*Learn how to create a guided math schedule and plan your math block easily and effectively in K-2. Read this guide to learn what to teach and how to organize your time effectively. *

## Creating Your Guided Math Schedule

Today’s classrooms are filled with students with varied abilities and learning needs. Therefore, we **need to be flexible and differentiate how we teach our students to** meet their needs.

This can be accomplished using the Guided Math approach during your daily math block. The Guided Math model permits us to teach in small groups to **ensure students get the individualized instruction they need**. This is not possible with the traditional whole-group model.

As you will read below, whole-group mini-lessons are still effective in introducing math concepts and developing math skills, while small groups allow us to support our students where they are at with a math concept.

There are many things to think about when launching Guided Math. This can quickly get overwhelming, especially when we first start as teachers. One important thing to remember is that with a routine in place, we can plan effective math lessons that get us to our target goal, which is to help children learn specific math concepts.

From my years of teaching, I know that planning effective, differentiated math lessons can be challenging and time-consuming.** I hope that with the information shared here, you can begin to design** or improve your Guided Math lessons. Whether you have been teaching for a while or are just beginning, this information applies to you.

You will learn what to include in your daily math block, as well as things you can try today. You will also see examples of schedules and how you could structure your math block. **The goal is to maximize learning no matter the length of your daily math block and schedule it for student success!**

### What to Include in Your Guided Math Schedule

*Okay, so you’re ready to get started with Guided Math, but where do you begin? *Below you will find the **essential five math workshop components to include in your guided math schedule. **

How long your math block is will determine how long you spend on each of these components. Take the suggestions, try them out, and then tweak them to suit your group of students.

#### #1 – Math Warm-Up Activity

**Time:** 10 minutes whole-group activity

**Reason:** Math warm-up activities are fun! They are usually completed whole-group and allow children to activate their brains and get ready for the math lesson. They build mathematical reasoning, allow for communication, problem-solving, and further understanding.

**Here are fun math warm-ups to try**:

**Number of the Day**– Pick one number to focus on each day and work with students to dissect it. Have students record the numeral, write the word, draw the number of shapes to match, tally marks, etc.. Mini-whiteboards work great as students can record their learning along with the teacher. Alternatively, you can create a Number of the Day anchor chart.**Number Talks**– Have a quick mental math problem ready to go on the board. Ask students to solve it without giving away the strategy or answer. Give them a few minutes to think about it and then ask for them to share their thoughts. Record their ideas and discuss. This allows students to see the different ways that math problems can be solved.**Task Cards**– Give students a quick task to complete independently or with a partner. Provide the necessary tools or manipulatives that need to accomplish the task. For example, “Form groups of five using thirty cubes, and then skip count.”**Calendar**– Daily calendar time is a great opportunity to review and reinforce math concepts.This traditional routine is great for our younger students who are learning basic math concepts and how to count. It also allows children to see math as it connects to our lives, through concepts on time and weather.**Math Flash Cards**– Flash cards can serve a purpose besides memorization. The goal of using math flash cards is to build a child’s mental math ability and fact fluency. Try paying a game with the cards, where students stand in two groups side by side, and you flash the card to both groups to see who can call out the answer the quickest. Alternatively, they could take turns answering to earn points.**Read more:**6 Simple & Fun Math Warm-Up Activities

#### #2 – Whole Group Mini-Lessons

**Time:** 15-20 minute short, powerful mini-lesson

**Reason:** The mini-lesson can set the stage and have students begin to think about a specific math concept, skill, or strategy. It can also be used to review, model, or explain something. What you include in your mini-lesson will depend on where your students are at.

Make sure to have a clear plan of what you will teach to stay focused and stick to one key teaching point. Make sure to express yourself clearly and think aloud when you are modeling to students. Staying on track and aware of time is important to keep things short and to the point. Look for that small win and go for it!

**Here are a few things you can try during your whole group mini-lessons:**

- model a new strategy or skill as an introduction
- demonstrate using a new math manipulative that will support students
- demonstrate how to play a game
- model and review a strategy or skill that you see students struggling with
- create an anchor chart together to introduce a topic
- read a children’s book that connects to a math concept
- wrap-up or summarize a lesson previously taught
**Read more:**Quick & Effective Whole-Group Math Mini-Lessons

#### #3 – Small Group Instruction

**Time:** 30-60 minutes of groups rotating

**Reason:** Small group time is when you provide your differentiated lessons and targeted instruction to students in small leveled groups based on their learning abilities. This occurs while other groups of students are working on other math activities.

Small groups allow you to support your students as they learn and practice math strategies. Teachers get more time to work with students individually. It is a time for students to talk about what they are learning, ask questions, and solve problems together. By having smaller groups, students feel more supported, confident, and share ideas.

The best part of small groups is that you can catch and correct any misconceptions students may have from the whole-group lesson.

**Here are some examples of things to try during your small group instruction:**

**Any of the examples for whole-group mini-lessons can work in small groups**- teach and model a new concept, skill, or strategy
- review and practice a concept, skill, or strategy in an interactive way
- observe students completing a math activity to check for understanding
- introduce and play a new math game
- ask students to solve a math problem and share solutions together
**Read More:**How to Run Math Small Groups Effectively in K-2

#### #4 – Individual Math Practice, Activities, & Centers

**Time:** 30-60 minutes (at the same time as small groups)

**Reason:** Having individual math activities and practice opportunities allows you to run small groups. Your students work on math activities in timed rotations as you spend time with groups. For example, while one group works with the teacher, the other groups complete math practice worksheets, journals, or digital activities, participate in math centers, or play games.

Depending on the make-up of your class, student needs, and length of your math block, you may have 2-6 rotations to meet with the desired number of small groups. These can be spread over several days or an entire week.

**Here are a few ways for kids to build math skills independently:**

**Math Journals**– Students are asked a question and must show their work and how to solve it in a journal. They provide a way to present a question or problem to a student and have them show their understanding of it.**Math Centers**– Hands-on activities performed independently are fun and effective ways for students to practice math. Find math centers that reinforce the math skill you are teaching and can be completed in the alloted time for that rotation.**Digital Math Activities**– Activities perfomed on a tablet or classroom computer allow students to practice a math skill in a different way.**Math Manipulatives**– Allow students opportunities to have hands-on experiences with math tools. These can be structured, where a student has a problem to solve using the manipulatives, or unstructured, where students are encouraged to explore and see what they learn by using them. Both experiences are valuable!**Math Worksheets**– Provide differentiated worksheets to your students that help them practice a math skill they are learning. Fun, appropriate worksheets can be great for reinforcing a skill or providing assessment.**Read More:**Kid-Friendly Independent Math Practice Ideas for K-2

#### #5 – Math Assessment

**Time:** 5 minutes

**Reason:** Math assessment allows you to track and monitor your student’s progress and development of math skills. They may not be the more enjoyable things to administer, but they are essential to see what your students know and where they need more support.

**Try these simple ways to check your student’s progress:**

**Math Fact Practice**– Give students a list of math equations to solve during a set amount of time or have them set a timer to see how quickly they take to complete.**Quick Checks or Exit Tickets**– These quick activities consist of a question or problem that students solve to show their understanding of the math concept taught that day.**Observation**– Take notes on what you observe from your students during your math block. This could be a quick checklist or using a rubric to see where they fall on a scale. This could also consist of anecdotyl notes that you take about their ability to use math strategies effectively.**Read More:**Quick and Simple Math Assessments for K-2

### How to Structure Your Math Block and Guided Math Schedule

Using the suggestions above, it is now time to structure your daily math block so that you can include the essential components of Guided Math and teach amazing math lessons. *Are you excited yet? *

Below are mock guided math schedules for 60, 75, and 90-minute math blocks. They each include the six components discussed previously so that you can teach a well-rounded, differentiated Guided Math block. I have also created printable templates for each block structure to plan and write out the specific lessons and activities you will teach.

#### A Guided Math Schedule with 60-min Blocks:

- 10 minute warm-up
- 15 minute whole-group mini-lesson
- 30 minute math workshop (small groups & independent practice)
- 5 minute assessment

**NOTE**: This length of math block makes it hard to fit everything in and have enough time for math workshop, but it can be done with three 10-minute or two 15-minute rotations. Alternatively, you may wish to create 120-minute math blocks that extend over two days.

#### A Guided Math Schedule with 75-minute Blocks:

- 10 minute warm-up
- 15 minute whole-group mini-lesson
- 45 minute math workshop (small groups & independent practice)
- 5 minute assessment

A 75-minute math block allows for three 15-minute or four 10-minute rotations.

#### A Guided Math Schedule with 90-minute Blocks:

- 10 minute warm-up
- 15 minute whole-group mini-lesson
- 60 minute math workshop (small groups & independent practice)
- 5 minute assessment

A 90-minute math block allows for three 20-minute or four 15-minute rotations.

* What about if you only have 45 minutes to teach math?* Unfortunately, this is not an ideal length of math block, and you will most likely struggle to meet with all your small groups during that time. My suggestion would be to use the 90-minute math block schedule and extend it over two days.

**REMINDER**: Listen to that inner voice and assess whether your math lessons meet your students’ needs or whether they are causing overwhelm. It is okay to change things if they are not working and try something new. Not every year will be the same either, so be flexible and accommodating.

### Free Planning Templates

Try the Guided Math planning templates to help you organize and plan your math block. **Click the image below to grab a copy.**

## Using the Mindful Math Program as Your Guide

If you are looking for a **comprehensive math program that allows for easy differentiation** and **provides supportive lessons and activities** to support your Guided Math schedule, then Mindful Math is for you!

The **Mindful Math curriculum by Proud to be Primary** includes detailed lessons that can be broken down into whole-group mini-lessons and small-group instruction. It also has various math practice options, such as journals, warm-up task cards, practice sheets, centers and games, and assessments.

You can read more about the Mindful Math program available for Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade HERE.

**See the Mindful Math program in action here.**

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