I am really excited to be part of this Math Study Group on the book Guided Math, by Laney Sammons that Primary Gal has put together. I don’t know how Primary Gal does all of the things that she does!

I love math! Math is a touchy subject, you either love it or hate it. In my first few years of teaching, I was a literacy person. I even have my masters with a concentration in Reading. I was planning on becoming a reading teacher back then. Then things changed. Somewhere along the way, wait for it…I became a Math person. I can’t really put my finger on when it happened, it just did.

After reading Laney Sammons book, I started to feel good about my math time again. I recently moved to new school where they are just beginning to introduce math groups into their instruction.

So, I started to reflect on what aspects of my current math instruction are successful. I definitely have a classroom that is math-rich. There is my math wall, my anchor charts, and tons of manipulatives.

My kiddos have math journals, or as we call them yellow notebooks where they solve math problems, create math problems, complete activities, and write about math.

According to Laney, whole group instruction is a great way to introduce a concept or to review mastered concepts. I start each lesson with a short teach, or whole group instruction. I have an 80 minute block for math so sometimes my teach part is a little longer than I plan on, especially when my kids are so excited and are talking.

My teach is usually about 10 to 20 minutes, depending on the concept. This includes my teach part and an active engagement. Pardon me if I use some Teacher’s College from Lucy Calkins terms. That’s just how my brain works after using The Teacher’s College Reader’s and Writer’s Workshop for 10 years (boy do I miss it!!)

Then my kids break up into groups. I have 3 groups right now. There is my struggling group (pink or A), my on level group (green or B), and my more proficient or above level group (blue or C.)

Each group is given activities based on what I notice during the lesson.

SO MY MATH GROUPS CHANGE EVERYDAY!!!!

Everyday I walk around with a checklist and I mark if the students answered the Quick Check questions correctly or incorrectly (We use GoMath.) Based on what I observe, the students move their clothespins to the group they are assigned to. Then my kids move into their groups. WARNING!! IT DOES GET NOISY!!!!!!

I color coded the clothes pins just so they could find their names easily.

I float around the room, checking to see if the students are in the correct group and sometimes make adjustments.

Reflection time

Looking back at my math time, there are some aspects that I do not love. Sometimes you get caught up and run out of time. I am that teacher who is always rushing to pack up at the end of the day or the last class to get to the lunchroom.

I have a beautiful math board with the calendar and daily activities for the students to work on. There are posters for writing numbers in different ways, adding ones or tens, and other daily routine activities. Pay no attention to the word wall, it wasn’t set up yet when I took this picture. 🙂

SHAME ON ME! I almost never do them! It’s not that I don’t want to, I do. We started off really well in September. The kids were so excited about the math wall. But after about a month, I just couldn’t find the time. I tried doing it in the morning, after lunch, before packing up to go home but for some reason, it never seemed to work.

This is one area that I definitely need to work on for next year. According to Laney, the kids should be doing a daily warm up with math activities. I agree and really, really want to have my kids work on the daily routines. So my goal over the summer is to figure out a way to get it done.

Another area that I have been struggling with this year is pulling pre-planned guided math groups based on my data. I have tons of data. I start of each week with pre-planned groups based on the data from exit slips or from different assessments. I get to pull maybe one or two pre-planned groups. The rest of the time I seem to work with my struggling students. I often have to review the concept with my struggling students every day. It is because of this that I do not always get to meet with all of my groups. I have become content if I meet with my other groups twice a week.

Meeting with my on level and above level students more is another goal for next year.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. What are some aspects that are going well for you in your math class? What are some aspects that are not going well for you?

Don’t forget to come back next week to join us for our discussion on chapter 2 of Guided Math by Laney Sammons.

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What is going well for you in your math instruction? What aspects of your math instruction are you struggling with?

Rachel