The adventures of a fourth grade teacher in East Central Illinois.

Guided Math Groups

About a year and a half ago, I stumbled upon a great resource for teachers called MiddleWeb, which, among many other things, provides teacher reviews of educational resource books. I signed up to review some books during the summer of 2014 and found some great ideas and resources that I’ve tried using in my classroom. One of these, which I wrote about that summer, was the idea of Guided Math groups, which are organised much the same way as Guided Reading groups are. I read the book that Dr. Nicki Newton wrote on the subject, wrote a review, and toyed with different ways of implementing the strategies during the following year. I don’t know how successful I was, but I at least tried to incorporate some of the ideas into my instruction.

With the arrival of our Chromebooks as an amazing instructional tool, I realised that I had a fantastic way of incorporating Guided Math this year! I am not able to set up a Math Workshop as Dr. Newton suggests, but I am still incorporating some of her ideas. Our math period goes for one hour. For the first 15 minutes, we have a whole-class lesson that introduces a math concept for the day. For the next 45 minutes, the students go through a rotation of working independently on the Chromebooks (mostly with FrontRow but we are also going to start using XtraMath again each day) and meeting with me in a small group.

I have three small groups set up. These are going to be flexible groups that are organised based on whatever major unit we are working on at the time. Some students may work in the same group more than once but they shouldn’t expect to be in the same group throughout the year. I will work with each group for 15 minutes. They will spend the other 30 minutes on independent, differentiated practice online.

We started using this framework this week. I am still working on tweaking it, but I think it is going to make our math instructional time much more effective. I’m excited to be able to implement some of Dr. Newton’s strategies and will be referring to the book she wrote again for ideas and suggestions over the next weeks and months!

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