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

What are the components of Guided Math?

Hey everyone! Last week I posted about what Guided Math is. If you want to read it then check out (here). This is a four week post about Guided Math. This is week 2. 

What are the components of Guided Math?
Y’all let me tell you… There are a lot of ways to do Guided Math. No really…there’s a lot. I may have one way that is effective for me and another way that may be effective for you. There is so much that goes into Guided Math but once you get into the rhythm you’ll be set. This will be a long(er) post so hopefully you can bare with me through it!
What does my math block look like?
If you have a different amount of time, then I would definitely recommend manipulating the times. I personally like to make sure that I get to all my groups daily but sometimes I do run out of time and will need to pull the last group later. 
How do I make the groups?
I break them up by levels. I have a low level, the middle level (which is usually two groups) and then the high group. I know a lot of people say to see your low group first but I don’t do that. Wait! Before you freak out- hear me out. My math block in first grade was first thing in the morning. If I pulled my low kids first, I would have to make sure the rest of my kids are settled (which usually only happens in the first group) and then that first group lost out on time that honestly…they really needed. I pulled my second highest group because they are the ones that will move (or gain levels.) 
What are the other students doing while I’m in small group?
Interactive Notebooks, Math Journals, Hands on Activities, Independent Work, Xtra Math and Ten Marks. I don’t have a rotation however I know there are many people out there that do have boards. One of my favorites is Sweet Tooth Teaching. I really like her work-it’s nice and clean!

How do I implement?
Come back next week so you can read all about how to implement Guided Math!!!

Leave your comments below so I can hear different ideas about how you run Guided Math in your classroom. 

Guided Math

Hey everyone! This is 4 posts that will be extended over 4 weeks.  Be sure to come back each week to check it all out.
Week 1- What is Guided Math?
Week 2- What are the parts or components of Guided Math?
Week 3- How to implement successfully
Week 4- Where to get resources?


Let’s start off with What is Guided Math?
Guided Math is a structure for teaching where a teacher supports each child’s development within a small group setting. Guided Math also allows the teacher to increase the level of difficulty based on the students needs.
Why do I do Guided Math?
Honestly, I really do enjoy Guided Math. I was always shocked as to why teachers would change their entire teaching methods to try this program. Then I jumped on the bandwagon. I am not saying that you need to but I will tell you some of the amazing benefits that I have noticed. 
1. When a student struggled, I immediately saw the mistake that the student was making. I was able to correct the mistakes and lead the students to go back to check their work.
2. Which leads us to number two! They learn how to check their work. They also may realize…oh hey- the kid next to me got a different answer. What did I do wrong or what did they do wrong?
3. I always ask that my kids support one another (especially in guided math). If they did notice that they have a different answer then their partner they were to go back and check along with their partner.
4. I could see who understood the material or who would need remediation that day or later in the day.
5. Each student was provided a hands on activity daily to help them play with new knowledge during small group. A way to interact with the information on paper (still have to take state tests ya-know?), are able to work on a hands on activity from last unit to practice those skills as well, and work with technology to strengthen skills.
What do your other students do while you are working with one group?
My other students are working on skills that are structured just for them. For example, hands on activity, technology, math facts, math journals, task cards, word problems etc. 

I included parts of my Unit 1 Guided Math program here so that you can see what it looks like at a fifth grade level. There are 11 units, 2 pages of classwork, an exit slip, 2 pages of homework and a hands on activity for small group that you could use later during review time.

If you are looking for Fifth Grade Unit 1-Place Value click —>_-*HERE!*-_

Part two is all about the parts of guided math and we will see you next week!


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Five for Friday

We posted our first Dive into Reading!!!! 

I finished my Guided Math for fifth grade! 

W learned how to use multiple objects to help him walk.

We went swimming twice!
Lastly…I watched the first five episodes of Orange is the new black. 
What a week!!

September Dive Into Reading

Hey everyone!
I would like to formally introduce you to my friend Sarah! Sarah and I are great friends and we have created an amazing product for you! Last year, when I came back from maternity leave I was a mess in so many ways. One of the big ways was that I never felt successful as a teacher. I feel like I was barely keeping my head above the water. I needed something to use in my classroom for reading so I could just print the lesson plans, any vocabulary words, and the crafts and be DONE! This is how Dive Into Reading began. 

We are creating all of these units for every grade but bare with us. We are starting with first grade and then up to fifth grade. What does each unit entail?

I wanted to add some pictures as well you get a really good idea of what comes in each unit!
****This unit will be posted on Wednesday, June 15th****
We are so proud of this that we are actually giving away the entire first unit! 
Sign up below!



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Evaluations 2.0


Hey ya’ll!

I’m so excited to show you slight improvements to my original post about Evaluations. If you want to read the previous post click here
I made some minor changes to the system. As I’ve become a better teacher, my products have become slightly better. The concept itself remained the same. I still found it extremely useful to keep them as circles and to have an evaluation on each side. One side showed me their score and one showed me what they felt that they were like with their work. This is just a few ways that I tweaked it over the years.


1. I laminated all the circles and the had a parent volunteer cut them for me.
2. I punched a hole in them.
3. I used binder rings instead
4. I used command hooks on the desk to hold them in place.
5. I wrote the students letter on the front. We never lost one again.
6. I put them on Astrobright paper. (Obsessed…what teacher isn’t?)

I am hopeful that some of these helped you with the many questions you had about the evaluations.

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Linky Party

Woohoo! I’ve joined my first link party. This one is all about everything you’ve done for the week. Let me tell you…It was a LOT this week!
We took my 11 month old to Georgia to see my in laws and then to Chattanooga. 


 We went to the Georgia Aquarium and the Tennessee Aquarium. I loved both but that is a whole different story.


We also went to Rock City and Ruby Falls which is quite amazing. Have you seen Ruby Falls? It’s a waterfall in the middle of the mountain. It was pretty cool!

Sarah and I finished our 3rd book for Dive Into Reading. They are mini-lessons and interactive read aloud lesson plans along with lots of other really awesome things but that will be posted about by next Wednesday so check back for that!

 Last but not least, I started Guided Math for fifth grade since I will be teaching fifth next year. So far I am about 4 lessons in (out of 11) and I absolutely love it. It’s engaging, it’s hands on, it’s interactive journals. Each lesson has Whole Group Lesson, Small Group Lesson, Remediation, On-level, and Above Level lessons, 2 pages of Classwork (we are a district where you must have places to practice to your work), an exit slip, and 2 pages of home-learning. I’m really proud of how much I’ve accomplished since Monday!

Fifth Grade Reading homework

Hey everyone! I’m super excited for this one. This is all about reading homework!

Let me start off with I despise reading logs. I really do. Anyone can fake a reading log or cheat on it or even forge their parents signatures. I wanted something to hold my students accountable. Years ago I created a folder and the kids had to fill it in but since I never read the books I was never able to hold them accountable with the correct answers. Well guess what…I found an amazing solution!!! (Where are the cheer cannons?!?! None?…oh ok.)
When I last taught intermediate, we had all these books come off adoption so I got them all! YES! However, we weren’t allowed to use them for guided reading anymore. So I never did anything with them until now. 

I decided to create a weekly reading book. The take home reading folders are quite simple even though they sound kind of difficult. On the left side of the folder is the book,  and on the right side is the daily questions. It is only about 3-4 questions a day and by Friday the whole weekly reading packet will be done. 
How do I sort this out?
1. there are 3 different color folders.
Orange [below level]
-Green [On level]
-Purple [Above Level]

Each color (all 6-10 students) have the EXACT same book. That way I won’t have to keep checking and asking myself-who read what book? However, I do have a check list to make sure I don’t repeat any books…you know…just in case.

Every Friday I collect the folders take out the books and the questions and as always, I check for correct answers and not completion. I don’t believe in checking just for completion. (Why give the kids work if you aren’t even going to see if they know how to do the particular skill?) That is an entirely different story.
On Monday, I call the group colors up to me in the morning and I give them their folders back, along with the new questions and the new book. They have the responsibility of putting it in the correct part of their folder because come on…they are fifth graders. 

It’s a really simple process and it works out great! 
Questions you may have:
What books am I using?
-Old Harcourt series
-Our Journeys series (old basal from district that is off adoption)
-Reading A-Z
Where do I get the questions from: 
-Typically, I don’t really like multiple choice so I create open ended questions and the students have to use the RACE acronym to answer the questions.
Can I sell the questions?
-I have no problem selling the questions, but I don’t know if a lot of people have the exact same books as me and I have yet to find them on Amazon. If I sell them it’d be like a dollar for all 3 levels. Would anyone be interested in the questions?

A Teacher’s Portfolio…

So it’s been no secret that I have been actively looking to transfer schools. I live an hour from where I work and I have an 8 month old that I can’t wait to see at the end of the day. I needed something closer. Not wanted…needed. A year ago I wouldn’t have cared about the drive but now I need to be near my baby. That means interviews. Ugh. Let me tell you that I feel like interviews are so impersonal. You talk to a principal for 30 minutes while they rattle off questions. Do they really get to know you? Probably not. I needed a way for people to know me. I’m a *bright* person. I don’t just mean in smarts. I attract attention wherever I go. No joke. I wanted a way for that to transfer into my interview…but how?
I went back to my college days…make a portfolio. I did. Let me tell you…it’s beautiful. No really- it’s gorgeous. I’m in love with it and it’s me. It’s a sneak peek into my classroom. It allows the principal to see what my classroom looks like without even being there. (Insert love eye emoji)

What did I start with?
1. My resume. Honestly- I splurged and bought one from etsy. Her name is TheResumeMaker. 
2. Then I included all of the committees or clubs that I’ve been chair of or been involved with. Of course I put them in chronological order.
3. I put a copy of my certificate. I worked hard for my certificate so you better believe I put that in there.
4. I took pictures of my reading centers and included that. I also gave descriptions of the reading centers.


5. Also, I included my examples of math centers. I had a few pages on this in my portfolio.
6. Parent communication is so important. I had a page just of parent communication. If you’re looking for the stuff in the pictures- the newsletter is from learning in wonderland, the app is from Remind 101. I have to look up the small sheet but I use them all the time!!!
7. I included all of my pieces of positive behavior. The little fuzzy ideas came from Seusstastic’s Mel D. The rest were created by me.
8. This was a great way for me to show students progress without bringing a ton of stuff with me. The rainbow words are Jen Jones from Hello Litercy, and the rainbow math is from my store.
The data binder is full of all the information of my kids. I the informal reading running record is from Deanna Jump.


I am hopeful that you got some ideas for your portfolio. I posted this on TeachersPayTeachers Right here!!! I posted on a video of this on my instagram.
Let me know if you want a copy of this! 

Veteran’s Week

Oh my goodness…I love November. It has such rich information throughout the entire month. It makes me so happy teaching all of these amazing social studies standards throughout the entire month. Let’s start from the beginning:

The first week we do our voting and we use a lot of things in relation to voting with the governor and President. In 2016, the voting will be amazing because the kids will be able to vote for someone that they really would want to vote for. Last year I blogged about it…you can check it out here. This year, I am allowing you to download the document used to vote.
Just click here!!

For Veteran’s Week, we had an amazing guest speaker come to the school. If Ms. Thompson ever reads this, know that we thank you for serving our country and teaching our kids amazing things! ❤ We have the anchor chart up from last year (see below).


 This year we added a few new elements:
1. We have a poppy poem. The kids LOVED this! I found it on Pinterest. If you wrote this then thank you for writing this! 


2. We each wore a [paper] poppy and in order to wear the poppy they had to answer the question: Why do we wear poppies? The answer is to show honor and our thanks to the men and women who served our country.
3. We added a weekly brag tag. This year I have tried really hard to create all these types of brag tags based on the theme for the week. The kids love this because they are able to tell peers that they are experts on the specific topic. 

We read the book Pepper’s Purple Heart.
We also created lap books (picture coming soon) from Keeping up with Mrs. Harris. I loved creating these with the kids! The kids learned so much and were able to show it in their lap book. We also read a book by Class of Kinders
Hopefully, you can use some of these amazing things next year!
Keep track of our blog so you can check out the Thanksgiving events!