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Guided Math - Conferring with Students

Can you believe we're already on Chapter 7?! 
Conferring with Students During Guided Math

Our wonderful hosts for this chapter are two of my favorite bloggers
Beth at Thinking of Teaching & Colleen at Patton's Patch

If you haven't over there & read their thoughts on Chapter 7!

Thinking of Teaching 


I think conferring is probably the one at which I am the weakest. While I do individual conferences in both reading & writing, I have never really done conferences in math. 
So here are my reflections & AHA! moments:

When we use what we've learned from conferring with our students, our instruction becomes more focused & powerful. 

First & foremost-- we've got to train our kiddos what to do if they need help while we're in conference. They need to know exactly what to do if a problem comes up. In my classroom, we do "Ask 3 Before Me". I also allow my kiddos to work together with their tablemates to complete work if needed. I also place students very carefully making sure everyone who needs help is sitting by someone who knows how to help without just giving answers. I highlighted this line that points out the importance of not being interrupted: "The value of the conference with the student far outweighs the on-the-run direction a teacher may be able to give if interrupted during a conference" (p.209).

  • My initial conferences can be with kiddos who are having a hard time getting started.  Why didn't I think of that? That will really help make things run more smoothly! We all know who those kiddos are who need that support.
  • Criss-crossing across the room for conferences can help with management! I usually popped table to table making my way across the room. I can definitely see how moving from one end to the other can help with managment. Adding this to my list of little tweaks I'm doing next year.
  • The structure of conferences looks just like my reading & writing conferences:
  1. Check student's work for understanding.
  2. Decide what is needed: Give a genuine compliment, then teach what is needed to move the student forward.
  3. Teach to student needs. This might be guided practice, a demonstration, or referring to one of the anchor charts in the room.

How are you planning to keep records of conferences?
I like to have something I can pick up & take with me. I also like to keep the notes for each kiddo all together like a running commentary. I've tried using post-its & even stickers which I then was supposed to put on each kiddo's individual sheet...but I found out I'm really bad about moving them to the individual sheet in a timely manner.

This year, I think I'm going to use a 3-prong folder, add a sheet for each kiddo (along with a little label so I can flip to the right place quickly). That way, it's portable, user-friendly, & I can add sheets of paper wherever & whenever I need to. 

Last call for questions for Laney Sammons!

After reading this chapter, do you have more questions for the author? I've added a couple to the list for her.
Make sure you add yours to the list! Just click the question mark.

Have you taken the survey yet? I'm just taking a temperature reading of how everyone is feeling about implementing guided math in the classroom next year. It's a super quick survey.
Thanks for adding your input!!  


  1. Thanks for linking up, and of course for organizing this whole thing!!!

    I love seeing all the different ways to organize conference logs. Don't know exactly what I'll end up with, but the folder with brads could definitely work...

    Colleen Patton
    Mrs. Patton’s Patch

    1. I know what you mean...I won't really know if this works for me until I get into the throes of actually using it!

  2. Thanks for all the great ideas! Im hoping to implement guided math in my classroom next year. I have a Grade One/Two split class, so I'm hoping this framework will allow me to help/reach/challenge all of my students.

    Adventures in Primary Education

    1. I'm happy to hear you're excited about implementing guided math! I think this framework is PERFECT for multi-age classrooms!

  3. Brenda,
    Thanks again for organizing this great book study. I've never really done any professional reading on math and I must say if all the books are as good as this one, then I am hooked! I have really enjoyed being a part of your book study.
    Thinking of Teaching

    1. I'm so glad you are enjoying the book! Thanks to you for participating in the book study!