part 2 of my guided math series. To check out part 1 on How to Set Up your Math Block here.
to set up your schedule for whole and small group instruction. Today I am going
to share what I do during each of those times. Let’s create a vision shall we! Now I must warn you, this post is long. I go into detail about my entire math block and share lots of visuals. Don’t worry, there is as goodie at the end just for you for sticking with me!
a 5 minute warm up. My district pushes problem solving hard. Since our state
tests are all in a problem solving format, I use this time to reinforce the
skills needed in order to problem solve independently. Now my math block is
first thing in the morning so I tie part of this into my morning work. If you choose to do math in the afternoon, it may be slightly different.
in the morning, they have a word problem that goes in their math journal that
they must complete independently and then they must complete a number of the
day. After announcements, I spend 5 minutes reviewing the word problem that
they had to complete. I’ll call on students to share different strategies they
used to solve the problem. We start with these day one and the spiral different concepts throughout the year. You can get them here.
Once those two things are completed and it’s time to start our whole group lesson. I spend 20-30 minutes max teaching whole group. What do we do
during this time? I keep it simple. When making out lesson plans I don’t try
to plan an anchor chart and then a journal activity and a game all at one time.
I choose one thing that I know I can do during that time span. Here are some
examples of what you can do:
I’m obsessed with task cards. I use them for EVERYTHING! Whole group, small group, stations, math journals, you name it! Here is what all you can do with them.
1. Play iSpy – tape the cards around the room. Have students go from card to card and solve.
2. Scoot – place a card on each students desk. When the teacher says scoot, they move to the next desk and solve.
3. Find someone who – for fun, tape a card to each students back. Have them go around finding partners and solving the cards on each others back!
4. Journals – print pages 2-4 to a page and use them as journal prompts. See how to do this here.
We use our math journals daily for problem solving practice and then several days a week for our whole group lesson. Sometimes I use a premade template and other times I don’t.Here are some examples.
Once we finish our whole group lesson we do a quick brain break. I mainly use GoNoodle. You can sign up for a free account and they have lots of videos geared towards academic content. Since we are just finishing our math lesson, I normally will choose as math video at this time.
- hands on learning: use those math manipulatives!
- interactive journal activities
- group or partner work
- abcya.com : Free for grades k-5th. Very kid friendly.
- mathgames.com: Aligned with the CCS (other states can use too, I’m in Texas). Questions are test formatted. Free for grades PK-8th grade. Teacher creates student accounts to monitor.
- www.kahnacademy.org: Very similar to the site above. Teachers create student accounts and can monitor progress. You can select questions based on the standard. Free for use.
- mathlearningcenter.org: This site has lots of free tools for online manipulates as well as apps for tablets. Click on open web app under the activity you would like to use.
- QR codes: Sometimes I’ll use these for my technology station and other times, I’ll include them in my other three. Download a QR code app onto any smart device. Students solve the problem and scan the code to check their answer.
- whole group lesson extension
- journal activities
- task cards
- high order thinking questions
I spend 15 minutes with each group and break it up into three parts.
- Warm up activity: 3 minutes (previously taught skill
- Guided practice: 9 minutes (current skill)
- Reflection/Writing: 3 minutes
I always close out my groups with a quick reflection. I’ll have students write down what they just learned or tell me orally. Some questions I ask include:
- What was added to your knowledge
- Tell something that stretched your thinking.
- Do you think what we just did is still hard? Why?
- Do you think what we just did is getting easier? Why?
- What will you change next time?
How do I keep track of what I’m doing with each group? This is where my guided math binder comes in. This thing saves my sanity. It holds all my lesson plans, data, notes, and planning pages.