Knowing what to expect is a must when planning for guided math. Planning the details for expectations, flow and transitions are key in making your ideas match up with what really happens in a classroom. Here are some of the details from our classroom!
During math zones (guided math) what are the expectations for every kinder? They will be exactly the same as our literacy centers. We keep it simple and these rules combined with our general classroom expectations covers it all.
It does a teacher heart good when you overhear one kinder tell another, “You better get learning!”
I love using the phrase, “Get learning.” I found myself wanted to tell kids to get on task, or even get busy… but I think this phrase fits much better now and it does a teacher heart good when you overhear one kinder tell another, “You better get learning!”
How will they know where to go and when? We will use a poster that shows the groups, names and icons for each day. This is a kinder job to flip this poster daily to get it ready for the next day.
This poster system works much smoother for me in math. (With the help from my favorite teacher down the hall we figured out how to make it flow for each group to visit each zone twice a week.)
It has two days on one side (Monday/Thursday) and two days (Tuesday/Friday) on the other. I originally was going to use a pocket chart like seen below, and I use this system for guided reading, but I had difficulty with the names moving. Funny how I can do it with GR groups, but can’t seem to transfer it to math…
For any given day, the kinders will start out at their top zone and when the clean up song comes on (Whistle While You Work) they have roughly three minutes to clean, organize and get learning at the zone on the bottom. I have this song set up to play by using a shortcut on my computer desktop so that a simple click from me or any kinder signals the entire room to move on.
That’s my transition magic… well, guests in our room think this is magic!
They don’t even hear the song playing, but because it’s beginning and ending are so unique, and it is so routine… I can have it play at a minimal volume level and it appears as just all of a sudden 24 kinders “sense” it’s time to clean up. This always makes me proud of the hard work we do on making procedures stick when we get a visitor response like that.
I have a reputation with some visitors as, “the whisper teacher.”
I don’t really whisper all that often.
What’s my justification for only meeting with each group only twice a week with this flow? In all honesty, I panicked about only meeting with kinders twice a week when first laying out a flow. Truly! But, after good discussion with my favorite teacher down the hall and reflecting on what we were seeing and doing – we really are meeting their individual needs and doing more service than what we were even close to doing previously!
…we really are meeting their individual needs and doing more service than what we were even close to doing previously!
Plus, I know they are learning at the other zones… because as I give myself the mental reminder as I write this… I am not the secret to kinders learning. The secret comes in the other zones that are planned strategically to let them learn and practice in very manipulative (practice zone), concrete (technology zone) and cerebral (recording zone) ways.
What tips do you have for planning the details for expectations, flow and transitions for math time?
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