problem Solver- taught the kids how to problem solve uses word problems and different techniques
Rest of the time (hopefully 15-20 minutes)- Direct Instruction- we had a curriculum map to follow and used Scott Foresman Math-this was mostly whole group

This year, I have an hour again, but this is the Math curriculum that I received when I went in for a few hours:
According to my mentor, there is no Calendar Math, and instruction is supposed to be mostly whole group. She did say something that I found kind of shocking when I thought about it...she was talking about some of the problems in the early units, and how the kids would not be able to do some of them because.....they do not know range (median, mode, etc.) is OR how to do simple division.

I was blown away. These are supposed to be incoming 4th graders, and I think (and in my experience) that they should at least have a vague idea on what division is!

Okay. That's where I am right now. I walked away from that meeting knowing that I wanted to try some sort of Math Workshop (or at least not doing all whole group teaching), and I needed to come up with a plan for Calendar Math (which I think is very important in practicing daily skills). I went home and ordered some books...
Just ignore that Guided Reading book for this post! :)
I got Math Work Stations first, but I haven't had time to delve into it. I got Guided Math last week.
Here are my thoughts so far.
Chapter 1
  • I liked how she gave an overview of the framework, and then went into more detail for each chapter.
  • I totally learned Math in a whole class way-and had some trouble along the way
  • I like how she included the schedule to show that not everyday has to be a workshop day...some days can be whole class lessons.
  • The emphasis of this and how it will work for you is based on the needs of your students. She does state that, which makes me happy. I feel like she knows that everyone needs to tailor the approach to their teaching styles and the needs of their students. 
Chapter 2
  • Numeracy seems to be the standard that most schools/districts have the most trouble with. Creating a numeracy rich environment and continuous practice of these skills is one way that we can help raise those test scores.
  • I love how she talks about creating a learning community. I am a big proponent of Responsive Classroom, and I feel that the ideals of this fit right into that. 
  • I like how she breaks it down, for storing the manipulatives, to classroom arrangement, to having Math Journals (makes sense, since my kids had Writing Journals).
  • I think that a lot of the time, teachers can fall back on the paper/pencil routine for math. We can forget how important it is for kids to be doing and creating. Sammons talks a lot about how we can make math more hands on for students, which I really like.
    • On a side note, I started incorporating foldables more into my my instruction when I was teaching Geometry and Angles, and the kids ate it up. I felt they learned those skills much better because of the way that I changed my instruction, and they told me they liked having the foldable to go back to! :)
Chapter 3
  • I really like the idea of Math Stretches. I think that it is something that could be easily incorporated into my Morning Meeting,  and a great way to introduce students into the day. Just like Morning Meeting gets them ready for the school day and bonding as a community, Math Stretches flexes those brain muscles to get them ready for thinking.
  • Math Stretches or using Math could also be included in the Morning Message (I write a letter to my kids every day telling what we are going to do, or things they did well).
  • Calendar is HUGE! I think it is important to have daily work with numbers, problem solving, graphing and more. It keeps the kids skills sharp on things that we are not currently doing, as well as keeping me on track for the date! ;)
  • I love the fact that she included a problem solver, whether it be daily or weekly. I feel like a lot of common sense or problem solving skills are missing in the world, and if we teach our students to think outside the box, and to think of creative solutions to solve things, or to look at all aspects of a problems to figure out a solution. 
    • We could make a problem solver journal, which they showed how they solved the problem, and dissected it to find the important information. This could be 1/2 a composition book (something I saw at a 4 Blocks Workshop)(so 10 books makes 20), with the problem typed up and glued to the top of the page. 
Whew! I think that's enough Math for now. I may post my thoughts on Chapters 4 and 5 later today...it depends on how my 4th of July cupcakes go!

Smiles and Sunshine,


  1. I love visiting your blog and have nominated you for The Versatile Blogger Award. Stop by to see!

    I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

  2. I was inspired your post so I ordered the book and have finished the first 3 chapters. After 21 years of teaching I really want to change things up as I dislike the way I currently teach math. Thank you for pointing me in this direction. It will be a work in progress this year, but no doubt the kids will at least enjoy math more!

    Thank you!

    1. I'm so happy that you found this helpful! I'll (hopefully) be starting Math like this soon. I really want my kids to be sharp on their math facts and having a workshop/center approach will help them do that.

      :) Kaitlyn


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