Sunday, 31 May 2015

Running a Guided Math Lesson

Yesterday I wrote a post about how I plan and manage my guided reading lessons. You can read about that {here}. Today's post is about how I do my guided math lessons. It's very similar. I run a modified version of Daily 5 for literacy and a similar version for math. While other students are doing various literacy or math activities, I am meeting with small groups (usually no more than 4 or 5) and teaching a math lesson.

This is a peek into my guided math plan book. My reading and math planners are bound together in one book. I do all of my lessons at the same table, so why not keep all my materials in the same place! I have a sticky tab in each section to easily find the day's lessons.

I split my kiddos into five groups based on their ability level of the topics or skills we are learning. I find that my math groups change a lot more than my reading groups because students can really vary with their math knowledge and skills. I use a dry erase marker on my group page because the groups can change every week or two weeks! My math groups are colour-coded and each group has a shape--the blue diamonds (or rhombuses? rhombi?), green triangles, yellow stars, pink squares, and purple circles.

I also keep a laminated version of our Grade 1 Math outcomes in my planner book, so I can refer back to them easily or check them off with a dry erase marker if I wish.

I keep each group's lesson materials in a matching tub. The math tubs are buried somewhere with my reading tubs, but these are the tubs I use from Really Good Stuff with these cute shape labels.

I spend about 30 minutes a day with my guided math groups, so I see two groups a day for 15 minutes each. Unlike my reading groups where I see my lowest group the most, I see all my math groups equally, twice a week. (Unless it's a short week. Then I might not meet with my higher groups. Oh well. C'est la vie! Does anyone else remember that song by B*Witched? Oh how I miss 2000's pop music. Oops. *squirrel*)

I only have 15 minutes with each math group, so we fit in as much as we can in that time. I break my lessons into 3 mini parts:

{1.} Warm-Up - 3 minutes
{2.} Lesson - 5 minutes
{3.} Activity - 7 minutes

Here's a close up of how my lesson plan book looks. My math group lessons take a bit more planning than my guided reading groups, because I have to go through my activities, games, worksheets, and centres to find something that fits with the lesson I want to teach. I have to get more organized in this aspect so all of my stuff for each topic/skill is in one place! In my lesson plan book I write down the date, group name, the outcome or skill we are working on, the warm-up, the lesson, and the activity.

Here's a break down of each part of the guided math lesson:
The warm-up is just an activity I use to get our brains ready for math. It's like stretching before gym class! I have a small group set of Regan Tunstall's Rise and Shine Binders, so sometimes students will complete a page or two in there with a dry erase marker. Sometimes we might do flash cards in partners. In the example lesson above, our warm up was a Ten Frame activity from From the Pond's Fast Ten Frame Activities. I show the ten frame and say a number. If they match, students put their thumb up for true. If the number doesn't match the ten frame, they put their thumb down for false. I get a student or two to explain their thinking after each one. Quick and simple! Sometimes it might be something even simpler, such as practicing counting or skip counting or writing their numbers out on mini whiteboards.
The lesson is where I introduce the new concept or reteach a concept that the group is having trouble with. This usually involves me modelling something, such as an addition or subtraction strategy, a counting skill, or using a math tool. In the example above in my lesson plan, I was demonstrating how to see dot patterns in different ways, using Emily Hutchinson's Part Part Whole pack. We circle how we saw the dots, then filled in a number bond to see how different numbers can make up one number.
Then the last activity is something to take the skill we just learned and apply it. It could be a partner game, an individual activity, or something we work on as a whole group. For the example, after we practiced with ten frames and dot patterns, we played Ten Frame BUMP (from my 10 Frames Centres & Games pack). While they are playing, I observe to make sure students are subitizing the dice (not counting) and ten frames. I write down my observations to help me decide where to go in my next lesson. Often the games or activities we play here end up in my math stations, so that they can continue to practice the skills on their own.

Usually my guided math groups are working on a similar skill, but I differentiate the activities and difficulty levels based on the group's skill level. A group that was having a harder time with subitizing would practice with small numbers first. A higher ability group might practice adding two ten frames together.

**Edited** You can now download all my guided reading and math pages (planner cover, group organization page, group labels, group schedule, and weekly lesson plans) by clicking the picture below:

I hope these posts have been helpful for you. I don't think I will be back with Math Book Monday tomorrow. Maybe soon though! Have a great Monday!!


  1. Thanks for the Manitoba download! I run my groups pretty much the same as yours! Daily 5 structure and we do 2 rounds a day for 15 minutes! Love the ideas of the bound planner! I've been using binders but my groups change more in math as well .

    Thanks again

    The reading corner

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Renee! I always love reading your posts about Daily 5 Math. You have all your centres so organized!! That's my goal for next year--get all my math stuff organized! :)

  2. Great lesson plan page. Thanks for sharing how you organize your lessons! Your groups accomplish a lot during your time with them!

    1. Yes, we are quite busy in those 15/20 minutes!! Gotta make the most of our time. :) Thanks for stopping by!

  3. Hi Amanda. Love the guided math and reading posts! Any chance you have the Manitoba outcomes sheet to share? I was just going to retype it myself! Thank you for all you do!

    1. Hi Shannon! Thanks for stopping by. I posted a link to the page with the Manitoba outcomes at the end of the blog post. Check the third last line. Thanks!

  4. Do you sell the Guided math lesson plan book?

    1. No, it's a freebie. Check the links at the bottom of this post.