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Thursday, June 5, 2014

Guided Math Book Study: Chapter 2

I have linked up with Amanda from The Primary Gal again, this week to bring you my thoughts on Chapter 2 of Laney Sammons book, "Guided Math".

Laney Sammons believes that there are 7 foundational principals of Guided Math. The two principals that struck me are: "All children can learn math." and "Learning at it's best is a social process"

"All children can learn math." 
This one is an eye opener for me. Not that I didn't think that all children could learn math. I always felt myself as a learner that I just couldn't do math...I didn't have the ability to do it...I just wasn't a math person. It's only recently as a teacher that I have begun to fully understand some math concepts. I feel that many parents and students fall back on the belief that their child's lack of achievement is based on inability. However, if we change that misconception and believe that all children can learn math, then think of all of the possibilities this opens up.

"Learning at its best is a social process."
I am a firm believer in the fact that students working together on the same idea enhances student learning. Every since I began my teaching career, I have felt passionately about that. My classroom is designed on that principal. All of the students desks are in groups. I have a variety of tables and spaces around the room where students can work together. I have to say my classroom is rarely quiet.

 Sense of Community
A new student would be able to see and feel a sense of community in my classroom. They would see students working together and showing respect towards all of their classmates. They would see students taking risks and knowing that mistakes are a part of learning. 

Classroom Arrangement
Laney, believes that the arrangement of the classroom is important for guided math to be effective. The arrangement of my classroom encourages socialization. It facilitates movement and allows for easy access of math manipulatives and materials.

Home Area
The students desks are in four groups of between 5 and 6 students. Each group is given a colour.

Large Group Meeting Area
I received a beautiful new carpet this year. This is our large group meeting space. This area is directly in front of our SMARTboard which we use every morning for our calendar activities as well as many other lessons.

Small Group Area
I have a guided reading table where I meet to conference with students. We call it our rainbow table, since it is shaped like a rainbow.

Math Workshop Area
The rest of my classroom is the math workshop area. Groups of students can work on a variety of centres throughout the room, either at the different colour groups, on the floor or at two round tables. 

Organization and Storage of Materials
I feel very fortunate, to have a wealth of math tools in my classroom. Many of the math tools I inherited when I moved into my classroom.  I came from a very resource poor school, so it was a wonderful surprise.
I have all of our math tools on a shelf at the front of the classroom where students can see them as well as access them easily. The organization of them was driving me insane last summer, so I took pictures of each of the math tools and created labels.

Numeracy Rich Environment
A student walking into my classroom would see a numeracy rich environment. They would see both student created and teacher created anchor charts and posters around the classroom. 

This student would see student created "I can" statements. I use a giant speech bubble for them to record their "I can" statements.

 I decided on a monster theme for my classroom this year, so many of my student reference posters are monster related.

Click HERE to check out more of my math poster themes:

I love the idea of building a numeracy rich environment, and I'm happy to see that I am already doing some of things that Laney suggests, but I would like to build a richer numeracy environment. There are many things that I would like to try next year.

Math Journals
I use an interactive reading journal. If we are taking the idea of Guided Reading and turning it into Guided Math why not take a reading journal and create a math journal or notebook instead?

Check out some of my fellow bloggers great interactive math notebooks.
Totally Sweet Math Centers by Tabitha
Diary of A Not So Wimpy Teacher
Primary Possibility - Stephany Dillon

Tabitha from Totally Sweet Math Centers by Tabitha was so super sweet, she gave me three samples of her Interactive Math Notebooks. Click on the links to try them out.
Addition and Subtraction Grade 1
Addition and Subtraction Grade 2
Place Value

Measuring Tools
I think Laney had a valuable point. Measuring tools need to be integrated! 

Math Related Children's Literature
This is something that I do, but I need to do more often. Reading math related children's books allows students to make mathematical connections

Check out this amazing list by Love2Learn2day full of math related children's literature organized by topic!

Math Books by Student Authors
Umm...brilliant idea! We make our own books all the time. Never thought of making our own math books!

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  1. I got a lot of ideas in your post and am definitely using math journals this year. I started it at the middle of last year and love, love them. I love math and sometimes think it makes it harder to teach but my motto is to never give up. I'm definitely going to equal out the print richness and the numeracy richness. Thanks for the help. I'm pinning!

  2. Emily,
    This is a great post!!! I loved seeing the pictures of your classroom and reading all your ideas. I don't know how but I wasn't following your TPT store...I am now!
    Thanks for the great links to other TPT stores as well.
    Thinking of Teaching