Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher: Guided Math- Chapter 7

Guided Math- Chapter 7

I have to admit that this chapter about having math conferences with your students, was the toughest chapter for. That being said, it is probably the chapter I needed to read the most to improve my instruction. Isn't that the way it usually works?!

In this chapter, Sammons breaks down the framework of a math conference. First, the teacher must do some research. The research phase is the time that the teacher is observing the student as they work on independent math work. During this time, the teacher is watching the strategies that the student is using and making note of any misunderstandings. After a couple minutes of observation, the teacher must now decide what and how they will teach to this child. The "what" should be a particular skill or strategy that you noticed the child struggling with or one you believe they are ready to learn. The "how" might be through guiding a child using anchor charts from mini lessons. You might also choose to model for the student while think aloud. The third step is to actually do the teaching. Once you have modeled or guided the student, you will then give them a link to future use similar to the link you give at the conclusion of a mini lesson. Finally, the teacher should record data from this conference so that you will remember to observe this student again soon to be sure they are using the skill that you taught.

This all sounds so amazing! It is differentiated so that every student is getting the exact support that they need. I don't doubt the necessity for math conferences. The challenge that I am having a hard time wrapping my mind around, is WHEN??? I mean, I am just barely able to squeeze the mini lesson, guided practice, and small-group/workshop into my allotted math time.

Here are the ideas I came up with:
  • I can conference with 1-2 students during the guided practice time. I would probably pick students that seemed a little lost during the mini lesson. 
  • I can conference with students at the end of small-group instruction. Some students might be released to work independently at their desk while 1-2 students stay at the table for a conference. 
Either way, it will take me quite a while to confer with all of my students! I was afraid that I might forget who I had conferenced with. I notice that it is the enrich kids that often get skipped when it comes to one-on-one help. So here is the system that I came up with for keeping track of the conferences.

The clip board holds a page of sticky address labels. Once I have my class list, I will print a page with each students' name. After I conference with them, I will make some notes on the label and then stick it on their running record sheet in my guided math binder. 

I will be able to quickly look at my clipboard to se who still needs a conference. When all the labels are gone, I will start over with the next sheet. I am going to leave some blank labels. Some students will require more conferences than others and I want to be sure to document each conference.

Another thought I recently had is to use the Evernote app for conference notes. You could make a notebook for each student and then make a note for reading conference, another for writing, one for behavior and one for math. The app allows you to take pictures and store them in the notes. I think it would be helpful to take a picture of a student's work on their whiteboard as a reminder to myself or evidence. Anyone ever used Evernote for this purpose?

I need more help with math conferences! I am looking forward to reading along with Brenda from Primarily Inspired as she does a book study on Laney Samons' book Math Conferences. In fact, I think I NEED that book! You can buy it on TpT. :-)

Do you do math conferences with students? If so, how often and when? How do you keep your data organized?

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1 comment:

  1. I love the idea of using the labels to keep track of who you conferenced with. I am totally going to use that! Not only for math but for reading too!! Fab idea.

    Funky in Fourth


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