Monday, June 30, 2014


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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Guided Math Ch. 4 Using Guided Math with the Whole Group

There is a time and a place... but... CAUTION:  Use sparingly!!  lol

  • instructional planning is simpler
  • used to kick-off a new instructional unit
  • spend more time in direct teaching
  • used to build a sense of community
  • can be used to review
  • most times students are not on the same level
  • difficult to keep all students engaged
  • limited student communication time
  • only able to spend brief amounts of time with some students--not all
Sammons also suggests teaching and training your students to be able to assess their own learning using a rubric or another assessment tool.  Also, she says to set learning goals and have the students track their progress.  This is something I want to implement next year.  My goal is to let the kids know what is expected of them and discuss with them what are realistic/reasonable goals and why it is important to set goals for yourself.

What can I do during a whole group lesson?

  • teacher directed
  • NO more than 10 min  **the more you talk the more kids you loose!
  • clearly identify the teaching point
  • limit student talk--not a free for all share
  • demonstrate the teaching point
  • use familiar context for problem solving
  • match the active engagement to mathematics teaching point
What is that going to look like:

  • with yesterday's lesson
  • with the ongoing unit of study
  • with students work
  • with an experience outside of school
Teaching Point--
  • present verbally 
  • demonstrate or model
Active Engagement--
  • students try out a skill or strategy
  • students act like researchers as they watch a demo
  • students imagine trying a skill or strategy
  • students plan out work aloud
Link to Ongoing Student work--
  • students turn to their own work and apply teaching points

  • K-W-L chart * I would also have a section for misconceptions and connections made     OR    1st colunm- What do you know for sure?    2nd--What are you trying to find out?  3rd-Are there any special conditions in the problem?
  • Anticipation guide-set of questions about the upcoming unit there is a BEFORE and AFTER column for the students to mark true or false before and after the unit study
  • Word Spalsh-the relevant vocabulary is on a chart at the start of the unit.  The students will make connections to the words and their prior knowledge

This is a no-brainer!!  What kids do not like to be read to??  And lets face it what student doesn't  love to be read to!!  Use a think-aloud to help students recognize the math/lit. links from the story.  The stories can be used to help illustrate the real life value of the math concept being studied.

Set stage for Math Workshop:

This is your time at the start of the year to set expectations and procedures so that when you are pulling small groups your students will not interrupt.... Just like in Guided Reading!!  (are you seeing a theme here???)

Math Huddle is when the students are brought together to "communicate their ideas, solutions, problems, proofs, and conjectures with one another."   During this time the students are held accountable for expressing ideas, listening thoughtfully, and justifying their mathematical thinking.  This time will be instrumental in building your classroom community.  During the Math Huddle the expectations are set for mistakes to be made in a save environment, use those misconceptions as a learning opportunity, and the teacher is the facilitator--NOT the leader.

Whole group is also when practice and reviews can take place.  Types are:   pencil & paper tasks, games & music, and assessments.

I am sad to say that I felt there was TO much time spent in whole group..... for lots of reasons!!  But,  guided math is what I REALLY want in my classroom... And, I know guided math is the way to go and is my ultimate goal!!

I think it is great to introduce a new concept.. That is one of my goals to really fine tune the 5 step WBT lessons which are by design to be short!!  Which will get me to guided math sooner!
At times it was beneficial to use a whole group lesson; one time was when talking about fractions and we read the book Hershey's Milk Chocolate Fractions Book.

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

Guided Math .... Ch 3 Using Math Warm-ups

In this chapter Laney Sammons discusses the importance of some type of morning warm up for students.  The point you ask:
  • make subtle mathematical shifts in their thinking
  • begin to see patterns & generalizations
  • develop personal understandings of math concepts
  • connect concepts to "real-life" examples
  • "conditionalize"  understand the conditions and purpose of an algorithm (as opposed to rote memorization)
What can I do you say:
  • Question of the Day (QOD)
  • Number of the Day (NOD)
  • What comes Next?
  • How did my family use math last night?
  • ___________ makes me think of......
These are great, but when and how am I going to fit this in....  WITH EVERYTHING ELSE?!?!?  You ask?
  • it is BRIEF --L.S. suggests 20-30 min. at the start of the day (I know I panicked too!!  But if you include the time the students are independently involved and the discussion time it could work!! Also, this could be a goal to work up to as your year evolves.)
  • ALL students can participate...they are the PRIMARY contributors eventually 
  • DAILY repetition (promotes mathematical thinking)
  • it can be used to introduce a concept, be a review, or a concept you are currently in
  • nonthreatening task (generates mathematical communication)
Oh no!!  Wait you said a discussion too?!   Yes!  This is crucial!  You are able to do quick informal assessments of your students knowledge as well as misconceptions.  The teacher will follow a gradual release of responsibility to the students  from think-alouds (highest teacher support), to independent student analysis (lowest level of teacher support).  The best part is that you will incorperate both oral and written mathematical (math journals) thoughts!  And what student does not need more practice in these areas!! 

A key word that stuck out at me when reading this chapter was "inferences or infer".   OMG...light bulb moment!  Again this goes back to how obvious things are in reading and guided reading but we forget when it comes to math.  I would have never used that term but yes!!  Thats what we do in math, so why not carry that skill over intentionally for our students.

Types of discussions:
Think-Alouds:      Highest level of T support 
  • discusses the reason for choosing a specific graphic organizer
  • share observations and inferences made
  • model the use of relevant mathematical vocabulary
  • records on chart paper for future reference
Guided:  Moderate to high level of T support
  • uses carefully crafted questions to guide discussion of observations and inferences from data
  • occasionally rephrases students comments to model relevant mathematical vocabulary and concepts
  • helps students consider the appropriateness of graphic representations
  • records analysis on chart paper for future reference 

Facilitated:  Low to moderate level of T support
  • poses open-ended questions to stimulate discussion by students
  • ensures that discussions stay focused on observations, inferences, and choices of graphing representations
  • analysis may be recorded on chart paper by students or teacher or in Math Journals
Independent:  Lowest level of teacher support
  • records observations, inferences, and choice of graphing representations by students in Math Journals before discussion
  • Discussion of journal reflections primarily by students with T support (keep the focus or correct misconceptions)
As with a weekly possible guideline for Guided Math; Laney Sammons also gives a possible guideline for Morning Math Stretches:

Day of the week:      Morning Stretch:             Topic:
MONDAY                    NOD                               180
TUESDAY               What's Next?                   1, 3, 9, 27, .......
WEDNESDAY       How did my family         How long to make
                               use math last night?          dinner? (real life)
THURSDAY        ____ makes me think of....          multiplication
FRIDAY             data collection                         QOD

I did start the year off with a QOD; sadly due to "everything else"  we did not keep up with it.  I kinda got board with it also.  Now I can see how we can start each day off with something differnet and that I need to set it up for my students to eventually take over.  I may also have said before that I started the year off with the Rise and Shine binder from Reagan Tunstall.  This is amazing!!  I loved how my students came in and got started.  I do have bigger and better plans for it for next year--I did not utilize it as much as I could have.  My goal is for my students to think of it as a go to resource for math.

Types of connections to students can make:  Math to Self, Math to World and Math to Math
This is an area that sad to say I have not put enough focus on.  Defiantly thinking of what I can do next year to be more intentional.

FREEBIE-- this is a page that I created to add to our R&S binder:

Monday, June 9, 2014

Monday Meet Me!

HI!!!  Happy Monday... it is mu first OFFICIAL day of summer!!  WOO HOO  I am linking up with The Teaching Tribune and LOTS of other wonderful teachers.

So her are a few things to get to know me :)

 If you are on Summer break  take some time to rest and relax.... If not then you can do this!!

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Guided Math Chapter 2-Using G.M. to Create a classroom environment of Numeracy

In Chapter 2 the comparison; or rather, contrast is made between Guided Reading and Math.  In Reading it has become a MUST to have print EVERYWHERE!  Letters and words that are both familiar and challenging to our students are found all around the room.  It has become second nature.  But sadly, this is not the case in math.  I know this to be true for myself!  I don't have a math word wall.  I don't make sure there are math problems around the room to read.  I don't have a math library.  I don't have a math "word work" station.  I did not give the same focus and intentionality to setting up my math time that I gave to my Daily 5 expectations.  And when my students were loud, off task, and crazy it was MY fault!!  Did you hear was NOT them it was ME!!  (gasp!!)  I actually sat down (and it was probably after reading this chapter earlier in the year :) and apologized to my class that we have not been giving the same structure and modeling to our math as we did to our Daily 5.... and so we did!!  No things were not perfect...but they were MUCH better!!  

In a nutshell: Foundational Principles for Guided Math-
  • all children CAN learn
  • numeray-rich environment promotes mathematical learning for students
  • learning is a social process
  • learning math is a constructive process
  • organized classroom supports the learning 
  • modeling, think alouds, and opportunities for problem solving and purposeful conversations
  • children are responsible for their learning
Laney Sammons then goes on to discuss how to build a learning community, what message classroom arrangement can give off to students,  that you need both a small group and large group meeting place (the same as guided reading AGAIN!!), importance of proper organizing of manipulative, and how to build a numeracy rich classroom.  She also says that students should begin every morning with a math related problem.  The use of a Problem of the Day (PoD) gets students to explore, investigate, and hypothesize via active engagement.  She also says to record several different ways to get the same answer.  I do have to say that I tried to do this often!

So what do you need for a numeracy rich classroom??  Well, if your already doing guided reading (notice a theme??) then just about the same things!!

  • calendar
  • word wall/vocabulary display
  • manipulatives
  • PoD
  • math journals
  • graphic organizers
  • class made charts
  • math related literature
  • books made by students

For me the MOST important principals are:  all children can learn, learning is a social process, organized classroom supports the learning, modeling, think-alouds, and opportunities for problem solving and purposeful conversations.  I have made a conscious effort from day one to NOT focus on "the answer".  I have stressed "the why" and "how" of the problem.  I have also made it a point to emphasize there is more than one way to solve a problem and I am not always right!  It is OK to make mistakes.   I do feel that Wholebrain Teaching has really helped out with the math wall and helping students to learn how to communicate to the class and each other their thinking.  WBT has what are called "Power Pix" it is a type of anchor chart for a specific skill.  Then when students have "mastered" the term they go on the "Power Pix wall" to be used for review, games, or attention getters during the year.  (Sorry I will post pics later... I can't seem to find them!) But here is the link to my freebies..

Also, the "Teach/OK" really helps the students in becoming engaged, active communicators with others.

What I want to do MORE of:  
  • interactive journals-AND get my students to go there 1st!
  • charts
  • math writing
  • math literature & student made math lit.
  • use of graphic organizers-I never thought to use a Venn to compare addition and multi.!!

I do!  And mostly because of what I mentions earlier!  I really focused not they "why",  I tried to get at least 3 different ways to solve a problem, and I expected my students to answer in complete sentences....  You would be surprised how that really got them thinking!

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