Saturday, September 1, 2012

Math Workshop

First full week of school complete!  I wasn't sure I or the kiddos were going to make it those last couple of hours, but we did. 

We're starting to get into full academic swing now.  As I mentioned in my Monday Made It post, I'm trying out Math Workshop this year.

I'm really excited and nervous about it.  We switch classes for math, but we don't have the same kiddos all year.  We've divided the curriculum into six parts.  The first we do with out homeroom kids at the beginning of the year, the second we do with a leveled group.  Then, we each take one of the remaining four parts and teach it four times, once to each leveled group.  It works out to having each group for just over a month.  One group I'll have twice (first and last rotation).  I love getting to really focus in on one part of the curriculum so that I can develop awesome lessons, but the rotating kids makes establishing routines difficult.

I decided to spend time this week really getting down math workshop with my homeroom kiddos while still getting through what I need to in order to be ready for our first rotation.  Since I'll have some of them in each math group, I hope that their knowledge of my routines will help others learn them faster.

We did two full rounds of math workshop this week, one on Monday/Tuesday and one on Wednesday/Thursday.  Each day, students did two rotations.  On the first day of the round, I did a short whole class lesson first and on the second day, I gave a short quiz at the end.   Friday was the test for the topic.

My plan is to continue with that basic schedule, except when we do investigations or longer problems that take a whole math class.

What I'm Loving:
  • Meeting with every kiddo in a small group.  I don't think there was any point last year that I had such a good idea of where individual students are as I do now.
  • Quote from a (somewhat difficult) kiddo on day two: "Are we doing math workshop again today?"  Me: "Yes we are."  Kiddo: "Yes!" (complete with celebratory arm gesture)
  • I'm actually fitting in automaticity practice.
  • The quick quizzes have shown me holes in their understanding and knowledge that can be so easy to correct once I know they're there.  On the first quiz almost everyone missed "What is the value of the underlined digit?" questions.  The next day, I taught them what the question asked.  They almost all got it right the next time!

  • Math took almost an hour and a half every day this week.  Once we start rotating, I get an hour.
  • I haven't found time to correct their At-Your-Seat work.  I'm worried their practicing incorrectly and that they don't feel accountable for it.
  • Of course there are those trouble makers who aren't actually working when they aren't at my small group.
  • I want to spend more small group time with my struggling kiddos, but since it is a rotation, if I don't keep the time of each one equal, they aren't all getting to do everything.  Maybe I need to make it more workshop-like. Hmmm...
  • This week, our pacing was one lesson per day, so I did two lessons per rotation.  Next week, we're doing two or three lessons per day.  I'm not sure how to fit all of that in!

Even though my challenge list has more items than the things I'm loving list, the ones on the things I'm loving list are so important to me and make me feel like I am doing the best for the kiddos.  All of the challenges are things I can play around with to try to work out.

How do you structure your math time? Have you figured out how to deal with any of my challenges?


  1. My first week of school starts this Tuesday. For the first week I just plan on teaching students my math center routine and expectations. Rather than pull small groups during that time I'm just going to monitor them at their centers to make sure they are doing what they are supppose to. That will provide me with some important time to also talk with students individually and observe where they are. It sounds like you have some awesome routines in place for math. I can't wait to read more!

    Fourth Grade Garden

    1. I'm really wishing I had started with just the routines during my first week (which was only 3 days) instead of trying to implement it at the same time as starting the curriculum. I think I'll be planning it this week so that I can do some more monitoring the other stations rather than being just with small group.

      Thanks for stopping by!