I attended a free webinar about Guided Math at the end of the summer and decided I was going to just jump in with both feet and do a math rotation this year. I have tried it before but never really went all in and therefore it was not successful (no surprise there).
But this year, I decided to go all in and make it work. I gave the students a pretest of the first unit which is on rounding and adding and subtracting within 1000 (3.NBT.1 and 2 respectively). Some of the students did pretty well on it but a good amount of them were totally lost on it as well. So I used that data to form my groups for this unit and we have taken to teaching most of the math lessons in a small group (some I do whole group because it is just easier with the type of lesson).
We are using what I have dubbed "The Georgia Units" as our curriculum this year because we have had the old version of Everyday Math since I started teaching. Not only is it outdated but it is also not Common Core aligned and our standardized tests are. We have common assessments in our district that are Common Core based so we were told as long as we use the common assessments we could use whatever resources we wanted. As soon as I heard that, I knew I would toss the EDM curriculum out the window in terms of whole group teaching. I don't hate EDM but since it doesn't align well to what kids need to know, it is not gonna cut it.
So I checked out the Georgia resource and convinced my team that we needed to use these units this year. They are perfect for Guided Math. So many of the lessons are hands-on games or activities that let the students actually practice rounding or manipulating numbers. Plus doing them in a small group I can see immediately who is totally lost or who is getting it with some extra support.
I have 20 students this year so for now we have 3 rotations. It may change if I get new students throughout the year.
My rotations are: Teacher, Technology and Workbook.
At the teacher station, they are working with me at the small group table. They play a game or complete the task with me right there to guide and support their learning. My lowest group gets much more hands-on direction from me than the highest group does because the higher group catches on so quickly. I can basically sit back and observe with them which is nice too because it helps me to know what I need to do to continue to push their thinking. The middle group ("on level") gets the general lesson but I can quickly scaffold up or down based upon the particular lesson or strategy because there are, at most, 7 students in front of me and I can see them all around the table. It's been going awesome so far.
The Technology station is where they use the iPods to play math games. I have all of the Everyday Math apps plus some fact fluency apps and games that help them to practice their facts quickly and efficiently. That has been helpful because they love the games and since I am using small groups, each student gets their own device and they think it is awesome :)
The last rotations is Work Book. I do use the Everyday Math journals for this time. The kids either review with math boxes or they work on pages that are similar to what we have been working on (or as close as I can get them). This station they are allowed to work together with their group for extra support if needed and it has been a great reinforcement tool so far.
I spend about 15-18 minutes with each group and it has been going pretty well for just jumping in and trying it! The only thing I need to be better at is remember to take anecdotal notes when the kids are working. I am watching them of course but over time I know I am not going to be able to remember what I saw with the first group when I get to the last group. So I need to be better at making sure that I use sticky notes or something to jot things down as we go along so I can make better instructional decisions. I just haven't figured out the form or method I want to use for that quite yet.