Friday, July 6, 2012

Guided Math Chapter 6

I loved the "big picture" of Math Workshop provided in Chapter 6. I tend to think "whole to part" rather than "part to whole" so this was really beneficial to me. The components are:

  • Review of Previously Mastered Concepts
  • Math Fact Automaticity
  • Math Games
  • Problem-Solving Practice
  • Investigations
  • Math Journals
  • Computer Use
  • Math Related to Other Subject Areas
From what I understand, these are the things that students are doing independently. This section of the Guided Math block takes place after your calendar time and minilesson, while you are meeting with small groups or conferencing one on one. 

A few things I found interesting:
  1. Sammons states "For teachers who are implementing Math Workshop for the first time, it is often initially wise to limit the range of activities and find out what works well for them." (186) I couldn't agree more!!! Just like with introducing choices for Daily 5, I envision using the same process with Guided Math. I plan to introduce one thing at a time using the 10 Steps to Independence. 
  2. It's important to help students develop endurance and work with independence. I can't focus on a small group or one student if I'm constantly interrupted. I think using the 10 Steps to Independence will be an easy transition in math for me and the students since it is something we'll be doing in reading as well.
  3. Students must develop automaticity with facts in order to be proficient in computation. This is one of my soap box items! Students MUST know math facts and be able to recall them quickly  in order to free up their working memory and be able to focus on more complex tasks. It's just like reading: We all know that if a child is struggling to remember that J says /j/ that child will not read the word 'job' fluently, which will cause a breakdown in comprehension. We work for automaticity in letter/sound recognition and sight just makes sense to do this with math facts. (I'm probably preaching to the choir here, but it's just one of those things I feel strongly about). 
So, what to do with all of this? Well, even though the chapter was rather short, there was quite a lot to think about and plan how to implement. I'm going to start with Math Fact Automaticity and share a few ideas I've used to help my students gain it. 

Daily Fact Practice: I usually spend 5 minutes or so on daily timed practice with facts. I found that is a great way to really keep the facts fresh on kiddos' minds. 
  • Abiator's Times Tables is a site that I use to practice whole group. It flashes a problem on the board and students call out the answer.
  • Multiplication Rock-Remember these? If you have access to YouTube, these are great videos! Sometimes we'll watch while students are getting ready to take a timed test.
  • Paper and Pencil drills: We do these every day. I have some with our old program and that I've collected that only take about 3 minutes to do.
  • Wrap-Ups: I purchased a class set of these last year. Kids love them because they're like a game. Sometimes I time them to see how many times they can finish their wrap-up in 2 minutes. They come with a CD also!
  • Super Speed Numbers: I plan to implement this next year. You can download everything you need for free from Whole Brain Teaching. It basically turns timed tests into a game and competition against yourself. The goal is to beat your best score. 
  • Math Fact Practice Log: I haven't used this in a while, but I created it one year when my students were really behind in learning math facts. They needed nightly practice and weren't doing it, so I created this log. At the end of the grading period, they turned in the log for a test grade. It was a great way to help get parents involved and it didn't take much of the families' time. 
I vary the activities to keep it interesting for the students, but I really feel like the daily review is extremely important. I'm hoping that maybe as I learn more about Super Speed Numbers I can move this activity to the Guided Math portion instead of using my whole group time. Time will tell!

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Chapter 1: Primary Inspired


  1. Thank you for sharing examples of how you drill math facts. I was having a hard time with creating a center solely on prior skills. I know the importance of daily review, especially with math facts, but was concerned about the students not mastering the current content. I will definitely be using ABIATOR'S Times Table at the beginning of class as practice.

    Do you know of any websites that offer this feature with addition/subtraction flashcards?

    One Class, One Sound

  2. The ideas for fact practice are wonderful. Thanks!

    Mrs. Bartel’s School Family

  3. Thanks, y'all! Patti, Sorry I don't know any with addition or subtraction.



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