Monday, 20 July 2015

Math workshop - schedule plus freebie

I have done Guided Reading workshops and run Language Arts centers in my classroom for years, but until three years ago I had never thought of applying these ideas to Math.  But what better place to meet with small groups of students!  In my opinion the benefits of teaching Math to a few students at close range is even more beneficial than with LA.  There are so many ways that students construct wrong ways of doing things in Math and small groups offer the best opportunity to either nip these in the bud or avoid them altogether, since the students are much more likely to be giving their full attention in this more intimate setting.

I am fortunate to have a large bank of time for Math.  Although I am only teaching 3 days/week, I am only teaching LA, Math, and Art, so I can schedule 90 minutes each day for Math.

Our Math time breaks down like this:
10 minutes - Math facts review with a partner 
20 minutes -  Meet together at the carpet for group instruction.  During this time I introduce new concepts or review what we have been working on, give them the rundown on the individual work they'll be doing that day, and do a quick spiral review of concepts.  I made a set of cards (grade 2) for these.  If you'd like a set for free click HERE.  I cut them into individual months, mounted them on construction paper, laminated them, and put them onto a ring that I hang on my Math wall for easy access.
20 minutes - Individual seat work and marking.  (Click HERE to see how Math is marked in my classroom.  There's a freebie in this post, too.)
30 minutes - Math centers
10 minutes - Math writing

I meet with my small groups during the last hour of the Math block, starting with the group that needs the most help.  Then I work through the other groups.  I don't have time for every group, every day, but I will have met with the first group three times and usually at least twice with the others.

When I first got started using Math workshops I tried rotating the various activities in 20 minute blocks, like I do for Language Arts.  One group does seat work, while others are at centers, working on Math facts, doing Math journals or meeting with me.  I set up a rotation board for the different groups and we did our Math block this way for several months, but I wasn't really satisfied that this was the best set up for me.
To begin with I often forgot to set my timer so they would rotate.  (This wasn't really a major objection and could've been overcome by setting a timer on my phone.) 
More concerning was that the activity the students were doing didn't always fit neatly into a 20 minute time slot.  Math facts usually need less - by the time 10 minutes was up they were ready to move on and often got distracted when it went longer.  Their seat work sometimes took longer, sometimes less, depending on the students' Math abilities, so I'd have to make extra papers for the fast finishers to do each day, and the students who were struggling didn't get finished.  Math centers definitely needed more time.  Often they would be part way through a center without having recorded their work and time would be up.  This was very frustrating for them and for me.  Also the reason I forgot to send them on to their next rotation was usually that I needed more time with the group I was working with.
So I decided that they would all do their seat work, centers, and writing at the same time (except the ones who were working with me).  The only challenge that this presented was that I needed more options for centers, which will the topic for the next time I post about Math.
I am linking up with Third Grade Doodles for Math Workshop Monday.  To see more ideas for Math workshop click HERE.   She's got a great Giveaway going today.

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