Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Guided Math Ch. 7 Conferring with Students

I think this is an area that teachers NEVER feel we do it good enough..  Or that teachers are not really sure they are doing it right..  I know I feel at times I am fumbling in the dark and other times I feel I am really being productive...  And honestly the more I research the more I find that I am not so bad!  It is also one of those skills that just gets better the more you do it.  

So how does this look in Guided Math you wonder??  I  know I did.  First off this can be done individually or in small group; just as with GR.  As with guided reading your "other" students MUST be self-sufficient.

Here are some of my tips:  
  • Make a game plan (think:  if it can go wrong it will--and what do I want to happen)
  • Have a Lost and Found
  • Have a few "Experts"
  • Define "What an Emergency is"
  • Have an "alternate activity" for those stinkers kids who are having trouble (something NOT fun but meaningful)  ex:  fill in a 120 chart, writing math facts, solving a sheet of problems...

The Conference Structure

*Research Student Understanding--find out what they are doing/intentions.  Using mathematical terminology link what they are doing to standards and remind them to do this in the future.  The goal is to help the student move from almost independent to complete independence.  The goal is to see what the student understands and can they apply it appropriatley.  What this stage is NOT:  used to determine the next step in teaching; the majority of the conference time (keep it short)
*Decide What is Needed--Decide if you need to alter or accept their current trategies/processes.  Teacher responsibilities:  First, identify strengths and give genuine/specific complements.  Second, what can be taught to move students forward.  Third, decide the most efficient and meaningful way in the few minutes to teach the points to the student to move them further. 
*Teach to Students Needs--Using a demonstration; guided practice, or explicit telling.  
*Link to the Future--Let the student know what they did as a mathematician and remind them to do this often in the future.  It can be helpful to have the student restate what they learned and how can they use it in future work. (I smell a great writing time!!)

Keeping a Record

It may seem like an "of course" moment but lets face it... We go into each new year with grand wishes, dreams, and new goals... but then they come and school life happens!!  ha can I get an amen!!? ( we are only human after all)  OK... so you have done everything else why would you not keep a record of what you have learned from your kiddos..  Just DONT forget to USE it.  You have to find what works for you.  It may take lots of trial and error.  I would suggest having at least 4-6 students each day that you already know you want to check in with when first getting started.  It will help you be accountable until it becomes second nature.  

 Here are a few suggestions: 
  • carry a clipboard with students names; you can have a skills check list
  • index cards (one for each kid) taped in a fan layout
  • sticky notes
  • notebook, binder, spiral
  • pre-made observation forms
  • or make your own!

This was a big focus for me this past year.  I tried to really get them to tell me "what" or "why" they did something.  I sometimes asked lots of "why not" questions to get them thinking.  

Gonna admit it (cause now I am accountable!)  I did not feel this was my strongest part of G.M.  Often this part got pushed due to other requirements.  I am going to be more intentional this next year.  I think part was because I was new to 2nd grade and now knowing more of "what is next" is helping me to think about how can I set myself up to really be effective for my students.   I am getting my "game plan" together.

We are only two chapters away from being done!!  I have really enjoyed being able to dig deeper and re-reflect on this book.  I feel I have a much better understanding.  I hope you have gained some great insight as well and are ready to try something new!  I would love to hear from you so keep checkin in!   And don't forget to visit the other great bloggers and enter to win a fabulous prize!!

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