Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tried it Tuesday-Math Workshop

Happy Tuesday everyone! I am home sitting in my yoga pants enjoying a snow day here in PA! This snow day has been such a blessing because I just finished my grad paper for the class I have been taking! This class has been my least favorite so far, so I am VERY thankful to have it behind me!
I'm excited to link up with Holly for Tried it Tuesday! It has been way too long since I have had the chance to link up and share what I have tried...just another bonus to an extra day off!

Those of you that have read my blog for a while know that I have started implementing a Math Workshop in my classroom this year. I have labored over the idea of a math workshop for years, but didn't know how I could fit all I needed to cover into our assigned 50 min schedule. This year I finally bit the bullet and went for it. Because of our tight schedule I am not able to do some of the activities other math workshops are able to do like Calendar math or a problem of the day, as much as I wanted to give those aspects a try I just couldn't make them instead I've come up with my own modified version of Math Workshop and I am extremely pleased with the results.
My students and I start each day with a mini-lesson. This is where I introduce the skill, we make our foldables for the unit/day, and we practice one or two problems together. This normally takes about 10-15 min. I have found when I am introducing a brand new topic (like geometry) this lesson is normally about 20 min long because of the time it takes to make the foldables...I just shorten my other times to adjust accordingly.

After our introduction my students rotate between teacher time, seat work, and hands on time. I always start with my low kids first. We continue to work on the lesson/skill for the day together. We work together on whiteboard on the floor in the front of the room. The other students know they can only bother me if they are dying or bleeding (this took a lot of training in the first few weeks of school, and a lot of reminding last week after having so many days off for Thanksgiving break.)

The students at the at your seat center will normally work on task cards at a side table. My favorite task cards to use have QR codes on them. This allows the students to check themselves. I still collect their work to check that it is complete, but it saves me a lot of time grading.

The hands on center can be anything! Sometimes I have the students create shapes, work on magic squares, Math Tic-Tac-Toe boards, or play math games that go with our skills.
I am so glad I tried a Math Workshop this year. My students are improving, and it is allowing me to support my low kids, while I stretch my high kiddos! It's a win-win for me and my students.

What have you tried recently?


  1. I'm on snow day #4 mostly because of icy roads and I'm ready to get back to school! I love your workshop set up! It looks like it's going great!

    Keep Calm and Hoot On

  2. I too started math workshop this year! I love how much I get to individualize instruction for each student! I have 4 rotations but was thinking about scaling back to 3. How long does each rotation last?
    A Tall Drink of Water

  3. I love reading about other teacher's math workshop I feel as though I am always learning something new-thanks so much for sharing your structure! I agree that it is the best way for me to be able to reach my low kiddos and still stretch my kiddos and can't imagine going back to the way I used to do it now.

    Learning to the Core

  4. I could barely read past the snow day sentence - I was so jealous. But I did. I am trying a math workshop format this year too - but it is not running super smooth...yet. We are doing the 3D solid skeletons tomorrow - only we are using gum drops instead of marshmallows this year!

  5. I had to chuckle at your "bleeding or dying" comment. I say the same thing. Sometimes I wear a funny headband or hat so they know I'm unavailable. It definitely works. I feel fortunate that I have such a long math block. I switched it to first thing in the morning and have found that I have better results because of this. I love that you sit on the floor. We do too!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  6. I wanted to try math workshop this year too if I was still teaching math. It is so true that the students need reminders about the "bleeding or dying"! LOL. Everything is an emergency to them! Thanks for linking up. I loved reading about how math workshop is working for you.
    I am hoping for a snow day tomorrow or Thursday. We are getting up to 18" of snow by Thursday but that won't be enough if it doesn't hit at the right time and it has to be BLOWING!! :)
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  7. I am so jealous of the snow day... is that bad? Maybe I shouldn't wish for that here in GA- everything shuts down around here! I'm so glad to hear Math Workshop is going well for you! You know I love it! :)

  8. I'm glad you enjoyed the snow day. It looks like math workshop is working out. I planned on trying it out this year, until I found out I am not teaching math. There is a chance of a schedule change next year though. If so, I am going to give it a try.

    Thank you!
    Fit to be Fourth

  9. We have done math workshop in my class this year, too, and I agree--it's great! I'm co-teaching this year, which means I have 25 kids and 4 groups. Since there are 2 of us teachers, the kiddos see both of us each day. One for more support with the lesson of the day, and the other for a problem of the day and I guess "seat work" guidance. The other 2 stations are for review games of skills that have been taught already. It's SO much better than whole group math lessons!

    The 4th Grade Journey