Monday, September 10, 2012

Go Math! and Guided Math

As this post is published, my fourth week of math workshop with Go Math will begin. I have to say I'm really enjoying using our new math program. It isn't perfect, and I'm not teaching it perfectly, but my kids are learning and my math instruction has changed dramatically!

Things I LOVE:

  • If the lesson is on subtraction, the practice is on subtraction as well...not 29 different types of problems as with our previous program. 
  • Upper grades teachers now have manipulatives!!!
  • Animated Math Models: I haven't used them yet, but look forward to introducing a concept with them. They're like interactive videos and they seem very engaging.
  • Workshop format is the perfect structure for this program: Minilesson, small group/independent work, centers, then back to whole group. Okay, so I've still not been able to fit in the last whole group time, but I'm working towards it. 
  • Lessons are built on using number sense to solve problems, not shortcuts. 
Things I'm still working on:
  • Fact practice: It isn't included in our program, but I just kept right on doing it the way I always have. I think they need fluency with facts, and it only takes about 5 minutes. 
  • Calendar: We didn't purchase the companion Every Day Counts Calendar, but I've put together something that I think is working.
  • Math Journals: We've used them for learning and practicing concepts, but I need to work in more time for actually responding to prompts during independent work time. Right now though, it is taking almost all of their independent work time to finish the lesson problems. 
Things I DON'T love:
  • The Promethean flipcharts (which were a huge selling point for us) are horrible. On the surface, they looked very professional and well put together, however some of the problems are missing. Some of the "independent" problems are on there as guided practice. The formative assessment with Activotes/ActivExpressions only includes one question and it doesn't assess the lesson. It is simply the test prep question at the end of each lesson. Also, the page notes with instructions aren't organized in a user-friendly manner. I've had to make notations all over mine. Basically, you can't use the flipcharts WITH the student book because there are too many discrepancies. 
  • Sometimes you aren't sure what the questions in the SE want. 
    • For example, "24 hundreds =______" I had to look in the TE to figure out that the standard form of the number goes in the blank (2,400). 
  • Sometimes the problems being broken down into tiny little steps is a hurdle. The program describes the 'in the head' processes that students should use...this is not a bad thing. In fact, it is great if your kids are used to it! For now, it can be a stumbling block as my students learn to slow down and think through the problems. I know this will get better and is better for them in the long run though. 


  1. We don't have Go Math but a similar program called Math in Focus (made by same company apparently). We have the same problems that you have described. Thank you for the Calendar Math worksheets. We do have Everyday Math and this will help with engagement.

  2. We are starting Go Math in the fall, switching over from 2009 Envisions. I used Envisions in third grade in a guided math format and loved it! I was super excited that Go Math is structured to be used as guided math, but I'm finding it to be a really difficult resource to understand. Could you offer help on how you structure a lesson? Which aspects do you use for whole group modeling, small group practice, etc.?

  3. Are you still using GoMath? I would love to ask a few questions if you are still using the program.

  4. Hi I am a teacher in California and we just started to use GoMath. We are struggling with getting through everything. I was wondering if you could tell me how long you spend on math in one day and what the sequence of events is that you use. thank you

  5. Hi I am a teacher in California and we just started to use GoMath. We are struggling with getting through everything. I was wondering if you could tell me how long you spend on math in one day and what the sequence of events is that you use. thank you

  6. I use GoMath as a homeschooler. I have taught grade 2,3,and now 4th. It is an excellent program for small group and 1to1. My son has scored 1 to 2 levels above grade level on EOG exams. I spend about 1 hour per day on math and some days run 90 minutes. I have tried Saxon, Math Mammoth but I come back to Go Math because it is geared for small groups, offers a spiral, bites math off in small chunks and scripts the use of manipulatives. What I do not like, is what every parent hates the convoluted way we have to teach our student to add and then test them on the "old fashioned" way we learned long ago. We made it through and I earned the survival t-shirt but geez that was hard. I have my son keep a Math Journal, we do the daily routine and paste it in the journal, if I have specialized doodle notes available for the lesson we paste it in the journal, then we actually do the math journal question. Every day we look at something random in the journal and talk about it for 1-2 minutes or if I see a problem on the spiral test prep we can go to that part and review. Honestly it took all of grade 2 to get comfortable with this program bc there is so much. I have an accounting degree and worked in finance so numbers are my game but teaching is a how new can of worms.



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