I still learn each and everyday, that some things may work for your class and some things might not. There is no right way or wrong way to Guided Math, you have to do what works for you and your students; modify, accommodate, and support your needs. My hopes are that this website will help guide you towards the right direction and make the task of starting seem less daunting.
As a child I truly struggled with math. I HATED math, couldn't understand it, was never good at it. Oddly, now that I am a teacher, math is one of my favorite subjects to teach.
I started my teaching career teaching splits. I did a 1/2 split for two years followed by a 2/3 split for two years. The first year I taught I nearly had a breakdown. I was running back and forth between two grades. Teach a mini lesson to one group, get them working on their independent practice, run over the other grade, teach them, get them settled, go back to the other group, help them, run back to the other group. It was back and forth for over an hour. It was exhausting!
When I knew I was going back to a 1/2 split the next year, in 2003, I had to search for a different, more effective way to teach math. After searching the internet I came across some teachers talking about math groups. Just a little mention of meeting kids in groups, no information, no guidance, just two little words; math groups. At the time there were no professional development books for Guided Math. I took that little singular idea, the two words I read and made it into what I do today.
Even when I moved to a singular grade, I couldn't go back to teaching math whole group. The benefits of meeting with small groups are numerous. I really get to see if each student is understanding the lesson each day. Students cannot hide amongst the crowd. In a small group I am able to very quickly pick up on who gets it and who doesn't. My groups can be tailored to needs and I can do as basic or as challenging of a review/lesson.
I find that today my practice is still evolving. I do what I feel is best for my students. I use the basic structure of math stations but work it so my students are receiving the support they need.