In a differentiated guided math classroom the teacher provides quality math instruction and purposeful activities for all their students. Teachers use a variety of formal and informal assessment tools to determine and address the varied learning needs of each student. In the guided math classroom students are empowered to not just do math but to also think, write and talk about math. Students will become real mathematicians
A guided math daily schedule consists of a math warm-up which might consist of a rap, song, whole group game, or a number talk. Then the teacher conducts a whole group lesson where students work on grade level skills as they teacher teaches, guides and supports. The teacher might first model a strategy and then have students practice it on whiteboards or in small groups. The teacher might read aloud a math story and then have students discuss the math in used in the story. The bulk of the guided math block is spent in small skills groups of 3-6 students with similar needs according to the assessment. In the small group lesson the teacher may introduce new concepts, practice previous learned skills, teach and play a math game, provide interventions for struggling students, use manipulatives, reteach based on student needs, and conduct informal assessments.
Small Group Lesson Steps
- The teacher introduces the task by modeling a strategy, reviewing a skill or giving directions.
- The teacher coaches and guides each students as they independently work on the task. If the students are play a game together, the teacher will coach each student as they take their turn. The teacher will focus on each student to ask questions, prompt, guide and assess their mathematical thinking.
- The students share their thinking with the rest of the small group. The students should be encouraged to share with the group the strategies, solutions and connections they used during the lesson. During this time the teacher might find it necessary to review or clarify math concepts.
Students who are not involved in a small group lesson will be working at differentiated math work stations by themselves, with a partner or in small groups. The guided math block ends with some reflection time for students to talk or write about what they learned that day and perhaps set some goals.
The free flow classroom is a stress free and joyful environment where students learn and grow according to their needs, abilities and interests. Students are involved in interesting projects, games and many other choice activities. Teachers choose the lessons and activities which will work best to empower all students with challenge, success and joy in learning.