Top Ten FAQs

Top Ten FAQs about the Balanced Guided Math

1.      Is Guided Math research based?

Answer: Yes!  Bloom’s taxonomy, divergent thinking techniques, and Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences are integrated.  Eric Jensen’s brain-based learning, Fountas & Pinnell’s guided reading group principles, and David Sousa’s brain-based research are theories that support the Guided Math Program.

Teachers are learning about guided math at a Balanced Guided Math Workshop.

Teachers are learning about guided math at a Guided Math Workshop.

2.      How do I group the students together?

Answer:  A short assessment during Large Group mini-lesson time will give you the data to group the students together and decide which skills each group should work on.

3.      Will the guided math model help me challenge high achieving students? 

Answer: Yes, this model allows the teacher to design lessons based on each student’s math level.  Teachers work with each group of leveled students 3 to 4 times a week on each math concept at that group’s developmental level.

4.      What accommodations does guided math incorporate for RTI students or students with IEPs?

Answer: Accommodations include: activities with manipulatives, pictorial representations for math understanding, small guided groups with direct instruction, appropriate pacing for each group, specific techniques to use with ELL students, constant preview of upcoming concepts for mastery of pre-skills, and consistent review of learned material for concept mastery.

5.      Does this model require more work than traditional large group math?

Answer:  This model requires no extra work. It just requires that you retrain your thinking about how to teach math.

Teachers meet student's needs in guided math groups.

Teachers meet student’s needs in guided math groups.

6.      Does this program for Guided Math require a lot of extra money?

Answer: No.  This model is framed to be used with the textbook series that your school purchases.  With a few manipulatives and some center ideas, you are equipped to begin tomorrow.

7.      How much time a day does Guided Math take each day?

Answer: On average, it takes 60 minutes each day.  The best advantage to this model is that the blocks of time can be broken apart; it does not need to be 60 consecutive minutes.  It can also vary between the days of the week. This flexibility makes this a more manageable program for teachers and schools. Angela shows districts that have 75-90 minutes of math time to maximize their Guided Math time.

8.      How loud do the students become during center time? 

Answer: Simple. . . as loud as you allow.  Center time is a focused, short 15 minutes for students to practice a skill in a meaningful way.  It is a hands-on activity so students are engaged, not misbehaving.  It requires a short amount of time, which minimizes behavior issues.  Center time allows for movement to learn which engages all learners, even ADHD students.  Also, I alternate this application time between individual and collaborative activities the students complete, which can minimize the noise level.  Only 4-6 students are engaged at centers at one time, which also reduces the noise level.

9.      Do I have to be an experienced math teacher to implement the Guided Math ideas?

Answer: No. Any teacher, whether you are a first year teacher or a thirty year veteran, can implement these ideas to teach math.  This model is easy to understand and helps every teacher to understand the dynamics of mathematics, the fundamentals of teaching students to think mathematically, and strategies for maximum math mastery.  Every teacher that attends this workshop receives sample schedules, copies of recording sheets, and everything you need to get started.

10.   Does Guided Math require a lot of grading?

Answer: This program uses several ways to assess the students.  The preview skill pages have the answer keys provided for immediate feedback for students.  I assess students 3 days a week in guided groups through observations or simple quick assessments done on the spot and recorded.  The summative weekly skill assessment will need to be graded.  However, since smaller chunks of concepts are taught at a time, the assessments are short and quickly graded.