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Putting the guided math framework into practice, “The Implementation”






As guided math is a flexible way of teaching, compared to the traditional standard whole-class instruction, students will receive a variety of learning opportunities.

When you implement the guided math framework you’ll be able to plan specific lessons and activities which will stimulate your students in different ways, you can tailor the lessons to match the way your current students learn.

Don’t forget these pointers when planning for your students as they will make sure your students can make sense of concepts and help them to gain a better understanding:

  • Ensure your students celebrate their mistakes as they learn from each one, and from each other.

  • Make sure you provide challenging activities which involve problem-solving strategies.

  • Set up activities that your students will need to use new and learned strategies to solve.

  • Your students need to know that it is ok to struggle and celebrate when they achieve the correct solving skills.

  • Always provide constructive criticism and helpful feedback, and set up situations where your students will receive feedback from their peers.

  • Try to use mathematical vocabulary when conversing with your students, and encourage them to use the correct language too – this will help your students to think like a mathematician!

  • Help your students to understand, and expand, their mathematical knowledge via problem-solving.

If you make sure yourself, your classroom and your students follow the above points, you’ll notice your students grasping concepts quicker, and not giving up as easy. Your students will learn that mastering one concept, will help when learning a new one as they build on their skills.

The structure of guided math requires all seven components to be utilized for it to be effective, so make sure you have the following included in your classroom plans:
  • Numeracy-rich classroom environment


  • Morning math warm-ups

  • Whole-class instruction

  • Guided math with small groups

  • Math workshops

  • Teacher-student conferences

  • Assessments

When you implement the guided math framework, which contains seven components (listed above, excerpts taken from this book - ‘Guided Math – A framework for Mathematics Instruction’, by Laney Sammons) – you’ll find more time to cover certain topics in greater depth, as you will not be tied up with all the lesson planning that you currently do. This will be very beneficial to your students as they will find that they aren’t struggling as much because you would have been able to offer more of your time on one subject, making sure they grasp the concept and know the strategies before having to move on. Unlike traditional teaching, you’ll be able to work with the students who need extra support with a certain concept, whilst letting other students move on – therefore, your students will not feel out of their depth, or feel like they are being held back.



This is the end of my guided math series – I hope you have learned everything you need to be able to implement guided math in your classroom. Let me know how it goes for you – and if you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

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What are the components of the Guided Math Framework? How do they work?


Greetings Teacher Friends-

It has been a crazy 2 weeks.  We are preparing our students for our upcoming testing and I have been working working working with teachers.  We also just implemented our after-school extended day tutoring program.  So I have been busy with that.  Today, I made a cautious effort to make sure that I continue with our series.  So here it is…


In this blog post, let’s talk about all seven components of the guided math framework, in greater depth. Below is a table from the book - ‘Guided Math – A framework for Mathematics Instruction’, by Laney Sammons to give you a brief description of all seven components:



Numeracy-rich Classroom Environment:

When arranging your classroom to adhere to the goals of creating a numeracy-rich environment, based on the guided math framework, you should make sure you design your classroom for all seven components, and ensure that there is enough room that correlates to the amount of space required for each component.

When placing your furniture around your classroom, keep in mind that your students will need space to move from one component area to the next, e.g. from the math workshop area to the teacher-conference area.

You will need to make math materials and manipulatives easily accessible to enforce independent learning, this will become very useful during teacher-conferences.

Setting up your classroom according to the guided math framework, you should arrange the desks/tables into sets so students are able to sit together when at their home area (where students start and finish their school days), this allows for students’ interaction which can aid with learning. Also, home areas should contain students’ personal belongings and supplies.

Don’t forget to have a large area, preferably carpeted, for teacher-directed traditional instruction – this is where your students will gather for whole class lessons and the perfect spot to place the calendar board, an easel/whiteboard, a hundred chart, and a number line. Other activities that you could use this space for are: anchor chart creation, read/think-aloud's, and modeling.

A small space equipped with all the tools your students normally need during a lesson will need to be included in your classroom – this space will be used for small group instruction, teacher conferences, and assessments.

You do not need a specific area set up for the math workshop component, as long as everything your students need to work independently, or within groups is accessible as students can just work at the tables, or on the floor. At the beginning of the year, as well as advising your students how to access all the required math materials, you should share your expectations on how your students should behave at all your sections, so they know to tidy up behind them.

When you design your classroom, make room for shelving as you’ll need a storage section. You will need tubs that will fit your shelving to store all the materials and manipulatives. Ensure all the tubs are labeled to help your students organize the items into the right boxes during tidy up.

Other items you should include in your classroom (which are suggested in this book - ‘Guided Math – A framework for Mathematics Instruction’, by Laney Sammons (you can find a link to this book at the end of this post):
  • Student calendars/agendas
  • Manipulatives
  • Problems of the day/week
  • Math word walls
  • Math journals
  • Graphic organizers
  • Class-made charts
  • Measuring tools
  • Math literature

Morning Math Warm-ups:

Morning math warm-ups need to be carefully planned, brief, independent, daily, varied and either: based on the current topics, activities on concepts already taught, or regarding future topics.

Examples include: 
  • Math current events board
  • Calendar board activities
  • Real life scenarios
  • Data collection
  • Number of the day
  • What’s next?
  • __________ makes me think of …
  • How did my family use math last night?

Whole-Class Instruction:

Whole-class instruction is teacher-directed, and the traditional way to teach. This method of teaching is included within the guided math framework as a component as whole-class instruction is still beneficial when:
  • Hosting mini lessons or math huddles
  • Teaching strategies and procedures (e.g. KWL Chart)
  • Explaining math workshop instruction
  • Creating anticipation guides and word splashes
  • Assessing and reviewing students (e.g. pencil and paper tasks)

As you’d use the other six components of the guided math framework, you wouldn’t need to plan as much as you do now, for the whole-class instruction, freeing up more time for other components.

Guided Math with Small Groups:

Students are arranged into groups according to their skill levels to aid independent group work.
As students are grouped this way, you’ll be able to concentrate on engaging, tailored teaching which is suitable for all your students.
You can use the time in the small groups to:
  • Use manipulatives when teaching
  • Instruct based on the current groups abilities
  • Teach mathematical ‘Hot Spots’
  • Informally assess your students

Math Workshop:

Math workshops are designed with your small groups in mind. When you are holding a teacher-student conference or assessing a group of students, your class (split into groups) will be attending and engaging in a math workshop activity.

Examples of how your students can use math workshops:
  • Review previously mastered concepts
  • Participate in math games, problem-solving, and investigations
  • Enhance skills by recording in their math journals

Teacher-Student Conferences:

Conferences can be held between you and a group of students, individual students, or by visiting students around the classroom for a brief chat. Speaking and conferring with your students regularly helps you to understand what your students need to learn next, which students need extra support, and which students are excelling.

When you hold an informal conference with a student, you should:
  • Observe your students work and interview them to find out how well they understand a certain topic/concept
  • Create a teaching strategy of what you believe your students need based on observations
  • When explaining mathematical concepts during a conference, teach in the way the student(s) learn – e.g. demonstrations, guided practice, or show and tell.

Assessments:

With the guided math framework, you are required to assess frequently so you can keep track of your students’ learning – past, present, and future.
You can assess using a checklist or Rubric’s scoring guide so you can work toward criteria of success.
After assessing your students, you should provide feedback regarding their progress and what they need to improve.


Next week will be the last post in this series and will be titled: ‘Putting a guided math framework into practice, “The Implementation”’.


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Why Implement the Guided Math Framework?



This week we celebrated the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  I appreciate his work for all mankind.  While I enjoyed the day, my daughter spent the day with her girl group making an impact with sorting clothes for the homeless.  I truly appreciate her love for helping others.  To tell you the truth... that is why I love this platform and the opportunity to share my knowledge with you all. Helping teachers to be better...

In my classroom, I enjoyed meeting with my students in small groups and guided math is a more engaging and thought-provoking approach to teaching math. Stay tuned as I explain all the benefits of the guided math framework.

In guided math, there are seven components of the guided math framework which include: a numeracy-rich classroom environment, math warm ups in the morning and activities involving the Calendar Board, traditional teacher-directed whole class instruction, guided math instruction within groups of students, math workshops, teacher-student conferences and a system of ongoing assessments.

To help your students realize that math is important to their daily lives, you should make sure your classroom is a numeracy rich environment as this builds upon your students’ previous number knowledge, and will help your students to become strong problem-solvers.



There are numerous ways you can make your classroom the perfect numeracy environment – make sure to include activities that are highly engaging (see above), e.g. always provide a vast variety of math materials and manipulatives, so students can socially and practically boost their mathematical constructive processes.

Conducting math warm ups in the mornings allow your students to gear their brains into the correct mode for learning. These warm ups can be simple questions or tasks, such as adding to a ‘Number of the Day’ chart – you can find out more information relating to the ‘Number of the Day’ warm up by reading page 19 of this book - ‘Guided Math – A framework for Mathematics Instruction’, by Laney Sammons (you can find a link to this book at the end of this post).

Oral or written calendar board based activities encourage your students to think back to previously taught concepts, helps develop fast mental math capabilities, and covers problem-solving.

Teacher-directed instruction to the whole class is a traditional method which guided math still includes within the framework as it still contains effective properties, it just doesn’t involve much engagement or spontaneous problem-solving.

The reason whole class instruction is still included is because it can be brilliant if you are beginning a new topic or concept, as you’ll have the chance to explain the methods surrounding the concepts as a whole. Normally, when using traditional style teaching, students will not get a chance to have a one-to-one meeting with you to receive extra help. If you use the guided math framework, you’ll be able to hold teacher-student conferences - so, if a student confesses they are struggling to understand, you’ll be able to explain in further detail. Also, you can use this time to get your students to pitch their problem-solving strategies, and share their knowledge and understanding. 

As you read the previous blog post, guided math is where you group your students based on their skill levels, which perform group work independently, and the members are able to help fellow members without needing your assistance.

As mentioned above, the guided math framework allows you the opportunity to hold teacher-student conferences, which you can add to your schedule (check my last post for an example of a weekly class schedule), as other groups will be participating in math workshop, allowing you time to focus on helping and observing one group at a time. This is mutually beneficial as you’ll be able to pinpoint students that are struggling and offer immediate help.

Math workshops are a great asset for your classroom, and a brilliant additional and necessary tool. Whilst you are holding conferences with groups or individual students, the groups of students that you arranged will be working together in a math workshop. This is great for giving you extra time that you didn’t have previously, and you can award your students that are struggling with the extra tuition that they need.

Not only do the aforementioned conferences help your students that require additional support, but they help you too! Whilst speaking to a small group or individual student, you’ll be able to assess their abilities and understanding.

As you group students according to their skills/understanding when using guided math in your classroom, you need to conduct assessments frequently so you can switch up some of the groups, if needed, based on strengths and weaknesses in certain areas specific to the current concept/topic being practiced.


I hope you have gained enough knowledge regarding the benefits of guided math, and understand all the components involved. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to ask me in the comments below, or you could consider purchasing this highly informative and in-depth book on guided math:



(Disclosure: this is an affiliate link and I do receive a small commission at no extra charge to you if you decide to purchase)

My next post will be - 'What are the components of the guided math framework and How do they work?' – so, stay tuned and subscribe so you don’t miss out!

What is Guided Math?



Hey Teachers~

I hope you are having a great day... I wanted to share with you that I love being an Instructional Coach.  I think it’s by far the best job besides working in the classroom.  I have had many many positions in the field of education and I love when I take on a position that allows me to reach more students than just the ones in my classroom.  

When I was in the classroom, I loved to teach MATH! By far it’s my favorite subject.  

But Shhhhh…. I am an English Language Arts IC this year and my teachers would kill me if they knew. 

One instructional strategy I used while teaching was Guided Math.  I always wondered why we did small group instruction with reading class but only whole group instruction with math.  At some point, we all had to figure out the differentiation and small group instruction was needed in both ELA/Reading block and Math block. 

So let’s talk Guided Math… 

Guided Math is an instructional strategy which allows you to meet the needs of all students. With the implementation of grouping (based on abilities), individual/group conferences, workshops, and assessments -  you’ll be helping your students achieve the required skills to gain a better understanding, learn new concepts, attain new problem-solving techniques, and acquire a positive attitude toward math. 

If you are looking to set up guided math in your class, you’ll need to know each of your student’s ability levels so you can group them accordingly and effectively - your students will not benefit from being in mixed groups. Mixed groups wouldn’t help as your lower achieving students would not be able to provide any support for higher achieving students in the group if needed. Grouping your students based on their ability levels will help you give more time to the students that need more guidance, as the group members will be able to independently support each other.

Another advantage of creating small working groups is allowing your students to interact with students that possess the same abilities. This could be incredibly helpful when students would like to ask a question, double check a strategy, or needs further help on a certain concept, as students would need to explain their process, and support their decisions when talking with their peers – also, this encourages mathematical thinking.

Setting up workshops in your classroom will allow extra time for you to work with students that need your help, and allows you to hold uninterrupted individual/group conferences. Examples of workshops found in the book - ‘Guided Math – A framework for Mathematics Instruction’, by Laney Sammons (you can find a link to this book at the end of this post) – include:

“…inquiries or investigations, math-center activities, math games, problems of the week, Math Journal writing, or written practice…”.

These workshops work really well when introducing a new concept – if a group of students comprehends the new concept quickly, they will not want to listen to you explain the concept in lots of different ways (which could help the students that are struggling to understand), so you can send the group of students, who understood the new concept, to a workshop to work independently, while you help the remaining students. 

When you are setting up workshops and class scheduling, try to account for the size of your classroom, group sizes and time restraints. To help you get an idea of how to schedule your class, here is a weekly example schedule from the book – ‘Guided Math – A framework for Mathematics Instruction’, by Laney Sammons (you can find a link to this book at the end of this post):




During individual/group conferences, where you’ll meet with a group or individual students, you will receive immediate feedback on the areas you are focusing on at the time. If a group or student is finding it hard to grasp a certain concept, you’ll be able to help and explain in different ways to give your student(s) extra scope. Your student(s) will benefit greatly from the one-to-one approaches that guided math enables, which you may have not found time to do before.

I hope this post has given you the required information for you to decide whether guided math is right for your classroom. 


My next post will be - ‘Why implement the guided math framework?’ – so, stay tuned and subscribe so you don’t miss out!


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