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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Guided Math in Action Book Study: Chapters 5 and 6

Welcome to my guided math book study!  It is not to late to join in!  Every week, I will provide the links to past posts so if you are just finding this book study you can jump right in!

July 2   Chapters 1 and 2
July 9   Chapters 3 and 4
July 30 Chapter 9

Chapter 5: Balanced Assessment: The Key to Grouping Students for Guided Math

This chapter has lots of information about assessments and how they pertain to guided math.  The importance of formative assessment is stressed as well as using pre and post assessments.  I feel like I do a great job assessing my students with a variety of assessments and using the results of these assessments to inform my instruction.   I love the focus in this chapter on trying to do individual interviews with students.  These give me such good information about a students' understanding.  I know they can be incredibly difficult to find the time to do, but I would encourage teachers to do these interviews with kids when at all possible.  The information you gain can really help you target your instruction. 

One thing I would like to work more on that I read about in this chapter is getting kids involved in their own math learning.  I would like to spend more time going over assessment results with kids and working with them to set goals for their learning.  "The research show that when students are involved in their learning they do better." My goal for this year is to empower students to become involved in understanding what they know and are able to work on next in their math learning.                                                                                                                                 I also think it is important to have a balanced assessment system.  Dr. Newton stopped by our book study last week and left a comment about beginning of the year assessments that got me thinking about the importance of giving a variety of assessments to get the full picture of a student's skills.  It is important to check for fluency as well as problem solving ability and the big idea skills that kids should come into a grade with.  I think I am guilty of skipping some of these types of assessments sometimes because I work with my students over a period of years, I tend to assume I know their abilities pretty well.  I want to be sure I am not making assumptions though and will be more thoughtful in balancing different types of assessments going forward.  

Chapter 6: A Framework for Guided Math Lessons
This chapter is all about how to structure your small group lessons.  There are 8 steps that each guided math lesson is supposed to follow.  It can seem a little intimidating if you think about having to write out a plan for all 8 steps.  Don't let the fact that there are 8 things you need to do scare you.  Some of them seem more complicated than they really are and during an actual group time take less than a minute.  For instance outlining a learning expectation can be as quick as telling kids you are working on combinations of 10.  The biggest thing to remember is that all of this gets easier with time.  After many years of working with small, intensive math groups this is second nature to me and I very rarely need to create a written plan at this point. 

I think the most important things to remember when you are working with small groups are
1) Have a purpose.  Why did you put these students together?  What skill are you going to target?
2) Keep it focused.  Work on the learning intention in a purposeful way.
3) Keep it moving.  This is small group time and you have other groups to meet with.  Keep the lesson moving, make it short and sweet.  Kids will stay engaged and you will be maximizing your instruction time.

I look forward to a great discussion on this week's reading!  


  1. I really enjoyed these chapters! You can read my post here

    -Beach Teacher
    Primary Classrooms are Oceans of Fun

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