I am back with Chapter 2 of Guided Math. This chapter covered A LOT. If you haven’t read this book, it is a must read. For most of the information/topics covered in Chapter 2, I felt like I already knew it. However, I’m going on my 7th year in teaching and have been around some really great teachers who taught me what I know now. If you are a new teacher or fairly new, then I recommend that you read this book. There is about ninety percent of this book that I did not know or did not do my first couple of years.
I really liked the Foundational Principles that she laid out. The most important one for me is: Modeling and think-alouds, combined with ample opportunities for guided and then independent problem solving and purposeful conversations, create a learning environment in which students’ mathematical understanding grows. This is so important because every single word is so true.
Teachers have to remember to model, model, model, and when you think you’ve done enough, model some more. This is especially important in kindergarten. I know that sometimes I get bored with modeling the same things, but I tend to forget that they are just 5-year-olds. The beginning of the year is always the hardest because I am still remembering what my kiddos could do in May, and here we are in August with brand new little bodies in my classroom. It’s hard to start all over again, yet it’s something we do every single year.
Think-alouds are another important aspect of math. Students do not realize that we, as teachers, do a lot of thinking in our heads. We have to think where they can hear us so they can begin to mimic what we do as readers, as mathematicians, as scientists, and as learners in general.
Next, the word “ample” stands out to me in the principle. We have to give our students more than one opportunity to catch on to a skill. Conversations are one of my favorite parts of any lesson. I love to hear what they think. When they chat with a neighbor or a partner, it is always interesting to hear how they put out their thoughts. I am then able to work on their thinking and how they portray their thoughts. I love this principle because it involves every aspects of a math-loving environment.
I do feel that my students are members of a mathematical learning community. I believe it comes easily for them because I like my classroom to feel like a family home. We are there so many hours throughout the week that we essentially are a second family to each other. However, I do feel that I can make it ten times better than it already is. This past school year, my students were very fussy during math workshop. My goal for the upcoming year is to find a way to teach them how to get along while they are working together. The odd thing is that during Daily 5, I had few to no arguments or disagreements. I allowed my students to be a lot more talkative and wasn’t as strict on who went to which math workshop, and that could have been part of the issue with math workshop.
Our math learning community was very good in the beginning of the year. We would have a quick whole group, break into math workshops, and then come back to discuss what we learned. Our discussions even stemmed to what we needed to work on to make the next math workshop session better. As the year went on, we would be crunched for time, and a lot of the discussions did not happen. This is a part of the learning community that I need to work on – being consistent.