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Guided Math Classroom Management Strategies

Welcome to the final post in my three-part series all about starting guided math! Today we’re diving into classroom management strategies and tips for when you’re finally diving into a typical day of guided math.

  • In part one, I shared a daily breakdown of what your first week of guided math could look like. I broke down what your mini-lessons could look like during those first five days.
  • In part two, I shared tips and mini-lesson ideas to help you continue setting a solid foundation for guided math instruction during the first month of guided math.
Plans for the first week and first month of guided math.
In case you missed it in parts one and two, you can grab these free plans at the end of this post!

In today’s part three post, I’m sharing all about how to release control once you’re finally diving into true guided math. You know that first day where everyone is working on a different rotation and you’re meeting with a small group… it’s controlled chaos, right?

I get it! You’ve spent the last 3 weeks (or more) setting up exactly what you expect guided math to look like, and now you’re finally doing it!

Meme describing the first real day of meeting with your guided math small groups. It is controlled chaos!
Does anyone else feel like this?

Let’s talk through a few guided math classroom management strategies and some nuggets of advice to remember.

Tip One: There’s No Perfect Time

In the back of your mind, you might be thinking, are my students really ready to try a full-fledged guided math block? Are they going to be able to do it successfully? Is this going to flop?!

Remind yourself of this: You’ve spent weeks going over what guided math should look like in your classroom. If you can honestly tell yourself that you’ve been explicit in setting a solid foundation for guided math, then it’s time to give it a go.

There’s no perfect time to finally release control and let your students follow a true guided math block. Will there be things that aren’t perfect? Maybe! Will there be things that go well? I’m sure of it!

Dive in, friend. It’s time.

Tip Two: Analyze the Day

During your first few days or weeks, take time to analyze how things are going with your students. Try holding a quick 2-minute class meeting in-between rotations to discuss what went well and areas of improvement for the next rotation. You could also wait until the end of your guided math block to have a similar class meeting.

Either way, don’t skip talking with your students about how it went. This time is crucial so your entire class is on the same page about your guided math day!

Tip Three: Use Individual Rotation Charts

If you’ve followed me for any length of time, you’ve probably heard me talk about how obsessed I am with individual rotation charts. Listen, when you find something that works, YOU KEEP IT!

Editable rotation charts to help with classroom management during guided math.

In my classroom, I found meeting with three math small groups was my sweet spot, so I made three different rotation chart templates. I print a rotation chart for each student to keep easily accessible and we put it into a sheet protector. This helps students know exactly where to go during each rotation.

Also, I can customize charts for specific students, by easily swapping out one rotation for another. For example, one year I had a few students that received extra services, and I changed their third rotation to “Math Games with Mrs. XXX” – such a simple, seamless switch!

You can find these editable math rotation charts here! They’re also available for reading, too!

Free Guided Math Starter Kit

I know it would make your life so much easier if you could download this first month of guided math plans, so I’ve got it for you! In my FREE Guided Math Starter Kit, download the lesson plans, planning templates, student data tracking, and more!

In case you missed it, make sure to check out all three parts of my guided math series!

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