Guided Math A Framework for Mathematics Instruction by Laney Sammons is a book for everyone to read. I think educators who are a bit uncomfortable with teaching mathematics will find comfort. Educators who love teaching mathematics will find new insight and confirmations. Educators who feel stronger teaching literacy will read and say ah-ha to all the references for sound literacy instruction and how that carries over to math workshop. While I read this book, I kept thinking I was coming home. With the recent switch in grade levels and figuring out new standards to teach I’ve used the two “popular” programs to anchor my instruction the past two years. I’ve felt terribly uncomfortable in doing this but have experienced new ideas for teaching, some sound understanding for the standards and confirmed guided math is what my classroom needs!
This book covers all areas of a math workshop. The book begins with a chapter discussing the framework needed for math instruction - which provides insight for the chapters to follow: environment, math warm-ups, whole class instruction, small groups, guided math, conferring, and assessment. Each chapter begins with advantages for using this component followed with challenges. This insight is very helpful as you reflect on your own teaching practice.
I found myself reminded about several important things. Math journals aren’t just for a problem of the day. We could record math vocabulary, list questions we have about math, justify answers, math connections – really a tool to provide more insight to a student’s thinking. Problem of the day works great but sometimes problems might take more time to figure out. What about a problem of the week? Math vocabulary is so important and math word walls have a place in my classroom. Use more math literature. I’m losing instructional time with district reorganization of our school day. Bring content area learning into math workshop. This is just a snippet of my annotating from the margins.
I think most of my mentors are listed in this book. It was quite incredible to read quotes from Vgostsky, Van der Walle, Burns, O’Connell, Caulkins, Fountas and Pinnell, Routman, Owocki, Miller, Fletcher, Hoyt, and Marzano to name a few. Here are just a few quotes to show this book is invaluable.
“Mathematical learning is both a social and constructive process.” (Vgotsky 1978, Steele 1999, Van de Walle and Lovin 2006)
“…these anchor charts “make our thinking permanent and visible, and so allow us to make connections from one strategy to another, clarify a point, build on earlier learning and simply remember a specific lesson.” (Miller, 2002)
“Additonally, once the students enter the classroom, they will progress at varying rates .” (Fountas and Pinnell 1996)