Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Guided Math Made Easy: Meet with the Troop Leader

Hi friends!  I have been working hard on making my life at school easier so I can have a life at home too.  One thing I needed to do was to create a strong foundation of basic systems that could carry me through those rough weeks without a lot of thought and prep.  I'm going to start by sharing how I did this with guided math with my Guided Math Made Easy series! 

Meet with the Troop Leader (Teacher) is the FIRST station you should set up!  Do it in the summer if possible.  Meet with the Teacher is where I do ALL of my direct instruction because I have 3 different grade levels.  I have my students between 10-25 minutes a day, depending on the lesson and their ability to sit and focus. 

Setting it Up: 
If you really want to make your life easier, you need to learn to love packets!  (Keep reading even if you hate packets...I promise it's not as bad as you think!)  I took the New York math outline of what to teach when and sorted my math materials into that order.  I'm combining a few left over curriculums from various grade levels to meet all the new Common Core Standards.  I was not given a math curriculum so I'm sort of left to make it up as I go...if you were given a curriculum, I'd use it (at least as a guide).  Remember, this is Guided Math Made Easy, not guided-math-so-complicated-you-immediately-give-up.  I'm keeping everything organized by chapter in my filing cabinet.  I have a separate folder for my lesson book & seat work.

After I sorted my materials, I made packets for each unit.

Packets mean no loose papers and everything is in order!  I actually combine about 3 units into one spiral bound packet so I'm not making copies so frequently.  The best part about having the packet system is that once you make your initial packets, all you have to do is copy them (or send them out if your district does that) and you are done for the year!  

You will also want to have math manipulatives at your finger tips!  I keep mine in these 3 drawer carts.  Each drawer holds a ton of manipulatives.  The kids can easily access anything they need. 

Organize it: 
I keep my units in a filing cabinet.  You could also store everything in binders.  I keep my daily materials in book bins: 
In each groups bin, I have the teacher's manual, the students math packets (which I call Lesson Books) and examples of any hands on things we might be doing during a unit.  On an un-related note, I really want to paint those...those colors really don't match my room! 

Using it: 
I hope you kept reading to this part because this is important!  Just because a worksheet is in your packet, doesn't mean you have to use it!  I skip a lot of lessons that are in the packets because we did a hands-on activity instead.  Sometimes we skip parts of a lesson and other times we do the whole thing.  It just depends on your kids and the lesson.  The packets are there as a guide.  

There are soooo many little details that go into teaching.  If there is anything else you want to know about this station, please let me know in the comments!  Also please feel free to share your tips for your teacher station! 

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