I recently (like a month or so) started teaching math in all small group instruction. When teaching math in whole group, it was so hard to keep their instruction and provide them with the “just right” amount of instruction. The higher kids were getting bored watching me model over and over, they wanted to be free. The lower kids still needed more modeling and hands on instruction. It was a battle I was losing. That is when I started researching small group math or Guided Math.
Guided Math has been life changing. My low kiddos are grasping the concepts so much better now before we move on. I can stay on a topic as long as they need. I can provide them with concrete example, manipulatives, and the one on one support they need. They are gaining math confidence and are actually feeling like they can do. We are usually a lesson or two behind then everyone else, but it works for us.
My higher kids are able to solve things on their own and figure things out. I provide the example and walk them through the process the first two or three times and then they solve it on their own. They would rather be doing it on their own then sitting through me giving examples over and over. I can still give them one on one attention if they are struggling and we can work through it.
I also like teaching small group because I can see their thinking. A lot of my higher kiddos solve things in their head a lot. They know partners of ten and basic math facts. When we are subtracting, they find it quicker to count up in their head with these ten partners. I could never tell this from the worksheets they were turning in. I can see exactly where my low kiddos are messing up. I can have them stop and explain their thinking to me and correct their thinking. I would not be able to do this with every student every day unless I taught Guided Math.
Basically, Guided Math is classroom changing. We give students specific targeted instruction in Reading. Why shouldn’t we give it in math?
Stay tuned for a Part 2 and maybe 3. I will explain what my other students are doing during this time, how I organized my groups, how a lesson works, how I test with everyone on different levels, and whatever else I think of.