When introducing a new topic to my elementary students, such as multiplying decimals, I always use guided math because it helps the content stick!

Guided math is a style of teaching where students’ level of difficulty and support shifts through the lesson. 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.

## What does a guided math lesson look like?

### The Lessons

1.  Whole Group Lesson – The entire class will be engaged in a mini-lesson that will give your students an overview of the topic where you explain the concept, model, and engage in practice together.

2. Small Group Activities – After the mini-lesson, I organize small groups for my students based on their abilities: remedial, on-level, and above level. You want to slowly increase the difficulty of the skill in each group. If you feel like a student in a lower group is mastering the concept, don’t be afraid to challenge them!

For example, when teaching multiplication patterns with decimals, my remediate group focuses on place values where they multiply a decimal by 10, 100, and 1000. The on-level group will also practice the same skill as the remediate group, but they will also add the exponent. Lastly, above level students will engage in the same activity as the on-level since this is the first lesson of the unit.

### Additional Elements

3. Centers – While I am working with students in small groups, they are working on centers. This gives them time to show what they know, but also allows them to have peer support since the topic is still new.

4. Continued Practice – Lastly, students will engage in independent practice which allows you to see what your students are capable of, and address mistakes in small groups the next day.

For example, I keep the classwork and homework pretty simple. In the multiplication patterns lesson, students in class will get a worksheet with several problems. On the side, I include some helpful notes in case they get stuck. For homework, the students will solve a few more problems, and I include an example at the top.

If you want to use guided math for your multiplying decimals unit, take a look at my ready-to-go guided math lessons here. It includes eight multiplying decimal lessons to help your students master the skill. Each lesson includes all the materials you need for guided math: the lesson plan, small group activities, independent work, homework, and an exit ticket. You can get the guided math lessons here.

## What centers can my students complete while I work with small groups?

Notebook Sorts – Multiplying decimal sorts are a great way to make notes and reference materials engaging. Students glue a chart into their notebook, solve decimal problems, and glue in the “sort” that matches. Check out the multiplying decimals notebook sort here!

Digital Practice – Google Slides and Google Forms are my favorite for centers before I can easily collect data on my students. Not to mention, Google Forms can also self-check students as they progress through the activity. I have a pre-made Google Slide and Google Form for multiplying decimals!

Math Games –  My students enjoy multiplying decimals puzzles, so it’s my go-to math game. Students match together different elements, such as an answer to an equation or building an equation. I have a Christmas, Valentine’s Day, or Winter game here!

Check out this blog post here about Adding and Subtracting Decimals!