On March 4 the teachers of grade K-8 math were fortunate to have Laney Sammons lead a workshop about Guided Math. Laney Sammons is a teacher and author of the book Guided Math: A Framework for Mathematics Instruction. In her workshop she outlined the Guided Math framework which is modeled after the Guided Reading model that Chinook uses. Chinook will be working with teachers to bring this style of instruction into our classrooms throughout the coming year.
Guided Math is a framework for teaching mathematics that increases the effectiveness of teachers and maximizes the learning of students. The framework consists of seven components:
- creating a mathematical environment in the classroom,
- providing math warm-ups for students,
- using large-group instruction when appropriate,
- meeting with students in small-groups to enhance their mathematical understanding and skill,
- providing math workshop tasks in which students work independently to review, deepen, and maintain their understanding of math concepts previously learned and practice • activities designed to improve their computational skills,
- conferring one-on-one with students to promote their learning,
- and, finally, using a balanced assessment approach so that both teachers and students are aware of their progress toward their mathematics learning goals.
Using the Guided Math approach, teachers build student understanding of mathematical concepts, promote the problem solving ability of students, and lead students to greater skill with mathematical computation. For example, teachers and students often work together in small groups to explore new concepts and strategies for problem solving, using hands-on activities to support learning. These small-group lessons allow teachers to target the learning needs of students, sometimes teaching to fill gaps in foundational knowledge and skills, sometimes providing greater challenge. Because teachers encourage students to explain their mathematical thinking as they work, students learn to organize and express mathematical ideas. The student math talk provides teachers with valuable insights into student learning and helps them plan future instruction to target specific student needs.