Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Guided Math, Chapters 4 & 5

So I finished my 4th of July cupcakes...which you'll see a picture of later! :) They turned out super cute, and I used a trick I found on Pinterest to ice them, and it worked out well.

Now onto the Math portion of our evening...

Chapter 4
  • This chapter was about Whole-Group Instruction. I think a lot of teachers...myself included...think, or used to think, that whole group was the only way to teach Math instruction. I began to realize this past year that while it has its place, it's not the only way to teach Math.
  • I love how she included how to run a mini-lesson and the structure of a mini-lesson. I started using this a lot this year, teaching a whole group mini-lesson, then sending the kids to work in partners or groups of three to practice the skill. Some kids preferred to work alone, which was fine, and I was available to help those that needed it (People coming in often found me sitting on the floor and couldn't find me at first...I blend in! :)
  • I really liked how she took things that we normally use in Reading and other subjects (KWL, Anticipation Guides) and showed us how we can relate them to Math and use them in our math instruction.  This is definitely something that I want to use next year, especially when introducing an new unit or concept. 
  • Math Workshops were also introduced in this chapter, as an introduction to do after the whole group teaching. I'm wondering how well Debbie Diller's Math Work Stations would work within this structure? (I still haven't delved into my copy...)
  • Sammons also had a small section on technology in this chapter, which really interested me, especially since I have a SMART Board this year. I know Khan Academy is a wonderful site. Bloggy Friends, do you have any other suggestions?
Chapter 5
  • This chapter was about Small Group Instruction. Just like Language Arts has its Guided Reading groups,  Math can be taught in small groups as well. 
  • I think that this would be very beneficial to students, since they'll be getting focused teaching. However, what about the students that I'm not reaching that day and still don't understand it? I think it will be a matter of finding a balance between all of the components, and something I can't do until I meet the kids and have a few weeks with them.
  • A great deal of this chapter was focused on assessment and forming the groups. We use NWEA (MAP to some of you) to test three times a year, but how reliable is that data? It looks at one day, a few hours, and I don't think it is the truest reflection of a student's skills or knowledge. 
    • Do I change groups for every unit? Sammons suggested pretesting at the beginning each new unit, and use that data to help form the groups.
    • When working with the groups, how am I measuring their progress? I know I want a lot of the activities to be hands-on, but I need to show how the students are progressing. 
  • I love how she went through a structure of a lesson with a small group. It will definitely come in handy when teaching!
  • I was thinking about how Guided Reading and Guided Math groups are similar in their structure and purpose. For GR, I use post-its to record my thoughts/observations on a student (they're all on a clipboard) and I transfer them to a binder later on. I was thinking I could do the exact same thing for GM, (same binder but different sections!), and then I would have anecdotal data on how the students are progressing.
    • This would also help when planning for the next day's lesson, or the skills I need to go back and review with the group, or even the whole class. 
  • One thing that struck me while reading, is that I feel (and I also got the impression from Sammons), that the groups need to be flexible based on the students. Some of my kids last year were really good at computational math, but had a hard time with the more abstract math, like geometry, and vice versa. By having flexible small groups, those kids that struggle with those certain skills can get the reinforcement that they need and not be stuck in the lowest group for the whole year. 
Thank you for listening to reading my ramblings!!
Smiles and Sunshine,

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