Are you wondering how to start guided math groups in your classroom? Launching guided math can be intimidating, but with the right organization, you can set up rotations that run smoothly in your classroom! Learn how I first set up Guided Math in my classroom with this free 10 day plan to launch math groups!

Guided math groups can be successful in any classroom if you have strong classroom management and organization. I spend the first two weeks of school "training" my students on how to do guided math. (You can do this anytime you are ready to start your groups--not just the beginning of the school year.)

Before launching guided math, ask yourself, 
  • Do I have clear expectations in my classroom? 
  • Do I have set rotations or flexible rotations? (I recommend flexible rotations...You can learn more about how I do that in this blog post.) 
  • What do I want my students working on during math groups? 
  • How much technology is available to me? 
  • How many students can I work with at a time?
I created this ten day launch plan to help other teachers who are ready to start Guided Math Groups. It gives a brief synopsis of what to teach your students each day.  It is written to be used during the first two weeks of school, but it can be used whenever you are ready to launch guided math. So, if you are jumping on the guided math train a little later in the year, just modify this. 

It is truly important to spend the whole two weeks preparing your students for guided math. Invest the time now, so you will not be interrupted with problems later.  It is also important to revisit these expectations later in the year. A great time to do it is upon returning from winter break.
Click the image above to get the FREE ten day launch plan.

To learn about how I set up Guided Math in my classroom, check out this blog post

For resources to use during your math block check out, 1st Grade Guided Math, 2nd Grade Guided Math, 3rd Grade Guided Math, 4th Grade Guided Math, and 5th Grade Guided Math!

Comprehension Quests are a fun way to practice nonfiction reading passages along with standards aligned reader response activities. You can use this quest to teach your students about all things St. Patrick's Day! After each passage, students will earn a clue that gets them one step closer to solving the quest!

This Comprehension Quest™ is such a fun way for your students to learn about all things St. Patrick's Day!
Practice reading comprehension with these standard aligned activities while you learn about St. Patrick's day

What's a Comprehension Quest™?
A Comprehension Quest™ is a fun way to get students excited about practicing reading comprehension! Even reading passages! Starting off with the hook video, students learn they have a quest to complete.

The hook video comes in wmv and MP4 format so you have two options for sharing.

If you can't share either format at school, its okay! The quest is also explained on a printable quest  sheet!

In this edition, students must figure out where the leprechaun hid a pot of gold!

Students will read 6 passages and complete standards aligned reader response activities. Each passage has 2-4 options for reader response sheets. That way you can differentiate your instruction! The standards covered range from second through fifth grade.
 Practice Reading Comprehension with these St. Patrick's Day nonfiction passages!

Practice Reading Comprehension with these St. Patrick's Day nonfiction passages!

After each activity, they will earn a clue that will get them one step closer to solving the quest.

Students will use the process of elimination when they are given clues to help solve the quest. This chart helps them figure out the final answer.

The clues help students eliminate possible locations on their chart. After the last clue they will be left with only one location!

Once they are finished with all six passage, activities, and have figured out where the gold is, they turn in their guess to you. If they are correct, they earn a fun certificate to color while everyone finishes!

Here's a look at the topics and which passages cover each standard.

You can really have a lot of fun with a Comprehension Quest! Consider decorating your classroom for St. Patrick's Day. You can get fake gold coins and scatter them throughout your classroom. You can also get a leprechaun hat and print out the note from the leprechaun. I got some great St. Patrick's day accessories for the quest at Target in the dollar spot!

Search YouTube for "Irish and Celtic Music" and choose a video that plays like white noise in the background while your students work. The more excited you are about the quest, the more excited your students will be! They will feed off of your energy and excitement!

Don't forget to Pin this for later!
Reading Comprehension passages and standard aligned activities to learn about St. Patrick's Day!

Check out ALL of my Comprehension Quests™ here!

When you plan guided math, it is important to be organized. Organization is the key to having successful math groups! You have to know the end goal in order to know how to get there! In this post, I explain why you have to begin with the end in mind when you are organizing for Guided Math.

Do you ever hop in the car with no plan of where to go? NO! Every time you get in the car, you know your destination. The same should be said for teaching and lesson planning. You must have a goal, an ending location, for your lesson or curriculum.

A lot of people want to implement guided math in their classrooms, but aren't sure where to begin. The key to having successful guided math groups is organization. I designed the guided math units to have a gradual, scaffolded progression.

At the beginning of every unit is the unit overview. It is important to begin with the end in mind. Read over the overview. Study the post assessment. Understand what students will ultimately be expected to do. 

Here is an example of a unit overview:

It is important not to overwhelm students with too much new content at one time when teaching a lesson. The Guided Math units are designed in a way that sets students up for success. There are specific and achievable objectives for each day. There are resources for students to practice the objective, (practice pages and daily extension activities). You can use these as other "rotations" during your guided math time. 

Another great thing about the design of the units is that there is built in review time, each week! No more reviewing all concepts at the end of a unit and trying to cram for the post test. These units are designed to allow you to slow the pace or review as you see fit. This helps solidify students' foundations before moving on to more challenging skills. If you use the year long bundle of units, you will have 32 weeks of instruction. With one review day per week, your students are benefiting from an entire month of review time built in throughout the year. If you are at a traditional school with 36 weeks of instruction, you will have about 4 weeks at the end of the year to do test prep with your students.

So how do you know what to review at the end of the year? You can't review it all. There simply isn't the time! One thing to do is to color code your unit overviews. After each lesson, color in the block green, yellow, or red, to indicate how successful your students were with the lesson. When it's time to review, you will know exactly which objectives to spend your time on.

To learn about how I set up Guided Math in my classroom, check out this blog post.

For resources to use during your math block check out, 1st Grade Guided Math, 2nd Grade Guided Math, 3rd Grade Guided Math, 4th Grade Guided Math, and 5th Grade Guided Math!

outcast: a person who has been rejected by society or a social group

Sometimes its easy to identify who is being bullied or rejected in your classroom. Sometimes it happens so subtly, that even the most perceptive teacher misses it.

Rejection is a part of life. We hear this often. Kids can be mean. The real world is full of rejection. They need to develop a tough skin.

Sure, these things may be true of the world. But do they have to be true of our classrooms?

My heart is broken when I see the news of another school shooting. Everyone says why does this keep happening? What can we do to fix it?

The sad truth is, we may never be able to completely stop this from happening in our world. It may be our new normal. But, what if there is something we can do to make our classrooms better? To help that child who is feeling rejected feel a little more included?

Identify The Outcast

I read an amazing article on Reader's Digest about how a teacher identified who was lonely and who was being rejected in her classroom. Every Friday she asked her students to privately write down four people they'd like to sit by the following week. Once the students left, she studied the papers and looked for patterns. You can read the article to see what questions she asked herself when she looked at the names. She was able to use these papers to identify the outcasts in her classroom. To stop the bullies and help the bullied. You see, a lot of these things happen subtly, quietly. Some students keep their hurt feelings to themselves. Some are not so public with their bullying. As a teacher, sometimes you have to be creative to identify the outcasts in your classroom. (If you want to give this a try, check out this freebie in my store to go along with this Friday routine.)

But what do we do once we know this?

There's really no perfect answer. It depends on your students and the dynamics of your classroom. But I have a few ideas.

Find Things in Common

At the beginning of the year we do a lot of activities to help students get to know each other and to build a classroom community. Students may learn who else has a dog, who else watches a certain tv show,  who is new to the school, who has visited another state, who loves the ocean, etc... But once the school year really gets moving, these things tend to fall by the wayside and students tend to develop cliques. We get busy with the curriculum; after all, we have a lot to cover.

But what if we spent a little more time talking with our students every week? Pointing out things we have in common. Maybe the student they are picking on is not as different as they thought. Maybe they both play soccer after school.  Once you identify who is being outcasted in your classroom, you can try to help your students see things they have in common with that child.

Public Praise

Let me start by saying, this may not work for every child in the same manner. Some children are terribly shy and the thought of being singled out in front of the class is terrifying. But there is more than one way to publicly praise a child.

First of all, you can praise the child in front of the whole class. "Wow, Jenny! You were so helpful this afternoon. Thank you so much for helping me put those things away." The class takes notice of the child, and hopefully compliments them too.

Of course, this technique may not work for your classroom.  Another technique I have tried is to praise the child to a peer. When working in small groups I may see a student who is struggling with adding two digit numbers. I can offer them help of course, but sometimes a peer can explain things better. Perhaps the peer they have been isolating. "Hey, why don't you ask Jenny to show you this really neat way she solved this problem earlier? I think she might be able to explain it to you better than I can."

Another way you can praise a child to a peer is to speak highly of them to their peers. "Did you all know that Jenny went roller skating this weekend with her Dad? You have to ask her to tell  you about it. It sounded like a lot of fun." "Did you see Jenny's new shoes? Those are so cool!"

Change the Dynamics: Break Up the Cliques

Sometimes proximity is important. When you identify a clique in your classroom, it may be time to break it up. New seating arrangements can help. As a teacher, I constantly try to think of the best placement for students in the classroom.

Special Time

A teacher's time is so precious. Very limited. I understand that. But maybe there are some ways we can give students who need it just a little more of our time. What if we had a special lunch, just the outcasted child and two or three peers. What if we let them do something really fun during that time, that they will then have in common? Ex: During lunch, I let Jenny and two others come to my classroom to eat. I talked to them about what I was doing over the weekend and they shared their plans. My husband called me and I let him say hello to them. When they finished, I let them play with the projector and they pretended to play school. When we went to recess later, the girls included Jenny and talked to some other classmates about what they got to do. So teacher, ask yourself, what could you do to make some students in your class have special time together?

There is no one solution for stopping bullying or keeping any one student from being left out. But maybe if we come together and share our ideas, we can help make our classrooms a kinder place.

I would love to hear some of your ideas for helping the outcasted student in your classroom. Feel free to leave your ideas for other teachers to read in the comment section below.

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