Monday, June 11, 2012

Guided Math Chapter One


I am joining the fun and participating in Primary Inspired's book study of Guided Math.  My school district is adopting the math part of AMSTI this year.  For those of you that do not like in Alabama, AMSTI stands for the Alabama Math, Science, Technology Initiative.  You can read more about it here.  AMSTI has been shown to help students develop a deeper understanding of math through math workshop.  Reading Guided Math this summer will hopefully assist me in running Math Workshop and helping my students to create their own understanding of mathematics through experiences.

That being said...Here are some of my thoughts on Chapter One:
1.  I think most of us would agree with the opening description of past (and sometimes current) math instruction in which the teacher stands in front of the room and you either get it or don't.  I remember how intimidating and frustrating this was for me as a child.  There were times I would be too scared to ask a question or even not know what kind of question to ask.  I do NOT want that for my students!

2.  I was shocked at some of the data that was reported in this chapter.  Those figures of adults that can not do daily task that involve math application are not acceptable to me.  Yet somehow they are for a lot of leaders in education.  I wish more people knew exactly how far our country and kids are when it comes to math.

3. After four years of teaching 4th grade, I agree whole heartily that "lack of conceptual understanding handicaps students as they face more difficult math challenges in upper grades."  One student of mine this year comes to mind.  He wanted to learn but just had so many misconceptions and such a lack of basic number concepts it made it incredibly hard for him.

4. Meaningful- That is the word that kept coming up for me while reading this chapter.  Students need meaningful experiences with math.  They need to know how it will come up in their real lives.  Making that connection will hopefully keep them engaged and learning.

5. Last thing I promise! Students need to feel safe in your classroom.  They need to know that they are respected by you and their peers.  I really want to make sure I work on this by being open to all answers and keeping my face and comments positive while students learn their mistakes with my guidance. 

I encourage everyone to join the book study or at least read the blog posts related to it.  Your students' math instruction is too important to ignore.


  1. You bring up a point that many others others are noting: by the time kiddos get the the upper grades, it becomes very evident that conceptual understanding just isn't there. You hit the nail on the head-- kids need meaningful experiences with math. I'm afraid that we're all under such a time crunch that sometimes the opportunities for them to have those meaningful experiences are slighted.
    Thanks for linking up! I'm looking forward to what Chapter 2 brings us!

  2. I'm not familiar with this book or Alabama standards at all, but your post was still interesting. I like how you discussed making math meaningful. I'm always trying to explain to my students WHY I'm teaching them a math concept. It frustrated me growing up having to learn things and not know why. I remember always thinking "what's the point? I'll never need this!" I don't want my kids to ever think this. I'm new to your blog and just started following. I look forward to reading more of yours posts!

    Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans

  3. I so agree with you that not only do kids lack conceptual understanding, but they lack fact fluency. This was so difficult for me to battle last year. I enjoyed reading your post!