Guided Math- Part 3 How to implement Guided Math Successfully

Guided Math- Part 3 How to Implement Guided Math Successfully

I told y’all that there are four parts and we are finally at part 3. The baby and I got super sick so we were both out of commission for almost a week. Let me tell you…a baby and the mom sick is pretty bad! I digress. 

I’ve got quite a bit of questions about how I implemented in the beginning of the year or even in the middle of the year. I will tell you right now that I tried so many things before I got to how I implement. There’s a few things that I want to start off with.
1- it does not happen over night
2- your first implementing will drive you crazy but the second day you’re going to be like oh my gosh my class is amazing and followed directions and they were so quiet!!!!(okay maybe by day 4 this happens)
3- Relax. We as teachers are all OCD and trust me…things will go wrong. Just do a minor correct and move on in your life.

Where do we start? We are going to call it the ABC’s of getting ready. 
A. Always have your copies ready
B. Block your math block out. Plan out your time for your math block, when will you rotate? When will you see your groups? 
C. Centers are huge in Guided Math. Get the centers every week planned out. Remember that you won’t want to things in the centers that are not taught yet. That will just get everyone frustrated.
D. Divide out your math groups based on levels
E. Expectations are key. Write your expectations down so you can remember when you are telling the students. 
F. Flat out say no. Remember it is your classroom and when your students try to be clever and go “can we…” you can say no. A lot of Some times, I will say hmm..let me think about it. I usually give them a time frame like give me until Friday or Monday etc. Sometimes they forget and I won’t have to deal with it and sometimes I will make changes accordingly.
G. Giving up is super easy because in the beginning it is a lot of works. Don’t give up. It’s hard in the beginning but once you get the hang of it- you’ll be fine!
H. Have a plan. Have a plan for all things you think you will come across, questions, rotations, how to move, the noise levels- ANYTHING that could “pop” up. 
I. Interruptions kill your time. Really they kill your time. Have students be your in the meantime teacher. If they need help with something they go to that student instead of you. I always include the rules of the hands on activities or how to “play the game.”
J. Jumping in head first is how I do everything but if you don’t like doing that then slowly implement portions. This will help you especially if you are in the middle of the year.
K. Killing time? No. Don’t do this if you are one of those teachers who are just using Guided Math to kill time. Let me tell you-your little teacher heart is going to break. I knew a teacher once who did not teach. Merely she taught for 3 minutes on the skill and then gave the kids work. This is not to just kill time. This is a life changing model that will impact your classroom. 
L. Loud noises will distract me. If they can distract me then you know they can distract your students at your table or any other students around the room. I usually put the hands on activities in the farthest spot from me. Try it…it really does work.
M. Materials are extremely important! Have your center materials ready, your independent work ready, the passwords for computers ready (soooooo important), and anything else you need.
N. Notes. Take notes during your small group. I will be the first to tell you that I need work on this. Next year, I will have a binder for my notes(hopefully) but I always took notes on what the students needed but it ended up being always on sticky notes. That is no problem (for me) because I just had hundreds of sticky notes around until I was able to reteach or fix any mistakes that happened. One thing I did that popped out right which I feel like is a best practice was I knew that student B struggled on her shapes so I made flash cards and in order for her to ask a question, she had to tell me what the shape was. I did this quite often and often had success. 
O. Overzealous teachers will get burnt out quick. Don’t go insane because you will 
P. Pinterest. I know you know what it is but pin everything you think would be good. I usually make several boards for each subject. For example one board for Operations, one for Numbers & Base Ten, one for Geometry & Measurement. Once we get to those standards I bounce over to Pinterest and voila half the work is already foreign for me. 
Q. Quiet is out the window. Seriously. I feel bad for those teachers who MUST have a quiet classroom. I’m not that. In fact, I love the conversations. I love that the students can interact with each other and use math language to talk. Do they have side conversations? Absolutely but I won’t discourage it because then how will the kids be able to have conversations with others as they get older?
R. Relax- let your kids make the mistakes. They will figure it out. You could try to do everything for them but then they will ALWAYS need you for every…single…thing. By the 3rd or 4th day it should be good.
S. Setting up the areas is just as important as everything else. You need to make sure you provide everything for that group so that you don’t have to be interrupted during your small groups.
T. Transitions are key. You need to make sure that you teach the students how to transition to each center. If you don’t teach them how to transition, you will have LOUD chaos. 
U. Understand all the parts because if you don’t understand then you will implement and be looking around like what’s going on. 
W. Wait. Patience is key. Trust me your hard work will pay off. You are going to have success but not in 5 minutes. Usually for me it took a solid 5 days for the kids (they were 1st grade) to pick up on it. I am eager to see how the 5th graders do in the fall. 
X.Y.Z.- I don’t have something here hahaha. If you do- let me know!

So listen- you may struggle. It’s fine. Just pick yourself up and dust off your shoulder and try something else. You are going to do great and I’m here if you need me. If you have questions you can leave a comment here and I’ll respond as quickly as I can!

Hopefully I have given you plenty of ideas for you to use in your classroom! 
xoxo Ronnie

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