For the past three days, I have had the great opportunity of attending a workshop on CGI (Cognitive Guided Instruction) with a focus on fractions. All I can say is that it was unbelievably amazing. So, let me back up for a second and give you a quick summary of how my math instruction has evolved over the course of my teaching career.

When I first started teaching, my math instruction was guided by a textbook (insert eye rolling here). It was simple, I taught while my students listened (or seemed to), and then they were sent off to solve problems similar to the ones I had presented. Very fast mathematicians, would be ‘done’ quickly, while my struggling mathematicians seemed helpless or lost. So more work was given to the ‘proficient’ ones, while I spent most of my time assisting those who needed help. Can you relate?

Students creating a race course using fractions |

A couple of years later, fueled by my frustration of how my math instruction was going I decided to do something to revamp math. What I was doing was just N O T W O R K I N G. I read, learned and moved to a workshop model (you can read about it here). I loved it, and it was working both for me and my kids. I had time to meet with each group, there were different activities addressing diverse math needs, and I could clearly see growth (assessments here and there).

So, this current school year I moved to a new school who strongly believes and practices CGI Math. While I had attended a couple of CGI workshops in the past, the idea of actually teaching ‘this way’ seemed completely foreign to me. And let’s be honest here for a second: What I was doing was working and therefore there was no need to mess things up (or so I thought). As this school year started and with it my new job, I was very hesitant of how ‘teaching’ this way was going to work. And YES! I questioned and had my doubts.

Fast forward 7 months and what a different perspective I have about teaching math. Below is a chart of me pre-CGI and me at the CGI stage. However, I do want to emphasize that CGI can be done while still doing the workshop model.

CGI math is not ‘a teaching strategy’ but rather a way of looking at math instruction differently – where your students really GUIDE your instruction. There is much more to CGI than what I am sharing here on this post. As I continue to learn, I will share my journey here.

Here are a few examples of the amazing work my students are doing with fractions:

Happy teaching. How do you teach math?

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