It is no secret that I am a huge believer in GUIDED MATH. I’ve been teaching in this format for the last 4 years and I’ll never go back to whole group teaching again.
I’m so excited to share with you my new blog series to go along with my biggest passion of guided math to help you in the classroom!
It is never too late for trying out new things so let’s get started! Over the next few weeks, we will be breaking down the steps by talking about the following:
Does that sound like a lot to process? Don’t worry we are going to take it slow. Let’s get started with Part 1!
What is guided math?
It is a structured way of teaching with a mix of whole and small group instruction. It consists of the following 4 components:
- whole group lesson
- small group lesson (at your teacher table)
- group stations (or centers)
Before we dive into all of the components, let’s talk about your math block. First, you need to make sure that you have your math block set up to run smoothly for this transition and this style of teaching. One of my best tips for you to take away from this is to BE FLEXIBLE!
There are going to be days where your stations do not run smoothly. There will be days when you don’t get to everything planned or to all the groups you have planned out. You’ll have a fire drill or a parent will show up unexpectedly with cupcakes.
90 Minute Math Block
I’m lucky that my district gives me a 90-minute math block. In years past, I’ve only had 60 minutes so I’m going to share examples of both time frames with you. This is currently how my math block is structured. I have a total of 90 minutes.
- 20-30 minute whole group lesson
- 3 rounds of math stations (15 minutes each)
- 2 brain breaks (3-5 minutes each)
Here it is broken down in detail.
The first half of the year I spend 30 minutes for my whole group lesson. The second half of the year I try to cut it down to 20 minutes. Some days it works and other days I need that extra 10 minutes. My schedule is set up to where I see 3 math groups a day for 15 minutes each. I have 5 groups total and I see each group twice a week. I’ll go into more detail with this in my next post.
Here are two other examples that go along with a 90-minute math block.
The main difference between these and my current schedule are the following:
- Example 1 includes 2 20 minute rotations
- Example 2 includes 5 10 minute rotations
I’ve found that 10 minutes is too short for ME, but I know others who prefer it this way. You can adjust the time to see what works for you. 15 minutes is the perfect amount of time for me. As your kids build stamina you can also increase your time.
60 Minute Math Block
Here are some examples if you have a 60-minute math block. When I had this amount of time, I followed example 3. I also allowed time for one brain break.
One last option that I would like to share with you is a technique called Power Hour. This is when your core teaching is done during this time at your teacher table. It consists of the following:
- Mini-lesson (5-10 minutes)
- 4 15 minute rotations or 3 20 minute rotations of stations.
Your mini lesson consists of a quick introduction or review. Then you are practicing those concepts at the small group table.
I hope this gave you a few ideas on how to organize your math block. In my next post, I’ll be discussing how to create a vision for your math block. I’ll go into detail on what I do during my whole and small group times.
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