I'm most excited about guided math in the classroom because it "offers teachers an alternative to the standard whole-class instructional model so frequently used for mathematics instruction" (p. 245). I think it could be changed to say "for all instruction." Also, I agree that the type of deep, conceptual learning that guided math encourages, as Sammons points out, is difficult to imagine within the confines of traditional (whole-class) teaching.
As a teacher of ELLs, I cannot agree more with Sammons that math is closely linked to both thinking and language. Thinking is especially important, because I think at times teachers take for granted that their students are prepared and understand how to think mathematically. This goes right in hand with teaching students and modeling the use of mathematical language. The use of this language needs to be both oral and in written forms.
The value of the guided math framework for the 21st century teacher (although I'm sure that there are many advantages to this model) lies in Routman's (2003) assertion that "teaching within an effective instructional framework, with a clear focus, and an intimate knowledge of the students' learning needs, a teacher can actually do more instruction, more effectively, in less time" (p. 249). As we move forward, more and more demands are placed on teachers and students and the time they have together. The opportunity to provide better instruction in less time should not and cannot be ignored.
Sammons closes the chapter and the book in a most inspirational way. She first stresses the value of establishing positive learning relationships with your students (an integral part of my teaching philosophy), suggesting that these relationships will encourage students to take academic risks. Finally, she states that the guided math framework only comes to its true fruition when implemented in individual teachers' classrooms, each implementation a bit different from the rest, in a way that is best for that teacher and her students. I can't wait to discover what the guided math framework will look like in my classroom (especially with that new, mysterious Investigations curriculum)!!!
Thanks so much to all of you that joined me in this awesome book study! :-)