So, I have been teaching firsties for 19 years. Never, in all my career, have I felt something just “click,” since I first started Guided Reading (before it was popular)! I remember starting Guided Reading before the “internet” really became popular. I knew it was the answer I was looking for to help my first graders get the reading practice they needed to become lifelong readers. I first heard about Guided Math a year ago, and had an idea of what it could mean. I was skeptical, at first, but then decided to just “take the plunge!” I am SO glad I did! There is NO turning back now! Here are a couple of pics from today:
What I love most about Guided Math is that I can watch the kids work on the lesson, and can immediately help them and correct errors. We have adopted Pearson as our Math curriculum, and it is challenging. Today, as I was observing them complete their Math pamphlets (as I call them), one little boy commented that he “got it!” (He struggled through the first couple, then you could just see the light come on. That is SO cool to watch!) Another reason I like it is that I can have manipulatives ready for them to use, and there is little time wasted. Some, as you can see above, still use their fingers to help them. I am OK with that. I also like seeing how their little minds work at figuring it all out. Before Guided Math, I would spend most of my time helping the strugglers, while the kids that “got it” were done. It was frustrating for me to try to keep up with all my learners. Now, Math has become my favorite part of the day.
I have noticed that my Math whizzes will get done with the inside pamphlet and the back, which is story problems, in the ten minute time block with me. The kids who get it just finish the inside of the pamphlet. The kids who struggle most days complete the inside of the pamphlet, but not always. I am OK with that. Giving more help to a struggler takes more time. It’s worth it to me for them to be able to understand the material I am trying to teach them.
Funny snippet from today: One group finished early, so I pulled out the addition flashcards. The problem was 8+5. I watched one boy count out 5, out loud, then said 13! I was puzzled, and asked him how he got his answer when I saw him counting to 5! He showed me how he visually put up 8 fingers, and counted up 5 more, and as he did, he knew it was 13! I was amazed!! That is EXACTLY how I learned to add and subtract in school, and got in trouble for it! I used to sit on my fingers in school so I wouldn’t get in trouble for using them. It’s just really neat to get to observe kids in action! 🙂
Next time, I will try to get some pics of what the other groups are doing, if you’d like to see them! Thanks for hanging out with me! I’d love to hear your comments/thoughts!