Many teachers struggle daily with differentiating their math instruction in order to meet the needs of all the learners in their classrooms. Guided Math is one way to provide the differentiation needed, as it allows the teacher to work with small groups of students while the rest of the class is engaged in meaningful math tasks. There is no cookie cutter solution, however, and teachers must find the method that works best for them. Here are a few structures I have learned about, based on a 75-minute math class (in Manitoba, math instruction is recommended to be 15% of the school day for Grades 1-6 and 17% for Grades 7 and 8).
1. 15 minute mini lesson, followed by 4 work stations. One of the work stations is with the teacher, and the other 3 are practice stations (math games, using manipulatives, math project, math literature, math with technology, etc.). Students spend approximately 15 minutes at each station, and students are grouped by like ability. Students rotate through each station once per class.
Photo credited to: Enoch Lau
2. 30 minute lesson with the whole class, which may be teaching a problem solving strategy or mental math activity. Students then choose 2 math stations that they work on for the next 45 minutes (20-25 minutes per station). Students make the choice themselves, but must go to all the possible stations within a 1-week period. Teachers pulls 3-6 students at a time to work on a math outcome that needs review or extension.
Photo credited to: kfergos Photo credited to: MrSchuReads
3. Students have been taught to start a math task independently (such as Nifty Number, Toad Code, Math jobs) or there is another adult in the room (co-teacher or Educational Assistant). When the task is completed, students go to a math work station of their choice. While this is happening, the teacher is calling 3-6 students together to work with him/her on a math topic.
There are lots of options about what the work stations or centres look like too.
A=At Your Desk (independent work or reading math literature)
H=Hands-On (using manipulatives, working on projects, etc.)
L=Learning About Numbers
D=Doing Math (practice with a new strategy)
Math Daily 5
Math by Myself
Math With Someone
Writing About Math
This topic is so huge! There's no way I can write about it in one post. I'll be posting more info at another time. Watch for it!
Travelling Curriculum Support Teacher