How to teach math in small groups looks different for each teacher due to personality, teaching style, grade level and a group of kiddos.
Here is how I create a guided math binder to help me stay on top of lesson planning for my four kindergarten math groups.
For some, teaching guided math in kindergarten seems like a daunting task.
It can be difficult, but with goals in mind, it’s a sure-fire way to meet the needs of your students. If you want to differentiate math, then guided math is for you.
My guided math binder is a key part of staying organized when I meet with my small groups.
This my guided math space, where my guided math binder usually lives.
I have a kidney-shaped table lowered to the ground and a seating cushion. Behind me is the space I organize our:
- year-long math manipulatives (with enough materials for a group size 6-7 students)
- our lesson materials
- assessment booklets
- and my math lesson plan binder
This lesson plan binder is the piece that holds it all together for me.
Here is what my binder looks like.
The Binder – Layout
This guided math binder is simply binder that is at least 1.5″ thick. It has a clear front for me to slide a cover into.
It has five sections inside.
It has four tabbed dividers.
I also have a teeny version of the weekly rotation taped onto the inside front cover of my binder for planning reference. (So I know which days I’m meeting with which groups and in what order.)
Section 1 (Long Term Planning Guide)
At the front, before any divider tabs, I keep the planned scope for the current quarter’s 9 weeks as a planning guide.
Scribbles… scrawled handwriting… it’s all part of my process.
It shows me:
- what standard to focus on
- what activity we can use for a warm-up, main lesson, wrap-up
- notes about how to differentiate for one of my three levels of math groups
Sections 2-5 (Small Group Lesson Plans)
Now the tabbed dividers come in handy: I have one for each math group.
Behind each divider tab is a set of weekly lesson plans for my groups.
The newest set of lesson plans is always on top so that when I flip to a group’s tab – I’m ready to teach – the lesson plans I need are right there.
Lesson Plan Templates
I want to share how I use my lesson plan templates in my binder. They save me time!
My method is that I print one week’s worth of lesson plan templates at a time.
A template is one page each time I meet with a group… since I like lots of room to write and I don’t write neatly on the fly.
I meet with each math group twice a week – so I need to plan two lessons for each group. I print these two templates onto one piece of paper. I just print double-sided.
That results in only one sheet of paper for an entire week for that group annnnnd it doesn’t make my binder too heavy when they begin to pile up.
What I Love About These Lesson Plan Templates
I love that there are two main sections on a lesson plan template. The planning section – you know, what I’m actually going to do with that group – and the notes section.
The top is the planning section.
It has a place for me to write down vocabulary, our main lesson format, which strategy we’re focusing on (which Mathematical Practice standard) and any wrap-up or assessment piece.
I only fill in the parts that I need and I’m good to go.
The bottom is the notes section.
I love to have room to jot notes and document what we actually do and what I notice with my kinders. (I use a very similar type of page for my guided reading plans.)
I figure if I need RTI documentation, bring it on!
The entire bottom portion allows me to stay on top of what my kinders are doing, thinking, learning.
I have a master copy of the lesson plan template for each group, so I don’t have to re-write the names every week.
Now – consider this a bonus! See that little side section off to the right at the bottom?
Well, that’s where I write down anything for me.
Sometimes it is a behavior note on other students and how they are performing at their other math centers — or I jot down where I want to take this group I’m meeting with next time. Sometimes, just sometimes, I may have the tendency to forget to pull a manipulative out before a lesson, so I write a bold reminder to myself there when I’m lesson planning.
It’s a pretty straightforward binder.
Long term plans in the front and daily plans behind each group’s tab.
But it works!
Get The Lesson Plan Templates
I’ve put together all of the math lesson plan templates into a guided math pack along with tons of other goodies to help you get your guided math binder started.
You can be organized, plan differentiated lessons and take notes on your groups without needing to recreate the wheel!
I hope seeing this binder layout can help you create your own guided math binder – so you can stay organized and plan smart when you differentiate math in your kindergarten classroom.
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