Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Guided Math in Action Book Study: Chapters 7 and 8

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 7: Building Mathematical Proficiency in Guided Math Groups

To me, this quote sums up this section pretty well.  The big idea here is that being proficient in math means more than just being able to memorize procedures.  The five components of mathematical proficiency outlined in the National Research Council's Adding It Up: Helping Children Learn Mathematics are discussed in detail.  If you have not read a lot about these 5 strands, this chapter is worth a close look!  It is a great time to look at your own teaching practice and see how you are doing at including each strand.  Here is a peak at the 5 strands.

1) Conceptual Understanding
2) Procedural Fluency
3) Strategic Competence
4) Adaptive Reasoning
5) Mathematical Disposition

These strands are all intertwined and to be successful in mathematics, you really need students to be working on all strands.  One of my favorite teachers is always saying "you can't have one without the other" and I always agree with this statement. 

Chapter 8: What Are the Other Kids Doing?

This is probably the biggest question I get asked by other teachers and parents when they first hear about guided math.  The message I got loud and clear from this chapter and from my own experiences with guided math is that it is vitally important for kids to be able to work independently.  It really is something that teachers need to strategically teach kids how to do.  They also need work at their own level in order to be successful at independent practice. "When all students are given the same work, some can do it and others can't.  When students can't do the work, they get off task and disrupt the learning environment for everyone."                                                                                                                                                                                                              The other huge idea in this chapter is all the different types of centers you can have during math workshop.  I love that so many aspects of math learning that make it fun and exciting can be included.  I write a lot about great math literature and I love the idea of using some of this during guided math time and it is definitely something I will be exploring more.  
What are your thoughts on this week's chapters?  Please respond in the comments below!


  1. Chapter 7: Building Mathematical Proficiency in Small Groups
    I first saw Dr. Nicki Newton a year and a half ago and was exposed for the first time to restructuring the class format to be guided math. I started gradually and this past year was doing it every day. It literally transformed my teaching and the classroom experience for my 5th graders. I love how the small group atmosphere allowed me the time to speak with each child and give immediate feedback and guidance as they persevered with the math problems I gave them. The students couldn't hide like they were able to when I did a whole group lesson. Even when I used whiteboards, I found the students would hide them or say they had just erased their answers. This way, they were right in front of me and I could help them each along their own path. I loved hearing their thinking and it gave me huge insight into where they were on the path to mastery.

    Chapter 8 : What are the other kids doing?

    I had the privilege of having 1-1 ipads this last year. I found one awesome center was the Front Row app which is completely individualized and provides CCSS questions and several different virtual manipulatives at the kids' fingertips to solve problems. I was then able to create heterogenous or homogenous groups based on their current level. Further, if a student got an answer wrong they were given the option of watching a 1 minute video tutorial or the names of several students they could go to for help. Our classroom became such a closer community of learners each helping each other on their own path. I will be a Math Specialist this year so I hope to get many others in my district to go down this path of changing the way their Math classroom looks. I hope to help the teachers create these centers so that they aren't too overwhelmed and get them going faster since elementary teachers' lives are so incredibly busy. This chapter offers me a wealth of ideas to get going!
    Ann Elise

    1. Ann Elise,
      I love your enthusiasm and passion for teaching and for math! I think they are the most important qualities for a math specialist and you are going to be great! I can't wait to check out the front row app, it sounds like it could make a huge difference in many classrooms!