Guided Math and the BIG test

Guided Math and the BIG test
Yes, standardized testing is soon.  How can we get the students ready?  By teaching to the Test?  Ahh, this phrase will spark debates among many people.

Teaching to the Test is teaching math skills students need for life.

Teaching to the Test is teaching math skills students need for life.

Today I want to talk about teaching to the test with guided math, or rather… teaching skills on the test AND in life.  In a guided math format, I teach and we practice mathematical process skills every week. These are skills students need to understand what type of problem is being presented to them, and to plan which operations to use to solve it.

I urge teachers to teach algebra and problem solving in every unit and with every Common Core State Standard.  Don’t wait until the chapter towards the end of the textbook.  If taught with every unit, students begin to develop an understanding of the flexibility of math concepts being connected. ( In essence the standards for mathematical practice) Students also devise a math schema that begins to evolve as new concepts are added.

If algebra and problem solving skills are learned at the end of every chapter, students learn this skills as an isolated entity, not as a related idea.

Here is one lesson to achieve this.  Have the students pair up together to solve a math problem weekly.  Then the pair shares with another pair or a small group or the whole group. This allows the students to practice communicating effectively about math, persevere with math, construct viable arguments, model with math, and make use of structure.  This activity can be done as a part of whole group math or in small guided math groups with the teacher.


Students who are below grade level gain many benefits when algebra and problem solving are practiced weekly:

1.  They begin to connect math ideas.

 2. They begin to think of inverse math concepts as related quicker.

3.  They learn quicker to switch their math gears between concepts. (For example, when giving them problems with different operations to do or an end-of-the-unit test)

4.  They start to ask questions about how the math works.

(*** All students can gain these benefits!***)

So to rephrase… I am NOT teaching to the test with guided math, but rather teaching math knowledge and math thinking:)

Guided Math and the BIG test just means getting students ready for math throughout life.