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Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Trimester Checkpoint - Incentives and Boosters

Next Friday marks the end of the first trimester for my school.  It seems like I blinked and poof it was November!  We are just around the corner from Thanksgiving and then just a hop, skip and jump away from winter break!

Typically each year I do a refresher on Guided Math rules and routines when I get back from winter break.  However, this year I am finding that my kids need a refresher now.  I can't wait until January.  If you find your students starting to wander and not following the charted routines that you set at the beginning of the year, take a break from math groups to spend time to go over your expectations.  You will be grateful in the long run.

As a PBIS internal coach, if there is one thing I have learned, it is that students need reteaching boosters.  Every once in a while you need to do a climate check, see what areas need attention and create a booster to remind students of rules and expectations.

Next week I will spend the whole week reviewing the rules and routines of the card and game station. My plan is to first teach math whole class. Then I will spend the time after the lesson to create a chart of student behaviors and to practice those expectations/routines.  Just like I did at the beginning of the year.

Don't be afraid to create an incentive for the students.  Especially since the pre-holiday, can't wait until winter break craziness is about to begin soon.  One idea is to create a goal that students can work towards.  For example, students can earn points for demonstrating expectations.  For each round of guided math they can earn one point.  We have four rounds in our day, which means they can earn four points a day.  Set a goal as to how many points they need to earn to get a reward.
Do you  have an idea for a guided math incentive system or an idea for an easy whole class reward?  I'd love to hear from you.  Leave a comment below with your ideas!

I also want to give a shout out to Hilary from Rockin Teacher Materials.  She wrote a blog post here on how she took the plunge into Guided Math.  I love how Hilary took the idea and made it work for her.  As I find myself always saying, you need to make it work for you and your classroom.   Check out her blog post for some ideas and inspiration!
Happy Saturday!


  1. Hello! I just found your site and am very interested in getting guided math started in my classroom. I have a wide variance of ability levels within my students and this seems like a great way to differenciate my instruction. Do you teach a whole group lesson first, then have one station work on that lesson and then rotate to you? How does it work? Thank you for the amazing website!

  2. Hi Kimberly! Ideally I would like to do a mini-lesson first but because I have a split with two math curriculums, it is not possible. I teach what I need to cover when I meet them in their group. At the top click on the getting started and stations tab. That will give you a good overview as to how I do it. The main idea though is to find a way to make it work for you. Some only do three stations or maybe only sometimes two. Let me know if you have more questions when getting started, I'd be more than happy to help!

  3. Thanks for the shout out Mary! I took some pics of how I organized for my guided math, so I will be writing another post soon...I'll probably reference you again! You Rock! Thanks again!

    Rockin' Teacher Materials

  4. I love your blog! Thanks! I am working adding stations to Math and ELA/Writing this year. It's a little nutty for me because my teamie and I decided to use our writing time for Science/Social Studies as well...just trying to get everything in that needs to be taught. Thanks for all your knowledge and encouragement regarding Guided Math and Math stations. I am thrilled with my group of students this year because 47.6% exceeded on our achievement test last year. I must keep them challenged! Your blog is an immense help! God bless you!!


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