Chapter 4 has several different instructional strategies that will work to use Guided Math with your whole class. As we are working to reach all of our students on a daily basis we have to take time to embrace the here and now as well as look toward the future. By being flexible with our teaching strategies we not only are able to reach more of our learners but we are able to embrace the learning in our classroom.
My classes began with time for my students to prepare for the day. This gave them that time to get focused on our tasks at hand and put aside the outside worries (or at least that was the hope). Moving along it was time for introductory information and then a mini-lesson. This was the perfect time for me to work with Interactive Notebooks and do a whole group activity with my students to set up their learning.
While I was doing this whole class instruction I was able to constantly monitor my students by walking around using my document camera as my instructional tool to assist me in their learning. This allowed time for observation but also quick reteaches if necessary.
From this point students were able to work on an output activity. I mixed these up regularly from doing something independently, in partners or in small groups. Sometimes students would get to even choose which of the forms that they wanted to do so that they could display their learning in a way that best fit them. The last of these may have been the most tedious to assess but is was when I got the most out of each of my students.
I chose these methods based on what I saw worked for my students. I had taught whole group lecture style before and very few days of group work through the entire year because my students couldn’t handle it. No wonder they couldn’t handle it, they hadn’t been expected to all year. It was my own fault and I had to change that by setting them up in groups from Day 1!
When I am working with Interactive Notebooks is when I do whole-class instruction the most. I want to make sure that the information that my students learn is thorough and that they have examples provided so they can divulge into their learning on their own based on the foundation given.
There are times I do pose a problem to my students and want them to investigate further and I wish I had the power to do this more. I think that student directed learning definitely has a place in math. The challenges I have faced are giving up control (yes, I am anal and OCD) as well as maintaining order in the classroom of 30+ students.
I’m LOVING reading this book! I know it is targeted toward Elementary but even as a Middle School teacher I have found a great benefit in reading it. I definitely recommend it for any of you interested in doing more Guided Math in your classroom. This would also be a great book to gift to a new teacher looking for a great way to structure their learning for their students.
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