May 29, 2014

Guided Math Book Study--Chapter 1

First of all, I am so excited to be part of this book study!  I am planning on being part of two book studies, as well as hosting my own in July (more details to be announced on SUNDAY!)  However, this book study is the only one that has to do with math.  This study is on Guided Math by Laney Sammons.  

I'll be the first to admit, I hated math when I was in school.  Don't get me wrong, I had lovely teachers who knew a great deal about math.  In chapter 1, Sammons reflects on her math instruction as a student.  While it was effective (I did, after all, pass all of my math classes growing up), it didn't engage me.  I didn't understand number concepts.  And I don't remember a teacher ever conferencing with me in math.  

Times have changed.  Sammons compares guided math to guided reading as modeled by Fountas and Pinnell (p. 21).  In the last couple years of my teaching career, I have often wondered why math and reading blocks aren't created equal.  In reading, we ALWAYS conference with students.  We ALWAYS meet in small groups.  Literacy is ingrained in every aspect of our classrooms.  Why not make it a balance of literacy AND numeracy?

At the end of chapter 1, Sammons encourages the reader to reflect upon math instruction.  I will be completely honest in saying I think I have room for improvement in teaching math.  One of my goals for this school year is to get as far away from the traditional model of math instruction as possible, and delve into the world of guided math.

Here are some questions to ponder.

I definitely think I am doing something right as far as math instruction goes.  Based on mClass results combined with how my students are doing on topic assessments, they are mastering skills.  However, I am not one to teach based on the test, so just because they can pass an assessment doesn't make me happy.  I want to know if they have a deeper understanding of the skill/topic.  

As I read through chapter 1, I felt as if I have the basic framework of a numeracy-minded classroom down.  We work a brain buster every morning during circle time.  We do daily calendar time.  We complete math journals daily.  We do a healthy mix of whole group instruction and math workshop.  

My students squeal with excitement when they come in from middle recess knowing math time has started.  Seeing their joy for the subject I despised as a kid helps me know I'm doing something right.

I'll be honest... The main part of my math instruction that troubles me is the fact that I have little time to conference with my students.  My math block lasts exactly one hour, with a recess before and after that hour.  (That's another post for another time...)  Although we have a fairly long school day (8-3), I feel as if I never have enough time with my students.  

Also, one of my professional goals is to steer away from the textbook as much as possible.  In reading, I have done exactly that (following the scope and sequence of the reading series, of course).  My goal is to do the same for math.

I am very excited for this book study to help me figure out a way to make conferencing and engaging math content successful in my classroom.

Now for the fun part... GIVEAWAY TIME!  Enter to win some amazing products below:

Check out more posts on chapter one from these amazing bloggers!

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