I can’t even believe we are in the last few days of February and looking ahead to March. I had to specifically plan a weekend of doing NOTHING because life has been so crazy. School, as usual, has been super demanding, but I am really enjoying teaching math and science! I started my year with whole group teach, but have moved into math workshop as many days a week as possible. Not only do the kids like it more, but it keeps me sane as well. The behavior is so much better and I get to challenge each kiddo individually.
I had no idea where to get started, so I read TONS of blogs. Wonderful teachers sharing their experiences and procedures for math workshop got me thinking of what would work for us. I ended up purchasing a guided math/math workshop product from Clutter-Free Classroom, and although I don’t use nearly as much as she included, it was a great idea generator!
I decided to go with the word “MATH” for my rotations, and I think it works really well. M: Math Facts, A: At Your Seat, T: Teacher Choice, H: Hands On. This works in my classroom and the kiddos are now pretty independent moving along on their own.
**A few weeks ago I got sick and lost my voice and got really nervous.. until I
realized my kiddos can facilitate their math rotations almost on their
own! I had to switch my “teacher choice” station a little, but it was
I began doing 4 VERY short rotations every day, because I was trying to keep up with my team. I thought it was BETTER, but deep down I knew it needed to change. We were starting our day at 7:50, and we have specials at 8:45, so with getting started, explaining the hands on activity, waiting on kids to get organized, and giving any announcements, I was seeing kids for about 10 minutes. It wasn’t enough. Some days I never got to my 4th group for the sake of getting in a little science. So, I started doing two days of the “same” rotations. This means I get to see each group for 20 minutes, two groups the first day, two the second. It is less stress on me AND the kiddos. It also gives me so much more rich time with my low babies so I can really reinforce the skills. AND with my higher ones, I get to challenge them and see where they take it!
Here is a picture of what I simplified my workshop board to look like. I originally had the whole board and rotation cards on the bulletin board to the right, but was changing the groups so often it was easier for me to use a PPT version. I now keep just this on my white board. The “MATH” cards on the right display the activities for each station and what they might need to bring when they come see me at my teacher table! It works so well for my class.
My Hands On station lives at the back corner of my room and is organized into bins. This is the easiest way for me to differentiate because the team numbers that are shown on the board are also on the bins- telling each team what to work on! I try to make it some type of manipulative activity whenever possible, or at least task cards to keep this from being another worksheet type station. (They have “At Your Seat” for that!)
I was able to make my bulletin board into a really exciting place to display Xtra Math certificates! They do Xtra Math each time they go to “Math Facts” and get really pumped when they get lots in a row! As of yesterday I had two kids FLY through multiplication, and have now started division. AND the certificates have tripled since I took this pic! SCORE!
Our school uses Schoology, so the kiddos can submit their answers for the questions that I assign for the “At Your Seat” station. They are now more accountable for their questions because they go into my “Math Workshop” folder on Schoology, watch the video I posted for the day, and submit their answers to 4-5 questions related to the skill. If they get some wrong, they have a 2nd attempt to fix their answers, and I get to do a quick check on my end of Schoology, then meet with the ones who missed questions!
It is certainly organized chaos in my classroom during Math Workshop- but I don’t think I will ever go back to whole group math lessons day in and day out. I usually do Mon-Tues, Wed-Thurs and it works BEAUTIFULLY!
For me, Math Workshop is ever changing. How do you utilize small groups and centers for math? I always love learning new ways to try things out! Comment to share or ask questions.
Thanks for reading!