Use this guided math activity for any math skill
I have a fun, engaging guided math activity that you can use for any math skill to share with you today. Guided math used to be the bane of my existence. It was really hard for me to sit down with a small group of students and work on the skill with them. I loved guided reading (if you want to read more about guided reading, click here), but I had a hard time with guided math. The biggest problem I had was how to start guided math.
A Great Guided Math Warm-Up
In guided reading, I used a guided reading warm-up. I created a game to play with every group with all phonics skills and even sight words. My students knew to expect it and they all really liked the game actually, which made it even better. I finally thought to myself, “I can totally use this game in guided math as well.” Once I started using this game in guided math as a warm-up activity, it really helped me start my groups. My own confidence grew, as well as my students. Having a plan of action within the first five minutes of groups really helped me ease into our group.
The Importance of the first 5 minutes
What I have learned about the first 5 minutes of a small group lesson is that the first 5 minutes can make or break your group. I personally get a lot of steam from that first few minutes of a guided group. If I’m spending the first five minutes getting everyone situated, reminding them to be quiet, and preparing my lesson, then nothing great is going to happen in that small group time. By having the same activity every day, I finally felt that I could get us moving forward. I felt confident and my students felt more confident.
So, What Is This Great Activity?
What a great question! This activity is a fun game called Pop The Balloon! If you’ve been following me for awhile, you know I love this game. For your group, you would pick a skill they are working on. For this example, we will say students are working on missing addends within 5. You would hand each student a card. Your students will begin at the bottom bubble and work their way to the top, saying the answer quietly to themselves. When they reach the top after doing all the bubbles/problems, they clap and say “POP!” (my students created that rule!). Then, they may put their card in the pile and grab a new card (I keep the pile in the middle of the table).
What Am I Doing While They’re Playing?
While my students are playing this game, I am going around the table listening, helping, and teaching, just like I would in guided reading. Sometimes I take some anecdotal notes in my guided math notebook. I will write down the problems they are working on and their thought process (if they were saying their thinking out loud). This helps me to teach them with the rest of the group.
What If They Get The Answer Wrong?
I get this question a lot. My answer is always, “What do you do when they get an answer wrong any other time?” That’s a great teaching opportunity. They aren’t always going to get every answer correct on these cards. These cards are to practice and build mastery. They should not already have these skills mastered unless you are using them for review.
Want To See More?
If you’re interested in seeing Pop the Balloon: Math Edition, click here.