Pam's Place Moved to a New Blog Address

Please visit Pam's Place at its new URL: atpamsplaceblog.blogspot.com. Same blog. Same design. Just a new URL. Due to technical glitches behind the scenes, a new URL was needed to move on :)!

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Guided Math in Action ~ Chapters 3 & 4: Managing the Math Workshop and Forming Guided Math Groups

Welcome back! Today I am going to discuss chapters 3 & 4 from Guided Math in Action as part of a book study hosted by Adventures in Guided Math.

Chapter 3: Managing the Math Workshop

I liked how the chapter started. Start slowly. Start calmly. Start immediately. Just start! (pg 29) The whole management piece can be daunting.  Routines. Procedures. Expectations. Setting the stage and adhering to the expectations are key. I keep thinking back to guided reading. If similar routines, procedures, and expectations can be found in both reading and math, the transition for students might be easier.

After reading the chapter, I keep thinking back to "hot topic centers." (pg 31) It's not to say I don't thought about "hot topics" or the need to recycle and review "hot topics." But it is something I want to keep monitoring and adding to throughout the year. What "hot topics" come to mind for your students?

One key component of math workshop is having supplies and math tools readily available. In looking at the Figure on pg 36, I really like the varied representations of math tools. I feel it is so important that students have multiple ways to view math. It reminded me of a lesson where students represented decimals to the hundredths place using base-ten blocks, a centiwheel, and money.

All math tools are kept in a community location for easy student access. I have found organizing manipulatives in student packs makes for more efficient use. The Standard for Mathematical Practice #5 states: Use appropriate tools strategically. After instruction, I allow students to choose the tools they feel will be most useful to them when practicing new concepts or when solving problems. One thing I am sure to do is introduce and model the correct use and functionality of math tools for students first before they are added to the community location.

Management of guided math takes time, patience, and PLANNING.

Chapter 4: Forming Guided Math Groups

I think this the best chapter so far. Small group instruction is key to helping us meet students where they are so we can take them where they need to go (pg 9). While reading the beginning of this chapter what resonated with me was the statement that it is very important for teachers to work with small guided math groups at ALL levels, not just the lowest-performing (pg 41). I know this is not always easy to do, however, if we are going to take our students where they need to go, ALL students deserve the benefits of small group instruction. Dr. Nicki's story about the first grader, Miguel, was a gentle reminder of those students who may already know the current lesson and probably need something more. Math workshop seems like it can afford opportunities for ALL students to complete tasks at their readiness levels in order to move their learning along.

One of the things I have learned when forming groups is I not only need to allow data and teacher observation to guide my decision ... but also student voice. Student voice through reflection and conversation. The groups need to remain fluid. I think by building a sense of community early on in the math classroom helps students to understand that "fair is not always equal." Highly capable students are not highly capable in everything; struggling students have areas where they shine. Honoring where students are ready to learn is important to me, yet sometimes it is not always easy to find the "right fit" on the "first try."

Record Keeping. I try to jot down little notes in the moment when working with students so those thoughts and observations are not lost. Because I don't want to take away from the interaction with students, I keep my notes concise but try to target key points. Sometimes after reflecting about the lesson, I might have an afterthought and will jot down any additional ideas on a sticky note if there is no room left. One record keeping sheet that I have used is the one the below. Click on the image and grab the FREEBIE if it is something you might be able to use.


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Guided Math in Action: Chapters 1 & 2: Perseverance and A Numeracy-Rich Classroom Environment


Welcome to the Guided Math in Action Book Study hosted by Adventures in Guided Math. Today's discussion is going to focus on Chapters 1 and 2.

While reading the first few chapters, one of the key points that resonated with me is the goal of  Guided Math (GM) to meet students where they are so you can take them where they need to go (pg 9). For so long this has been the goal/emphasis in reading that I am glad to see this i s now shifting to math.

Another quote that stuck with me is from pg 11, "It means that if Johnny doesn't get it after you've tried to teach him three different ways, then you try a fourth." We talk about students showing perseverance, and sometimes as teachers, we too, have to persevere in finding ways to reach all our students. It is that idea of filling a toolbox with ideas and strategies to pick and choose and revisit as many times as necessary.

Chapter 1 ~ Guided Math: An Introduction

To help foster perseverance in the classroom, I have a bulletin board that addresses the 8 Standards of Mathematical Practice. Perseverance is covered in Standard 1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them. As a class, we talk about the Standards of Mathematical Practice, and we anchor back into the practice when perseverance is not being shown by students. It seems simple, but the visual reminder helps students to remember what is to be expected. If you click on the image, you can see where these mini posters were downloaded from.

As a class we also talk about ways we can overcome being "stuck" in math. Another strategy I use to foster perseverance is Need a Hand? Try This! Click here to read a previous post. Basically there are tips on each hand that I encourage students to try before the infamous saying, "I need help." or "I don't get this." or "I can't do this." I encourage students to TRY THREE before ASKING ME.

Chapter 2 ~ Guided Math in a Numerate Environment

I try to keep a numeracy-rich classroom environment to help develop strong mathematicians. I have found it is better to start the year off simple and then add to the room as learning occurs and needs are recognized.
  •  I like to use each new poster or anchor chart as part of a learning experience so students can make the connection and see value in them. I have been known to tell my students, "Take a short field trip to the back of the room and reread that poster. Come back and let me know what you learned/remembered." They *LOVE* to take a field trip and often come back grinning with the answer. 
  • Math time should not be a quiet time. Looking on pg 17, I loved seeing all those -ing verbs that helps to foster a numeracy-rich environment. For too long math was thought of as computing. Period. Posing open ended problems with multiple solutions or multiple entry points of learning can foster rich mathematical discussions where students have to connect, explain, listen, and prove. The Tell Me All You Can Routine (pg 23) not only fosters fluency of thinking, but perseverance to tell ALL you can...and not stop at just one or two ideas.  
  • I have a space where math manipulatives and math resource books are available for student use. Students know where they are; students know they can use them when needed. Something I was left to think about was when it mentioned on pg 23 that centers are brought to students to save instructional time. So much of math workshop is creating routines to maximize learning. 
  • You gotta love all the wonderful math literature that is available nowadays. No better way to launch a lesson than by reading a quick book about math...whether it is fiction or nonfiction. One book I love to launch the year with is Math Curse by John Scieszka and Lane Smith. A great book to make students realize that math is ALL around them! They live in a numeracy-rich environment. They just have to notice!!

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Two for Tuesday!

Linking up today with The Teaching Tribune for Two for Tuesday. Glad you stopped by!


Perimeter, Area, Volume...Oh, my! includes Poke and Check cards along with three anchor mats for perimeter, area, volume. The Poke and Check cards can be used in a center or hung up around the room for students to walk-the-room and review these concepts. I also have used the cards where students use markers to put on each paint splat and then check with the answer key. So many different ways to use these cards.

Along with the Poke and Check cards are three anchor mats. I *LOVE* using these anchor mats with my students. I use them in many different ways. I use anchor mats before learning as a preassessment, during learning to add information, and/or after learning as a summative piece. What I really like about these anchor mats is students use them as a resource throughout the year. It makes them accountable for their own learning when they "get stuck." I encourage students to fill out the anchor mats using pictures, symbols, and words. Students can fill out the sections using their prior knowledge, as well as information learned during instruction, from picture books, from math resource books, or from online resources. This tool allows students to conceptually develop a working definition/ understanding of perimeter, area, and volume.

Calling all Bill Peet book lovers!! Check out this product that helps students take a closer look at author, Bill Peet. Add a little twist to a traditional author study with this download. Although this author study is based on the author and books of Bill Peet, it can be adapted and used with other authors!

Bill Peet's books are known for their figurative language. Have students go on a scavenger hunt through his books and find examples of similes, alliteration, and personification to name a few. Have students complete  a Five Star Rating where students evaluate one of Bill Peet's books and then defend their reasoning.  A friendly letter writing activity is included where students choose to write a letter from the point of view of one character to another character from another book. Students can complete The Important Thing summary about what they learned about Bill Peet and his books. Every time you read a Bill Peet book, it seems like you find something new/different.

Now don't forget to hop on back to The Teaching Tribune to check out what other people are offering today for Two for Tuesday.

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Guided Math in Action ~ Book Study Kick-Off

Starting this week, I will be participating in the Guided Math in Action Book Study hosted by Sarah and Courtney from Adventures in Guided Math. I can't wait to read the book and learn from others!

I had the great fortune of attending a conference with Dr. Nicki Newton and was inspired by her passion. I am excited to read this book and explore ways to better develop mathematical proficiency for my students with small group instruction. Dr. Nicki's Guided Math Blog is a great resource! Check it out when you have some time.

Here is the schedule we will be following! Feel free to chime in and visit the other blogs below to see what other bloggers have to share. 

Come back on Wednesday, July 16, when we will be discussing Chapters 1 and 2.
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You Oughta Know About: A Blog Hop ~ Wisdom Can Begin with Wonder

Come join us on the You Oughta Know Blog Hop.

Imagine. Explore. Learn. Grow. Start a lesson with "Have you ever wondered..." and pique the interest of your students. Use technology and interesting topics/images to hook and engage your students. Something you oughta know for your classroom is Wonderopolis.

Wonderopolis is one site that can help to address CCSS: Reading Informational Text. Students can use text, videos, and pictures to help answer the guiding questions. Find some wonders that might work with your units of study. Might you find a topic that relates to a unit of study in science? Or find a topic that connects to a story in reading? Wisdom can begin with wonder.

Wonderopolis is a great way to engage students. Each day there is a new wonder...posed as a question. To begin have students predict answers to the wonder question of the day. These questions are just like the questions students often ask, yet we don't always know the answer to. Do you know why batteries are different sizes? Click here to find out.


And...look at all the great resources you will find to engage students for each wonder.  The text and the short video guide students to finding an answer to the wonder question. For each wonder, students will find Wonder Words that students can use for vocabulary work. There is a Try It Out section that students can complete at home to extend learning. What a great way to  foster the home/school connection. The Still Wondering section allows children to explore the wonder through a different context. Wonder What's Next piques students' interest about upcoming wonders.

Here are some ways I have used this website in class.
  • Have students explore the wonders and then answer the question in their reading journal.
  • Project a wonder with a doc camera for students to read. For younger students, the wonder can be read to students as they follow along. Pass out something similar to wonder stems to each student for them to complete and share during discussion. Then students can work on finding evidence from the text to answer the wonder question after the discussion occurs. Click on the image to grab a few wonder stems.

  • Have students watch the video and write a one sentence summary.
  • Read the text and have students write three new facts they learned. 
Check out this Wonder Mat where students can record their ideas after investigating a WONDER. Click on the image to grab the FREEBIE.


 The possibilities are endless!

Another way to foster wonder is to show unusual photos that might elicit student curiosity. Consider these possible sources for finding unusual pictures: Pinterest, Flickr, and Google Images.  What do you wonder about when you see the image below? Post an image like this and have students generate questions. Use this as an opportunity to teach students how to write rich questions.

Wisdom can begin with wonder. I combined all my activities in a product: Dare to Wonder. Check out the preview to see some of the ways I incorporate these ideas in the classroom.

Don't forget to continue on the blog hop to see what other bloggers are sharing!
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