July 6, 2013

Ch. 3: Guided Math Book Study

Hi everyone. Bethany here from Hunter's Tales from Teaching. 

I am so excited to share chapter 3 with you from Guided Math. Those of you that have read my blog know that I've wanted to implement a Math Workshop in my classroom, but I wasn't sure how. So when I saw that Tina from Mrs. Crofts' Classroom was doing this book study I jumped at the chance to participate.

The main focus of chapter 3 is Using Math Warm-ups in Guided Math. This chapter had a ton (36 pages) worth of ideas, so I'm going to give you the highlights.

This chapter starts off sharing the importance of establishing a morning classroom routine. I think we as teacher's understand how important any routine is in our classroom. Laney Sammons shares some ways that we can have Math Stretches in our classroom.

Math Stretches
The idea behind math stretches is to allow students to participate in brief mathematical practice and discussion each day to help get them ready for the day. The book gives examples of some math stretches you can do in your classroom.

Data Collection and Analysis:
Ask your students a question and have them respond. The questions should be simple like, Do you like fireworks? Once the students answer the question you can have them create graphs and make generalizations based on the answers to the question. 
The author shares that it is a good idea to allow students to write their ideas down in their math journals before needing to share them with the class. It gives them a chance to really formulate their ideas. Once they do that, they are able to then participate in a class discussion about their response. 

Number of the Day Math Stretch:
This type of stretch is used to help students build a firm foundation of number patterns,  representations, generalizations etc. This stretch will look very different depending on what grade you teach. Those in the upper grades will have more difficult number of the day activities as the students show they are ready for them.

What's Next? Math Stretch:
This stretch is designed to have students focus on number patterns. This type of math stretch makes students think through patterns and, through discussion, gives them a chance to find the more than one way to solve a problem. 

How Did My Family Use math last night? Math Stretch:
I'd never heard of this stretch before, but I like it. This stretch has students looking for ways that they, or a member of their family use math at home. This is an easy way to have students be on the lookout for math in the real world! They are able to share it and discuss it with the class.

_________ Makes me Think Of... Math Stretch:
This is a great way to have students think about a new upcoming unit. Laney Sammons gives the example of fractions. If you are starting a unit have the students jot down all the things they think about when it comes to fractions. The stretch is that students need to use words-not numbers, pictures, or representations. 

Mathematical Current Events

This strategy is something you as the teacher start, but you allow the students to "take-over" when the time comes. The overall idea is that you bring in articles that show math being used in the real-world and discuss them with your class. This allows students to make connections from math to the real world.

Calendar Board
A calendar board is another way to have math warm-ups. It is more than just a calendar (which is all I thought it was before I read this chapter.) A calendar board is actually an interactive bulletin board that includes a calendar, number line, number charts, a way to model place value and a place to put other materials based on the unit you want to cover. One thing I like about the calendar board is it gives you the opportunity to review concepts all throughout the year, instead of right before THE test (you all know what test I mean.) We can introduce students to new topics that we will be covering and to the vocabulary they will encounter in that unit.

My Goals
I have to be totally honest, I haven't used most of these strategies. I'd love to say that I am going to implement all of these strategies next year, but I know that would overwhelm myself. My goal is to do a math stretch each morning. I plan to start with Number of the Day. I don't have a lot of bulletin board space, so I plan to do a modified calendar board in my room.

Questions for you to Ponder
1. Do you currently use any Math Stretch strategies in your classroom? 

2. How do you encourage linking math to the real world in your classroom?

3. What activities and math warm-ups do you plan to implement next year into your math classroom? 



  1. 1. I use Number of the Day in my classroom and I LOVE it. NOD is a great way to reinforce previously taught skills and keep them fresh in the students' minds.
    2. I need to work on this. I plan to incorporate the Math Connections from p. 83 next year.
    3. I plan to use How Did My Family Use Math Last Night and ______Makes Me Think Of. I also will do a story problem of the day.

  2. 1. I've used calendar math previously and LOVE it as a spiral review! I would never not use something like this.

    2. I need to be better at connecting math to the real world. I love the idea of bringing in articles and "stuff" from my real life and showing how it is connected to math. Then slowly turn this over to the kids and have them start bringing in things that represent math in their world.

    3. I plan on having my Calendar Math spiral review first thing in the morning as the students walk in! I can't wait!! How many problems do you guys use on Calendar Math (or your equivalent to it)?

    Crofts' Classroom

  3. Do you all feel this is great for common core?

    1. Yes I do! By implementing a guided math approach you are able to challenge all students at their individual levels. Interventions are easier to establish and as the teacher you have a more accurate view of what/how your students learn.

  4. I think it's a perfect setup for common core. It is so much easier to see which children need extra help and which are ready to move on. You can catch and "fix" misunderstandings before they become set it the students' minds.