Texas Mathematics Teacher Spring/Summer 2018 - 23

Reflections: Planning for Guided Math
in the Kindergarten Classroom
When it comes time to preparing lessons for the week,
I find that planning gives me a sense of calm and
preparedness; however, when it comes to guided math
I have had a personal struggle with being able to find
that sense of calmness. I used to sit down on Fridays and
try to make a plan for the upcoming week: the groups I
would meet with, the skills we would work on, and the
exact activities and games we would play together. I went
through several templates trying to find the right one to
keep track of my lessons and groups. I finally settled on
creating my own template after realizing that pre-made
pages just weren't designed for my classroom.

After deciding that planning the way I had been for small
groups was not effective for my students, I started fresh
with a different approach. I built a repertoire of simple
games and activities to reinforce certain skills that I could
pull from as needed. Having a good collection of activities
that required minimal materials and copies made it simple
to pull an un-planned group to practice a skill
(see Figure 2}. Below are pictures of students working on
various skills during guided time.

When sitting down to create my template, I thought about
how many rotations of groups I would be able to meet
with and what meeting days would be realistic with my
schedule each week. I created a planning template in
order to successfully track my students and their planned
activities (see Figure 1).
Figure 2. Students working on various skills
during guided math time.
I designated Mondays as the day to reinforce skills my
students learned from the previous week, or skills my
students still needed to practice. Usually these groups
were more intentional, as most of what the students
were working on was "catch up" from previous concepts.
Tuesdays became the day that my small groups were
focused on a new concept, and I could gauge the depth of
my students' understanding.

Figure 1. Weekly planning template
created for guided math groups.
Monday would arrive, and I would start out strong,
referencing my binder, and following my well-prepared
plan. This worked really well, until Tuesday arrived.
I would reference my planning sheet, pull the groups,
do the activities, and then realize that this was not the best
way I could utilize my small group time. The curriculum
was changing skills and introducing new concepts often,
and my small group plans did not reflect my students'
needs for more instruction on skills they had not yet
mastered. I decided to take inventory of what my students
were doing during independent work stations along
with really listening to their answers during whole group
discussions. I quickly realized that being in tune with
what my students understood about the various
mathematics concepts was what actually made me feel
prepared and organized, not having a pre-made plan
designed well in advance.

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Tuesdays really gave direction to my small group
instruction for the rest of the week because I could then
start grouping according to what my students knew.
These groups were flexible, and for the rest of the week
I would meet with
different students in
different combinations.
My most successful way
to keep track of this was
using a clipboard with a
template I made to fit my
classroom (see Figure 3).I
included only the critical
information needed to
best address my students'
needs. For example, which
students did I need to meet
with, what skill(s) should
be addressed, and what
materials were needed.
Figure 3. Daily planning template
for guided math groups.

Spring/Summer 2018 | 23


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http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/68-01
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/67-01
http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/66-02
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http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/65-02
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http://www.brightcopy.net/allen/txmt/64-02
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