I'm linking up with Adventures in Guided Math for Chapter 6 of our book study on Guided Math in Action by Dr. Nicki Newton.
Question #1I have a love-hate relationship with lesson plan templates. I'm always trying to find just the right template that will give me the information I need while being VERY easy to use, fill out, and keep up with. I have tried countless lesson plan templates for guided reading over the years and I've found that the type I'm most likely to keep up with is very simple, has skills and activities built in that I can just highlight or circle. I can't stand typing or writing the same things over and over again. I won't typically change my groups every week so I will fill out student names, standards, and concepts/skills and make a few copies of the template so I won't have to write them in each day. I tend to write in pencil so I can make adjustments without having to get to my computer.
I don't necessarily have a lesson plan template that I love for guided math, yet. I do like Dr. Nicki's templates on pages 77-80 and in the back of the book on pages 138-9. Perhaps I can create a hybrid template that meets all my needs for efficiency, simplicity and functionality. I found a freebie by Pam & Tara I like:
Owl Star Teaching:
When I'm working with my small groups, I always introduce a concept using concrete (manipulatives), pictorial (drawings) and abstract (equations) simultaneously. However, I start the students with manipulatives while I demonstrate the other two. For example, I will ask a student to use their base ten blocks to make a number. I will then draw a picture of their blocks ( modeling good organization and vocabulary) and the number on my dry erase board. When I ask the student to take away a quantity, I will also cross out the picture representation. I don't erase because it doesn't show a record of the action taken. Finally, students will count their blocks and then I will count my picture, adding in the numerical information and writing an equation. Eventually, I will phase over to having students draw pictures while I support with manipulatives (if necessary) and writing the equations on my board. When I see regression, I always have the manipulatives handy to support students' conceptual understanding. Some students fly through these transitions, quickly making the connections from conceptual to abstract. Many others are reluctant to give up their manipulatives or drawings (or counting fingers!) to transition to the abstract level. The key is knowing when to push students and when to support. I think you just really need to know your kids and the best way is having a consistent routine of meeting with students in small groups.
Another example of transitioning students through the levels is when they learn to count coins. At first, you give them the coins (either plastic or actual). When I'm drawing pictorial representations of coins, I begin by drawing a circle with the value of the coin inside and then move to using a letter to represent the coin. Many students will naturally start to drop the circle and just use either the letter representation or a numerical representation, and eventually move to writing equations. This is something I model while students are at the concrete and pictorial stages.
Boy! I still have so much to think about in regards to planning! I think I will make a hybrid of all the lesson planning templates I've seen that will fit my needs best. The most important thing is that I do make a conscious effort to plan and the best way to do that is to have a functional template that doesn't require a great deal of time to fill out.
See you all soon for Chapter 7: Building Mathematical Proficiency in Guided Math Groups.