Guided Math Set Up

For me, math begins with whole group instruction. This is usually a 20-30 minute lesson, introducing a new objective for the day.  I like to introduce the objective whole group, just for the sake of time. I don't want to do too much repeating during small group time.  (Sometimes I also use whole group time as an opportunity to review something I noticed a lot of students making mistakes with. Sometimes I create an anchor chart with my class, practice math vocabulary, do a math read aloud, solve a tricky problem together, etc.  Also, I might have students come to the front of the room to "be the teacher" and show the class how they solve a problem. My whole group time really varies depending on the flow of the lessons and how well my class is doing. I like to keep my whole group time flexible.)

When introducing the day's objective, I like to use the gradual release model. (I do, we do, you do, you do.) First I model. (I do) Then, I have students help me solve a problem. (We do) Next, students work with a group or partner on a problem. (You do) Last, students complete an independent practice. (You do) Usually the independent practice is a quick ticket out the door style problem. I use these to form my flexible groups, which leads me to the next part of my math block.

Guided Math/Small Group Math/Math Rotations
Call it whatever you may, this is the time of day where I meet with my students in small targeted groups. Students are busy working in all parts of my room, most of them in centers. I do not have set rotations where I ring a bell and students move to the next group after a certain amount of minutes. I have found that that does not work for me during a math block because students skill levels vary so much. Instead, there are 5 big components to my Guided Math time.

I use targeted lesson plans that focus on a specific objective.

I can keep track of how successful my class is with each day's lesson by color coding the unit overview sheet. Save every unit overview and when its time to review for state testing, it is easy to know exactly what objectives to spend the most time reinforcing. 

1. Teacher time--I work with students in small groups (that I form based on their skill level on a certain objective) These are FLEXIBLE groups, meaning I pull students in and out of them all the time. They are not set groups. The simple reason being, a student who is great with geometry might really struggle with addition and subtraction. I use the information I gather from my students independent work in whole group math to set up my groups. During teacher time I target students to help grow them in a certain skill. 

I usually start with my middle know, the kids who are inconsistent with the objective. They kind of get it--but aren't 100% sure how or why they are solving a problem a certain way. Normally I have found that this group of kids need a little extra practice and direction from me before they are ready to try it on their own again. 

The next group I pull in are my high flyers. This is usually very brief since they have already shown mastery of a skill. I use this quick check in time to make sure that they really DO get it and are comfortable with the objective. Once I am sure of this, I give them an enrichment activity to go work on. 

The last group I pull is my group of students who are really struggling with the objective. I pull them last because I like to spend the most time supporting them. Also, by this time, if a student from my first group is still having a hard time with something, they have probably come to me for support. Now, I can add them to my last group and give them another dose of targeted instruction.

 Vocabulary and Definition cards go in pocket charts for us to reference during the lesson. I also include any posters or essential questions we'll be using that day.

I use a variety of hands on tools to help students with the standards.

What are kids doing when they are not working with me?

2. Skill practice--This is usually a longer form of independent work that students will turn into me. It may be a practice page or some other activity that can be turned in for me to check later. Students work on this independently, at their seats and turn it in when they finish.

3. Fluency--I have limited technology in my room so students have to take turns. I like for all of my students to get their green check mark on XtraMath every day. The computers must always be in use in my classroom. As soon as one student finishes, they get another student to log on. (The only students who do not go log on are the students who are at my table. They wait until it is time for them to be working without me.) If students are done with their skill practice and have turned it in, they can also practice math fluency using a wipe off sheet they keep in their desks. This is a fact practice sheet inside a sheet protector that they write on with an expo marker. (This is always in their desks, and is an alternative to reading a book when they finish something before others.)

4. Centers--Once students have finished their skill practice, turned it in, and have completed fluency (or are waiting to complete fluency) they work in centers. I use my Common Core Math Centers and keep them in a bucket all year. Students practice these centers often and it helps keep the standards fresh in their heads all year long.

5. Extension Activities--Another option for students who have completed their skill practice and fluency is to work on extension activities. This can be a writing activity that has to do with our math objective, a puzzle, or a math game. These activities all go with the objective we are working on for the day.


At the end of a math unit, I like to take some time to reflect. I write down my green, yellow, and red students and make any notes about the class performance as a whole. If there is something I know I need to spend time spiral reviewing the rest of the year, I make note of it here. At the bottom of the page I make notes about my teaching. If there is something my kids struggled to understand, maybe I need to spend some time looking at different ways to teach/articulate it. Also, if there is something I want to be sure to do different next year, I write it here as well. This helps me refine my teaching practice over the years. Next year, I can pull out this sheet before I teach the unit to have a better idea for how I can teach my next class.

For more resources to use during your math block check out, 2nd Grade Guided Math, 3rd Grade Guided Math, 4th Grade Guided Math, and 5th Grade Guided Math!

3rd Grade Guided Math

I am so excited to share this with you!
Guided Math for Third Grade is composed of 15 units divided into four quarters. The units range anywhere from 1 week long to 4 weeks long, depending on the standard(s) being covered. There are 8 weeks of lesson plans for each quarter. (If you work in a traditional school, this will leave you one week for review or test prep each quarter. You can also use that extra week as a buffer week because we all know interruptions happen that get you off track.) Check out the year at a glance below.

Guided Math is intended for small group instruction done by the teacher. These lessons are designed to be done as targeted instruction in a group setting, but teachers may choose to use some of the materials in whole group lessons as well.

 Binder spine labels are also included so you can keep all of your 3rd Grade Guided Math materials organized! (These also come in an ink friendly version.)

Scroll down to take a look at what's included!

 Vocabulary cards, definitions, and questions from the lessons are provided to display. You can put these in a pocket chart, or have them out on the table while you are teaching a lesson.

Printables are intended to be used to support instruction and provide students with hands on tools, posters, templates, and more that can help them understand whatever topic you are covering.

 A practice page is included for each day and covers the objective taught this day. Use this during your small group lesson to check for understanding, or make it a part of your rotations!

Extension activities are also included for each day. These can be used after students have been taught the day's lesson. You can add them to your rotations or centers.

Additional resources are provided to support your instruction. These resources vary from foldables, to games, to extra practice.

One of my favorite things in the Guided Math units are the unit overviews. Try color coding how well your class did with a lesson as you teach them. Save every unit overview and when its time to review for state testing, you know exactly what objectives to spend the most time reinforcing.

The Guided Math Bundles now include a Teacher Handbook & Overview. Inside you can find these unit reflection sheets. They are a great place to take notes and reflect on your teaching as you teach the units. Put down areas you want to review, things you want to do different next year, etc... This is also something you can use to show your administrator that you reflect on your teaching practices!

The Guided Math bundle now has Student Graphs that you can use to allow students to graph their pre and post assessment scores to track their growth. There is also a generic graph that you can use to track scores from any math assessment you give.

Get the 3rd Grade Guided Math Bundle HERE.

Click HERE to learn more about how I run Guided Math time in my classroom.

**Also available for 4th and 5th grade!