1. You can't support every child in a whole-group lesson.
Teachers work hard to create lessons that will have impact on as many students as possible, but let's face it... you simply cannot meet the needs of every child within a whole-group lesson. We all have them: struggling students working well below grade level, disengaged students daydreaming about other things, high-flyers requiring a greater challenge than is appropriate for the majority of his or her peers. When using a Guided Math approach, students work directly with the teacher in small groups while the rest of the class is engaged in meaningful, related activities. Each group receives instruction at a level appropriate for the needs of the children within it.
2. More small-group time means you know your students well.
When you are able to spend quality teaching time with just a handful of students at a time you learn quickly what their strengths and needs are. Students are more likely to take risks, share ideas & opinions and try new things when they are in a small group because their comfort level increases, and you are able to quickly modify, redirect, support or praise as you closely observe students working!
3. Rotation activities mean less planning!
When you prepare a selection of activities for your students to rotate between throughout the week you are ultimately left with more time to concentrate on your groups and planning quality activities for each ability level. Once my centers are ready (and I prepare and laminate them to last for years to come!) I can devote my time to planning activities that are just perfect for each of my students.
4. Students love it!
My students can't get enough of our Guided Math time! They love all of the centers I provide for them, and they are always excited for the time they get to spend with me in their small group. I know that my students feel safe, supported and successful and that is a win for me! You can check out the activity centers I created for my Guided Math groups HERE.
5. It Works!!
I wouldn't continue using Guided Math with my students if I wasn't seeing the success that I do. The fact is, it works. Most of my students were achieving at or beyond grade level this past year, and those who weren't were at least approaching where I'd like them to be. I love the flexibility I have with Guided Math - if I see a student or group struggling I am able to meet with them for additional support while knowing the others are continuing to practice important skills. As a professional, I have the freedom to schedule my teaching time as I see fit and I know that some students will require more support than others.
Like any program that is truly worth doing, Guided Math takes time to implement. Similar to The Daily 5, Guided Math groups require clear expectations and time for training your students. Read all about how I set up and manage my Guided Math time at this post:
I'd love to hear about how you use Guided Math in your classroom! Stop by my blog to chat!