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!

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