Guided Reading and Guided Math Essentials

This year I have put a lot of  time and effort into orchestrating guided reading and guided math.  I have 24 kids {moment of silence for me please} so it has taken reworking, retweaking, {wait, what was that?} and a couple come to Jesus sessions for us to get it just right.  Now that we are in the second half of the year…by one day we have tipped into the second half of the year….I am beginning to see the benefits of my efforts.  *Sometimes excluding full moon Fridays.*

One new area of our guided math rotations has been incorporating a math journal.  My students were slow to appreciate this new en devour, but now they LOVE it! {seriously!!!!}
Last week:

 We have spent the last two weeks on 2D and 3D shapes.  Pictured activities came from my Winter Math Journal Packet and our Jam Packed January Math Centers.  Want to hear something amazing?  My kids actually want to put their recording sheets from their math tubs into their journal now.  I know, right?  I may have suggested it and then gone overboard praising one of my students for doing it.  Now it is the NEW THING! {These two resources cover many standards and are by no means limited to shapes/geometry}

 I was able to find some really great children’s lit on 2D and 3D shapes this Summer on amazon so I integrated that into our lessons both in the whole group time. I placed a book in a math tub with the task of having students find and graph how many of each shape they could find in the book. 

 Shari Sloane’s game pictured above on the left was a big hit!  I just took plain blocks and put colored dots on them for the shape dice.  Students used the shape that corresponded to the color.  They would say blue rhombus and take the pattern block to place on their game board.

Next week, we will take our knowledge of the 2D shapes into dividng shapes equally, symmetrically, and into halves and quarters.  Along with that, we will practice fair shares.  While students can partition shapes relatively easily, partitioning numbers can be more challenging.   If you take a circle and divide it in half.  You can also take the number 8 and divide it in half.  Using manipulatives will help students see how to cut a number of objects in half for fair shares. They can begin to relate the two concepts together, and anchor a deeper understanding of division for the future.

The geo board tub below will have students creating a shape they find in this book Ship Shape.  They will create the shape with a plain tan rubber band.  Then they will take a colored rubber band to show the line of symmetry or a way to divide the shape into halves or quarters.  {my teamie had this brilliant idea!!}

February Math Centers have begun to make an appearance in our math tubs for next week.  I have new math centers in the works for February as well.

Guided Reading is not a new concept in our room, but what is new to me is having to juggle 24 students!  I want to ensure that my students are getting what they need during their precious time at the guided reading table.  In order to meet with my students and also provide RTI enrichment and intervention, I have to be WELL PREPARED.  It’s not easy y’all.  I get so stressed with data meetings because I want my students to have every chance to succeed.  The reality is that I have 24 students that need support in their own way.  I have an hour and a half to service 24 students 5 days a week.  Some require a 15 minute session all to themselves.  This is REALITY.  Stocking my guided reading tub with all the necessary components is a must!

Here’s what I have in my guided reading tub:

I will show you what I have in my tub now a little more in depth.
First off, I recently got Kristen’s Guided Reading Made Easy Packet.  This packet is perfect for my firsties that are just on grade level or are one level below the targeted benchmark.  This packet of hers has helped us focus on sight words and vocab that will be in our little reader that week.  Once we master those words, and can read the familiar text with fluency and understanding, we take on the comprehension activities that she included. Awesome!
I like to incorporate literacy activities in my small group time when applicable because time is precious and I want to see certain groups take on new literacy concepts right when they are ready for them.  We will do these activities from my Puppy Love Packet slowly over the next two to three weeks.  Concepts include: main idea and details, plurals, long vowel silent e, past present and future verb tense, adjectives, fact vs. fiction,  and reading response pages

To see how I manage and track sight words you can read this post.  But this week I will use the popcorn activity which only consists of your sight words on cards in a popcorn container.   We pop the words out of our mouth each day.  {We will focus on our 5 words of the week} If we are able to pop them out we place them in the second popcorn container.  If we need more practice we keep that word or words out of the container and review it until it pops.

The decodable books we use are from an old reading series of yesteryear.  Reading A-Z  has some too so I sometimes pull from there as well.  They are great for kids that struggle with reading and spelling.  It’s a way to really allow that decoding practice and use of the new sound spelling of the week. Click below to see The Bee and the Flea.  Our spelling pattern is EE and EA next week if you couldn’t guess! 🙂


Then my students record the words they find and we also add to the list!
Click to download if you need this.


Our word work also hits on our spelling sound pattern of the week.  My students have 5 different activities each week.

These come from my Word Work Packs when I have the time to make them.  If not, we pull from many other resources to be sure our word work is targeted to our current objective.


 The leveled readers are the main stay in my guided reading tub.  These are used for familiar reads, instructional reading, and take home books.

Finally, the phonics flip books are a life saver for helping me with repetition and review.  Students need to see and hear the sounds and letters many times before becoming fluent or automatic.  This is a quick and easy way to get that in there.  From these books I can anchor sounds, spelling, and chunks to help them in their reading and writing all day!


 I hope this helps to fill in a couple little spots in your guided reading and guided math arsenal! 

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  1. I know what you mean about some students needing individual time. I am the kindergarten Title I teacher for our school, and I often think if I could have one student at a time and work on exactly what they need. Their time with me is the only intervention they get during the day. Instead I have 6-7 students at a time, and they are all at different levels. I have to take students by class rather than their needs. Thanks for sharing your ideas.

  2. Thanks so much for sharing all of this great information! I love reading your blog! Could you share your your schedule of guided reading groups? I am STRUGGLING to meet with all of my kids. Also, do you have a separate time to teach your class whole group instruction for literacy or do you weave everything into guided reading time? Thanks so much for always sharing great ideas!

  3. I teach 4th grade, but I have a few kiddos who are working at a lower level (shocking right?). Anyway, I use your daily flip books and I can't say enough about them! The pictures really helped a few of mine to visualize better! Just wanted to say thank you!

  4. I really appreciate your ideas. I am going to print this off to use as a reference (thank you!). Your organizational ideas are perfect! I have 26 Kinders in my morning session and 27 in the afternoon. So I know first hand the STRESS of meeting their needs and time constraints.

  5. I have 23 kindergarten kiddos, and I totally understand trying to meet all their individual needs in a very tight schedule. Our curriculum dictates our schedule and does not actually allow for guided reading (though I might sneak it in, shhh). I love your flip books and have them on my wish list. I hope to get to chance to meet you in Vegas this summer!

    A Very Curious Class

  6. Thanks for sharing! Small group reading/centers time can be time-consuming to plan for, but it's my (and my students') favorite time of the day. Improving my math centers is a personal goal of mine for the rest of the year, so I appreciate reading your ideas!