Math Workshop has truly become one of my favorite times of day. When I first started math workshop, I had NO idea what I was doing but read a ton of research on the importance in making this shift in math instruction and haven’t looked back. With the Common Core Standards, we as teachers cannot simply rely on teaching students just a formula to answer math problems anymore. As we know, students learn concepts at different paces and having math workshop in your classroom allows you to meet the needs of each and every learner.
What is Math Workshop?
Math Workshop is a method in which teachers assess students and group them according to their proficiency level. Groups will change depending on the topic/skill. I give a quick pretest before major topics are taught to be able to adequately group students.
•Each student receives small group instruction, followed by independent work time.
•Allows for students to be rotated/moved to different groups by lesson or unit.
•Students are engaged at all times in mathematics practice and concepts are reinforced daily in stations.
•Students are motivated by the rotation, and manage themselves with little need for teacher interruption.
What does Math Workshop look like?
Math Workshop consists of a problem of the day, a mini lesson, four rotations, (Math Facts, At Your Seat, Teacher’s Choice, and Hands On) and a wrap up/exit ticket.
Before the Mini-Lesson
We often start off Math Workshop with a problem of the day or a math warm up to get our brains ready for our lesson. The problem of the day is projected on the whiteboard and students complete the problem in their math journal or on a personal whiteboard. These problems are open ended questions and are created from the Common Core Standards. Our math warm ups are quick ways to get kids thinking and talking about numbers.
A: At Your Seat
At this center, one of the most important things I learned was to review the skill/standard from the PREVIOUS day’s lesson(s). Since a group of students go to this rotation first, it is important that this rotation is used as a review. Students would not know how to complete the assignment since they have not yet been taught by you! (I learned this the hard way!) Some things students do in this rotation are worksheets, journaling, completing task cards, and independent centers.
- You don’t need to change often.
- Students know routines and can get started quickly and independently.
- Are much less time consuming for you and allows you more time spent planning quality small group lessons.
- Don’t require a ton (or any!) paperwork.
When planning the lesson:
- Determine big ideas (based on student needs and standards!)
- Decide what students need to learn and do to be successful.
- Use assessment information. (informative and formative)
- Choose specific teaching points for each group
- Prepare differentiated lessons; gather materials.