Tina's Teaching Treasures


Guided Math Session Set Up

Hey everyone! 

I'm back with the next installment of my guided math series!  Last time, we learned about setting up and planning your ideas and your teacher stuff.  Now we will learn about setting up your student stuff and planning your session with purpose. 

When you only have 20 minutes or so, it is important that you are ready to roll and use all of those minutes for learning. So...what to do with those 20 minutes? I like to break mine down into a 5 minute "before" or "get goin'" activity, 10 minutes of "modeled and guided math" and 5 minutes to explain the "after" task and tidy up. 

Here is a handy infographic to help you think about each section of your guided math session (perfect for Pinning!).


To keep all my materials ready to go, I have a bin for each group. Inside I have all of the items they will need - manipulatives, copies, mini-anchor charts etc.

inside are all of my activities for before, during and after.


Keeping everything neat, tidy and ready to use means I can do guided math anytime. Going to the computer lab? I can meet with a few students then. Some students are done art early? Great! Let's do some math. Of course, I normally do my guided math during center time, but you can really do it whenever your other students are working independently on something. 

So here is a closer look at a sample activity for Place value

For the "before" I have a puzzle of place value. Students work together and complete the puzzles that show the correct value of each number based on its place value.  Before activities should be short, engaging and within the students' abilities.  These are also super handy in case your students are at your round table before you. My kiddos know to get going as soon as they get there in case I am solving some Smartboard problem or dealing with some sort of situation. Other ideas for this center include things like cootie catchers, discussion cubes and matching games. 


During is the most important part. This is where you are learning about which strategies the students are using, asking them to think out loud, encouraging their discussions and helping correct misconceptions. Depending on the group, the time you have and the point in the unit you are at, you may want to begin with a modeled activity then move to a guided.  All my 'trios' come with a modeled and a guided activity, but you could use either type for either purpose depending on your students. These activities should be similar to the kind you have done in class and the kind you will be assessing them on. I use a pen while they work so I can remember when I had to correct or remind a student of something so I have it for my notes.  Here is an example of a place value 'during' activity and the manipulatives the students would need.  These would all be stored in the bin for this group until they were used. 


After is the often forgotten part. This is the part that is so, so, so important to really consolidating their learning. Young learners don't always remember all the strategies from day to day or week to week. They neeed practice. So, after the guided activity is done, I explain that they have a task to do on their own (when they get to the 'math by myself' center). I remind them that it must be done by a certain date and I ask them to look at the activity and see if they understand. They are usually a journal prompt that is similar to the ones we have done in guided group so they should be ready to complete it independently. They glue them into their journals then put them away so they are there and ready for next time.  This follow up allows me to see if they are able to do it independently.  I mark it and provide descriptive feedback. I then give the whole class another journal or two for the end of the unit that they can do their best work on (allowing them a chance to apply the feedback and suggestions from the original 'after' one). 

I also use self-reflections to help keep my students on task during centers and guided time. This is something you can do during after if you don't have a specific task for them to complete for a topic. It is important for students to self-reflect on their learning when they are young so they can build good learning and study skills as they get ready for the older grades. 


Home connections are an important part of the after as well. I send home a 'one-pager' once a week. These have a little blurb about what we have been learning (basically the curriculum in parent/student friendly language), one activity (usually a game or activity they can do around the house) and a written question piece. This lets parents know what we are doing, allows students the chance to 'show what they know' and had your students practicing one more time at home. Win, win, win! These are so handy and the consistent format makes it easy for parents because they always know what to expect! 


So, to help you get yourself ready, you can download my bin labels, rotation labels and group sheets here for free!! I also added the one page version of the infographic from above to that file. It's handy to keep in your guided math or assessment binder! (plus, the preppy colours match my daybook, the assessment freebies from the last blog post, and the planning sheets from the last post


For resources that I have carefully designed to follow the 'before, during and after' layout, check out my TPT store in the "Guided Math" category. Each topic includes a before, modeled, and during activity, 3 journal prompts, an extension for higher level students and a home connection.  Also, my getting started pack comes with great stuff to get started and introduce your students in a fun way with sweet craftivities and lots of great teacher planning sheets. The Bundle (common core or Ontario) comes with everything at the best price possible!

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