Guided Math: Chapter 9

Chapter 9

Hi everyone. Welcome back to our book study on chapter 9 of Guided Math: A Framework For Mathematics Instruction. It has been a great nine weeks and I’m glad that you stuck around to join us in the book study.

I hope after following along with us, you are planning on implementing the math workshop into your day and have come away with some great ideas.

Chapter 9a

How will you begin to implement the Guided Math Framework in your classroom?
I have been working with math groups and guided groups for years in my class. I am so glad that I read Laney Sammon’s Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction. I have been feeling stale lately. I don’t know if that make sense, maybe in a rut is a better phrase. Have you ever felt like that?

After reading this book and reflecting on my last year, there are some things that I definitely need to change.
1. I need to spend more time on morning stretches. I always intended to do the morning stretches, but then it just never happened. Hopefully, using the morning stretches planning pages will help me to make sure that I actually do them. I also plan on incorporating new morning stretches, like the math current events.

2. I need to spend more time on structure and routines this year. Maybe I was just used to 3rd and 4th graders…I don’t know. I really need to spend A LOT more time setting up my expectations during guided math. I found it very difficult to meet with all of my planned groups, and I think that is why.

3. I already use music, videos, and games in my instruction. Next year I plan on using more.

4. I need to spend less time with independent students that are struggling with a concept. Sometimes that one student monopolizes my time…and there go my guided groups.

How will you begin to implement the Guided Math Framework in your class?

Chapter 9b

How can you create a professional learning community to support you as you modify your mathematics instruction?

Ok. I’m kind of at a lost of how to create a professional learning community that will support each other. That sound horrible, doesn’t it??
I moved to a new school two years ago and things have been kind of rough. Don’t get me wrong, I love my new school and my colleagues. They are all fabulous teachers, but I work a bit differently than they do. I’ve tried to share ideas, only to be shot down many times. There are several other teachers who listen and try out different ideas. Hopefully this coming year, the small group of teachers and I can meet up at least once a week before or after school and form a small support team. I am also on the Professional Development Committee this year. I would love to bring in the workshop model and guided math to the rest of the teachers through professional development.

Can you give me any advice? What would you do?

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. I had a great time discussing the math workshop and guided math with you. Remember to hop through and read what others have to say about chapter 9 and enter the last 🙁 giveaway.


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Guided Math: Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Hi everyone! Welcome back to our book study on Chapter 8 of Guided Math.

Chapter 8 is all about using assessments in guided math. As teachers, we collect tons and tons of data. I have to be honest, I have so much data and sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. Is anyone else with me?

Chapter 8a

Why is assessment essential in a Guided Math classroom? Assessment is essential so you know what your students understand and what they are struggling with. In order for Math Workshop and Guided Math to work, students must be placed in the correct group. By continually assessing your kids, you know the instructional level of each student and you are better able to meet the needs of each individual student.

Assessment is also important because it guides your instruction. I know there have been many times when I think my kids have understood a concept. Then I look at their work and my heart stops, half of the class is incorrect or having difficultly. Then as an educator, I have to stop and reflect on what happened and come up with a different approach. But on a positive note, sometimes I after assessing my students I realize that I can move on quicker than I thought because most of the class has grasped the concept. 🙂 I love those days!! Don’t you?

Chapter 8b

What kinds of assessments do you use in your classroom? Is there a blend of assessments and evaluations?
I know that there is a difference between evaluations and assessments, but sometimes I lump all of the data together.

I assess my students everyday. When we assess our students, we gather a large amount of data from a small group of students. Each day during guided math groups, I am able to assess my students. I am able to see what my students know or what misconceptions they have about a strategy or a topic. I also assess my students based on activities completed during small groups.

In my class, we use GoMath for our math curriculum. Each day, there is a quick check to assess the students’ understanding of the concept or skill being taught. This is one way that I create my math groups. Each day after my mini-lesson, I walk around with my checklist and use the data to make my groups.

Here is a copy of my quick check that I use for each lesson.

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Students are also assessed through activities or games. My kids enjoy writing and solving their own word problems. I use a rubric to assess my kids’ strengths or what they need to work on.

Here is a copy of one of the rubrics I use for assessing writing and solving word problems.

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I also provide feedback to my kids. Students are given their strengths (glows) and what they need help in (grows.) Students are then given the opportunity to use the feedback to improve on their work. We also work on giving peer feedback and students self reflect on their own work.

At the end of each chapter, students are evaluated on their knowledge of all of the concepts or skills taught during the chapter.

Here is my data spreadsheet (I’m pretty sure that I have shared this before.) If you teach 2nd grade and use GoMath, you can check out the chapter item analysis for the entire year here.

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I also evaluate my students on what they already know or need to know in September using the Prerequisite Skills Test Analysis and the Beginning of the Year Test Analysis. They have been a life saver!!

How do you assess or evaluate your kiddos? I’d really like to know.

Thanks for stopping by and don’t forget to read what everyone else has to say about chapter 8. I hope to see you next week for chapter 9, the last chapter of our book study. 🙁

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Guided Math: Chapter 6

Chapter 6
Hi everyone! Thanks for coming back to discuss chapter 6 in Laney Sammons Guided Math: A Framework For Mathematics Instruction.

Chapter 6 is all about supporting guided math with math workshop.

There are many advantages of using Math Workshop in your classroom. It is definitely flexible. In my class, students sometimes work independently, in pairs, or as a group. There are days where the students begin working independently, then go into partner or group work. This is one way that I ensure that the work that needs to get done is actually completed.
My kids love working in partners and in groups. It is definitely a way to get the kids talking about math. 🙂

There are also some challenges of using Math Workshop in the classroom. It takes quite a while to get the routine set up in the beginning of the year. The students are always coming up to you and asking questions or often off task. But once the routine is set, it is so worth it!
It also takes more time to plan an effective Math Workshop. You need to be sure to select tasks that are appropriate and rigorous for the students.

Chapter 6a

What are some ways you can organize your classroom for Math Workshop?
Organization is key when setting up your classroom for Math Workshop. If you already have your room set up for Guided Reading, then you already know what to do.
I have an area set up in my room with all of my labeled math manipulatives that are easily accessed by the kids. The kids know where everything is and because things are labeled, the students know (eventually) where the material goes at the end of math.
I also have an area set up for my guided group to meet. I sit with my group on the floor towards the back of my room. Each table (I have 5) is designated a group. I usually have 3 groups plus my guided group.
I have a math board in the front of the room where the groups, the activity, and the rules are posted.

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Chapter 6b

How can implementing Math Workshop promote the learning goals you have for your classroom.

When you use Math Workshop in your classroom, the students are given more effective tasks. Students become more independent and are held accountable for their learning. The students also work with each other and develop their math talk. They are able to discuss math and share the different strategies or ways that they solve a problem.

By implementing Math Workshop, the students are working on their level, not below or above. This ensures that the kids are not frustrated or bored in math class.

You also get a better view of what the students know or don’t know and can quickly correct the misunderstanding.

Laney Sammons gives some types of tasks that can be used during Math Workshop.
*Review previously mastered concepts
*Practice for math fact automaticity.
*Use mathematical games to reinforce concepts.
*Practice problem solving.
*Investigate mathematical concepts.
*Write in Math Journals.
*Complete computer-related work.
*Complete math-related work from other subject areas.
*Complete work from small-group instruction.

I love playing math games with my kids. They are great to review concepts already taught.

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Click below to download a Weekly Math Workshop Plan.

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Thanks for stopping by and saying hi.
What ways do you organize your classroom for Math Workshop or how do you plan to organize your room for next year?
I would love to hear your ideas!


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Guided Math: Chapter 5

Chapter 5

Hi everyone! Welcome back to Chapter 5 of Laney Sammons’ Guided Math Book Study. I’m glad you decided to come back again and join us. Today is my last day of school!!! 🙂

Chapter 5: Using Guided Math with Small Groups

Last week we covered working with the whole class and how sometimes we have to use whole-class instruction in our classrooms.
This week we will be looking at using guided math with small groups. There are many advantages and disadvantages of small group instruction.

Advantages of small-group instruction:
*Instruction is more focused.
*There is more conversation around math.
*It is easy to manage materials.
*Students receive the support they need to expand their understanding of the concept.
*There is comfort and safety for the students in small groups.
*Small groups are more flexible.
*You can meet with small groups for different amounts of time and for different reasons.
*The ability to monitor student behavior more readily.
*Correcting misconceptions quickly.
*Observing the students and assessing what they know or do not know.

Disadvantages of small-group instruction:
*More extensive planning is needed for differentiated instruction to reach the need of all students and planning for independent work that is meaningful.
*More assessment is needed (informal and formal) so that the teachers know their students really well (not really a disadvantage!!)
*Each student receives less direct instruction.

Chapter 5a

By using flexible, needs based student grouping, students are given 15 to 20 minutes of intensive instruction that is geared to meet the needs of every member of that group. The teacher plans the groups knowing what the students in that group already know and focuses on what the students need to learn.
When students are in small groups, there is less of a chance of the students becoming frustrated. The teacher is able to work at a slower or faster pace and show different strategies or ways to solve problems.

My students love working in small groups. Each day, I start off with a quick mini-lesson. After the mini-lesson, the students break up into groups. My groups change everyday depending on the lesson being taught. Each group is given independent work, often times working in partners. As the students work in their groups, I pull my guided groups. My kids get so excited when I call them over to work with me. Everyday they ask, “Who are working with today? Me??”
This year I struggled with meeting with my planned guided groups. Many of my students struggled with math this year and I often had to reteach the lesson to a group. Hopefully next year will go more smoothly.

Chapter 5b

When making my groups for small group instruction, I both informal observations and formal assessments.

I use my end of unit assessments to help me plan my groups. I have a checklist of each question with the common core standard that I use to mark off which skills or concepts the students know or are struggling with.

I love color coding my spreadsheets (it must be the nerd in me!)
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After I have the data, I plan out my groups for the week. Here is my conference sheet that I use.

Click below to download.
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The names are written on the side. Each day I check off which group the student is in based on my observations or off of an assessment. The last column for each day is labeled Test/Ind. This is where I jot down the test number the student had incorrect or the skill. During the week, I meet with the student for a one-to-one conference or pull that student into a small group to work on that skill or content area.
I plan out the work for each group for the week below.
Sorry I don’t have one in action for you to see, it is the end of June! 🙂

I also collect data based on my observations. We use GoMath for our math curriculum. Each lesson has a Quick Check to see if the students understand the concept. As I walk around, I use my Quick Check Checklist to create groups.

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Since GoMath was new to us this year, I used the Quick Check Checklist more than the first checklist to make my groups. The first checklist I used more for my guided groups when I used formal assessments.

Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. Remember to stop by and see what everyone else has to say about chapter 5 and enter the giveaway below. I hope I see you next week for chapter 6!

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Guided Math: Chapter 4

Chapter 4

Welcome back everyone! I am so excited that you have come back to join me for chapter 4 of Laney Sammon’s book, Guided Math. The more I read this book, the more I love it!

Chapter 4 is “Using Guided Math with the Whole Class.” In this chapter, Laney talks about the advantages of whole-class instruction.
We can use whole-group class instruction for the following reasons:
*Presenting mini lessons (according to my administration, this should take 2 or 3 minutes…ha ha ha!)
*Involving students in activating strategies.
*Read aloud Mathematics-related literature (LOVE IT!)
*Conducting a Math Huddle (or my math congress.)
*Providing practice and review (because we all know that every student gets it on their first attempt! 😉 )
*Formal testing or assessment

I know where I come from, whole-class instruction is a no-no. We all know that differentiated groups are important, but sometimes we ARE ALLOWED to work with the whole class.

Chapter 4a

Think back to your previous week of mathematics instruction in your classroom. How mucho of the instruction was whole class? Why did you choose that instructional method?

So, thinking back over the past week of my math instruction I would say that I usually have about 20 minutes each math lesson as whole class. We start out by solving a word problem together, then move into the mini-lesson. I do a mini-lesson almost everyday. During the mini-lesson, I begin with the connection, then teach or model the concept. Afterwards, the students try out the skill or concept and talk about it with a partner (or turn and talk as I like to say from my Teacher’s College trainig!) The students then go back to their seat while I walk around and assign small groups. After groups, we come back as a whole class and share. I have a 90 minute math block everyday, but sometimes it still doesn’t seem like enough time.

One day this week, I read the Math Curse. I so love that book! Not only do I love it, but so do the kids! I love reading math literature to my kiddos but I realized that I didn’t read half as many math related books as I did last year.

Chapter 4b

In which situations do you use whole-class instruction most frequently? How effective is it in those situations?

As stated above, I start off almost each lesson with a problem of the day and a mini-lesson. I think the mini-lesson is effective, especially the active engagement when the kids try the skill or concept and talk about it with their partners.

I also use activating strategies often. I think it is very important to activate prior knowledge in any subject. Laney Sammons mentions KWL charts as an activating strategy. However, in my school we are a Thinking Maps school and are not ALLOWED to use graphic organizers or KWL charts. To activate prior knowledge, I use Circle Maps. I put the topic inside the smallest circle. In the larger circle, students write what they know about that topic or concept. In the rectangle, or frame of the map, students write how they know about the topic.

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After we work on the concept or skill, students take a colored pencil and revise their circle maps. They add in the new information learned in a different color so we can see the new information learned and what information was prior knowledge. My kiddos love this part…anything to use colored pencils or sometimes markers.

I also love using games and music in my class. My kiddos love to watch videos, even during snack. You can check out some other videos by clicking here

We also play a lot of games. My kids especially love scoot games. They really enjoy getting up and moving around the room.

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I am definitely going to use anticipation guides next year with my class and word splashes. I can’t wait to add in this new material into my math class and I think my kiddos will really enjoy them.

In what situations do you use whole-class instruction the most? Leave a comment below and let me know.

Thanks for stopping by and saying say. I can’t wait to see you next week for chapter 5!


Don’t forget to enter this week’s giveaway and hop through to read what everyone else has to say about chapter 4.

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Guided Math: Chapter 2

Chapter 2

Hi everyone,

Welcome back to our Book Study on Guided Math by Laney Sammons. I’m glad you decided to come back for our discussion on Chapter 2.


What do you think is one of the most important Foundational Principles of Guided Math is?

I think one of the most important Foundational Principles of Guided Math is Modeling and think-alouds, combined with ample opportunities for guided and independent problem solving and purposeful conversations, create a learning environment in which students’ mathematical understanding grows.
I agree that it is very important for teachers to model and provide think-alouds during math. We model and provide think-alouds during reading and writing throughout the day.

But for some reason, many teachers do not bring the modeling and think-alouds into math. Often time, because of time teachers accept an answer and move on. It is so important for students to realize that there is not just one right way to solve a problem.

I use the phrases “So I was thinking…” or “Watch me as I…” all of the time during math. I sometimes cringe over how many times I actually say these phrases during the day. “So I was thinking, there might be a different way to solve this problem.” After solving a problem, I also might say, “Watch me as I solve this problem in a different way.” It’s funny how sometimes your kids become a mini you. I hear my kiddos say these phrases all the time in class and at home.

I love when the students realize that you can solve a problem using more than one approach. In the beginning of the year, many of my kids would argue with each other and tell each other they were wrong if a different approached was used. Now, at the end of the year the students are so excited when they have a different approach than another student.

Growing up I. HATED. MATH! I admit it. The teacher would stand up in front of the room and show us how to solve the problem. There was only one way to solve the problem, her way. If you did the math a different way, you were wrong. I remember going home and my dad explaining a math problem to me. I would get upset and argue with him that he was wrong, it wasn’t the way my teacher solved the problem.

Another Foundational Principle of Guided Math that I think is important is Learning at its best is a social process. I think it is extremely important that students get the opportunity to talk about math. Many students lack vocabulary. Not only do students have poor vocabulary skills in reading and writing, but also in mathematics. Students need to work in partners or in groups as they work on problems. Working and talking with others helps students to develop vocabulary and math language. Students learn to listen to each other’s ideas and see the different approaches their classmates take to solve a problem.

Here are 3 different approaches used to solve the same problem.

One way I promote math being a social process is by working on math investigations or exlemplars. See my post on math investigations part I and part II here Part I and Part II.
My kiddos absolutely love working together to solve a problem and creating a math poster. As you walk around and listen or coach in, it is amazing to hear the kids discuss how they solved the problem and which approach they would like to present to the class.

Here is a picture of my chart for kids to refer back to when working in partners or when completing a math investigation.

It did my heart proud when my Superintendent was observing my math lesson and my kids shared some of their approaches. One partnership said, “We used the standard algorithm to show regrouping.” Another partnership said “We used a different way! We drew quick pictures with base 10 blocks to show regrouping.” My superintendent was impressed to say the least.

The majority of my kids love math class. Everyday they ask, “When are we doing math?” Come on! We do math at basically the same time everyday, plus it is on the flow of the day. The next question my kids ask is, “Are we doing math groups?” Now the other students say, “You know the answer, YES!”

Chapter 2b

I do think that my students feel that they are members of a mathematical learning community. Students share their work by going up to the Smartboard or presenting work to the class. I try to make every student feel that they have something to contribute to math class, that everyone can learn the concept.

Students work in partners everyday at some point during math. They still have some independent work but often have to share their work with a partner later. As I walk around the class, there are days that I hear the kids arguing, but when I get closer to them I notice that the kids are arguing about math and who is correct and why. We work together to share ideas and then see which approach works better and why. I try to establish that no one has a better idea in math, but sometimes one approach or strategy works better than others.

Here is a freebie for you! Click below to download the Frayer Diagram Interactive Notebook page.
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Thanks for stopping by and saying hi. Do you think that your kiddos feel like they are part of a mathematical learning community?

Remember to hop on through to all of the other blogs today.
Don’t forget to come back next week when we discuss chapter 3 in Guided Math by Laney Sammons.

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Guided Math Book Study: Chapter 1

Chapter 1

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.

Chapter 1a

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.

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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.

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!!!!!!

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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.

Chapter 1b

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?


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