Guided Math Instruction for Lines and Rays in 4th Grade

When you think about effective teaching, you probably think about differentiated instruction and building on knowledge. My favorite way to use these effective strategies is through guided math. Let’s dive right into talking about Lines and Rays. If you are looking for ideas about division, check out this blog post here!

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Guided math is a style of teaching where students’ level of difficulty and support shifts through the lesson. Typically, as students move through the content and the lesson, the difficulty will increase and the support will decrease. However, student’s aren’t left there struggling. Differentiated small groups are used to support students, so that they are ready for more challenging content.

In this blog, I want to show you how I used guided math to teach my fourth grade students about lines and rays.

Whole Group Instruction

Students start the lesson in a whole group format. During the whole group, the teacher uses lots of modeling and think alouds to introduce the skill. The teacher will work through a few examples for students on the board. You want to limit this whole group instruction to 10-15 minutes.

Lines and Rays Lesson Plans
Lines and Rays Lesson Plans

For example, you may start your unit on lines and rays by going over key vocabulary and demonstrating what a point, line, and ray are. You would draw several examples on the board, while modeling and thinking aloud how you know what each line segment is. Example: “Here I have a line. I don’t see any points on this line. I know it is a line because it extends out on both sides.”

Small Group

Small groups are an essential part of guided math. Small groups should be planned and organized by the type of learner you will be working with. For example, you may want to work with struggling learners who need more assistance with the concept. You would then re-teach or reinforce the skill from your whole group lesson in this small group with students.

These guided math groups may look like having lower level students practice identifying lines and rays with a teacher, while above level students are creating their own examples.

Small Group Activities
Small Group Activities

Classwork

After you have modeled the concept through a whole group and differentiated instruction through a small group, it’s time to see where your students are at! During this independent classwork time, you are collecting formative assessment data on your students. In other words, you get to truly see what students know about lines and rays! This will help you determine what your next step in the geometry unit will be.

If you notice students’ struggling, however, don’t just leave them hanging. Show them where they can find support (such as an anchor chart or example in their journal). You can also review this independent practice with students or even review it during your next guided math group.

Lines and Rays Classwork Example
Lines and Rays Classwork Example

Homework

Homework can sound like a punishment for students, but really – it’s an opportunity for students to continue practicing. Don’t feel like you have to send home pages of homework. Instead, pick a few problems you would like students to practice. 

Lines and Rays Homework Examples
Lines and Rays Homework Examples

Want to use guided math during your lines and rays unit? I have a lines and rays guided unit all ready to go! This unit includes five lessons and an assessment. Each lesson includes a lesson plan, mini-lessons, small groups guide (for remediation, on-level, and above level), lesson notes, classwork, homework, and more! Everything is ready for you, so all you have to do it teach 🙂 Grab the guided math unit here!