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3 Simple Tips For How To Use The Guided Math Framework With ANY Curriculum

I often have teachers tell me that they don’t have time to teach using the guided math framework and small groups because they have to follow a certain math curriculum. If I’m being honest with myself, I probably thought that once too. Allow me let you in on a little secret… guided math is not a curriculum. It’s a framework for how you structure and run your math block WITH your curriculum.

The guided math framework focuses on a gradual release method where the learning primarily moves from teacher-led to student-led lessons and activities. Read on to learn 3 simple tips for how to use the guided math framework with ANY math curriculum.

guided math framework

A Quick Breakdown of the Guided Math Framework

Before we dive into the tips, I wanted to offer a quick breakdown of the guided math framework. You can read more about the specific details in-depth in my blog post, All About Guided Math, but for now, let’s quickly review the guided math framework structure.

The 5 components of guided math are:

  1. Warm-up
  2. Whole group mini lesson
  3. Independent practice
  4. Small group lesson
  5. Math centers

Want to dive deeper into this topic with me? Check out my YouTube video below!

3 Tips for Using The Guided Math Framework With ANY Curriculum

Today, I’m going to share some simple tips to help you use the guided math framework with ANY math curriculum. No matter which curriculum your school or district requires you to teach, you can ABSOLUTELY still teach in the guided math format!

Tip #1: Create a schedule for your math block.

First off, you need to make sure that you have your math block set up to run smoothly for this style of teaching, as it can be a big transition. One of my best tips for you to take away from this is to BE FLEXIBLE!

Things may not turn out perfectly the first time you try them, and that’s ok! Use this teaching format as trial and error until you figure out what works best for you and your students.

Here are some things to think about as you set-up your guided math schedule:

  • How many minutes is your math block?
  • How many small groups do you want to see each day?
  • How much time do you have for a whole group mini lesson?

From there, create a schedule that works best for you. This blog post, Setting Up Your Math Block, shows several example schedules of what a guided math block should look like whether you have a 60, 75, or 90-minute time frame.

If you need more support making time for guided math, be sure to check out my FREE Guided Math Training!

Tip #2: Don’t over-plan. 

This is your reminder that you do not have to do every single guided math component within a single lesson. 

For many teachers, your district-provided curriculum looks something like this:

  • Daily video to show students.
  • Daily lesson plan from teacher workbook.
  • Lesson from workbook.
  • Student lesson from workbook.

However, you also want to do an interactive notebook activity, make an anchor chart, rotate to math centers, and do a math craft. 

Hear me when I say… YOU CANNOT DO IT ALL.

To begin with, if you are required to use a district-provided curriculum, then look at the components of that day’s lesson. Do you really need to do everything? NO!!!

Pick one or two lessons or activities and go from there. Think about what is the most important and what can be done during the time frame you’ve created.

For example, maybe one day you show the video from your math curriculum to your students as your whole group lesson. During small groups, you reinforce that video with a hands-on lesson either provided by your curriculum, my guided math curriculum units, or with supplemental materials. 

If you are required to use your student workbooks, you can make that a math center that students rotate through or incorporate that during independent practice. That’s not my favorite thing to do, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. 

Guided Math Binder

Tip #3: Include student differentiation.

A big positive in the guided math framework is that it allows you to differentiate your instruction to meet the needs of ALL of your students. Even if your math curriculum doesn’t provide you with differentiated materials, this part doesn’t have to be hard. 

Maybe instead of using two dice, students will use three dice or use special dice with larger numbers on them. These Whiz Dice from Amazon are my favorite for this.

For problem solving practice, change out the numbers so different groups of students are working on the same activity but with different numbers. 

Whiz Dice Math Differentiation

Students can easily work on a skill using the same activity but on a different level. For example, think about place value for a second. Each group of students uses the same set of base ten cards, but the activities are different. 

  • Group 1: Identifies the number form.
  • Group 2: Identifies the number and writes it in expanded form.
  • Group 3: Identifies the number and writes it four different ways.

Lastly, prioritize your lessons based on what your students need the most, not what your math curriculum workbook tells you to do. Use this standards checklist in my Guided Math Binder to help keep track of student mastery.

If you are looking to get started with the guided math framework, but have no idea where to start, I would highly recommend you check out my online professional development course for teachers, Managing Math Stations. This online, self-paced professional development training walks you through step-by-step how to implement the guided math framework into your classroom, no matter how much time you have to teach math!

Managing Math Staitons Guided Math Framework Professional Development Course

As you can see, there are many ways to incorporate the guided math framework into your day alongside ANY math curriculum.

It is ok to simply break down your lessons into smaller chunks using the guided math framework to spread your material out over a period of time.

Feel free to pin the image below to save this post for later!

guided math framework

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