Saturday, May 5, 2012

Math Workshop

Math workshop is awesome! Seriously, you could not get me to teach any other way. Students get their individual needs met while learning to work independently and having more time with manipulatives and math games. Below I've highlighted some of the workshop systems that I have tried or plan to try. I have found that even when you come across a super idea, if you don't adjust the system for your classroom and students, it can be a flop.

This is the system I used when I first kicked off math workshop. You can read more about this by clicking on the title above. Basically, I split the students into 4 groups based on ability, determined by their performance on the unit pre-test. The students then rotated as a group between 4 stations every time I rung my transition bell. Every group got to every station, every day. The stations I had set up in my room were: guided math with me, games, independent work, and technology (when students got to this station they split and half went to computers one day and played a Promethean game the next). The game and independent work stations had bins color-coded by group. Each group had differentiated games and independent work in their bins.

I read about this math workshop method from the title link above and I switched my math workshop to resemble this soon after. I kept many ideas from the site above but change it slightly. In my classroom BUILD stands for:

Students are able to choose their own stations. Every time I ring the bell, I call the group I need to meet with and everyone else is free to choose a new station. I am HUGE on accountability since I have many students who have perfected looking busy while not actually getting work done. I have sign-in sheets for every station around the room, close to where each station is located, and students must sign-in before they start the station. The sign-in sheets have only a certain amount of columns, so students can only go to that center a certain amount of times a week. For example, the literacy center only has two columns, so students can only visit there twice a week; but the independent work sheet has five columns, so students could visit that station every day if they needed to. I give my students a BUILD packet at the beginning of the week and they have all week to get it done. They can go to independent math as many times as necessary to finish the packet by Friday.

The above link is my current inspiration for math workshop next year.  I really like the idea of having students work through 9 stations over a two week period. I also like the idea of the calendar component. I've always liked calendar, but I didn't really know how to make it work in my 3rd grade class. The consistent, weekly review of essential skills will definitely benefit my students. I am kind of a nerd when it comes to planning, this is what I've created so far to keep track of my ideas for next year. (This closely resembles the system set up by The Creative Apple in the title link above.)

Please leave any of your comments about how you do math workshop below. Let me know if you have a link or blog post you would like me to add. Thanks!


  1. Wow thanks for the excellent informative post on math workshop. I actually teach 7th grade and am would like to try a workshop approach in my classroom next year, but I just can find resources to help me wrap my brain around how to do this with 7th graders in a 60 min class period. You have given me lots of food for thought. TFS

  2. I'm your newest follower, and would just like to say THANK YOU! I've been toying with the idea of using a workshop approach to math, and thanks to you I feel like it's much more doable now! Thanks again! Stop by and check out my blog sometime:

  3. Excellent idea.Thanks for your post.I am a maths teacher i teach students in interesting ways.Recently i adopted a new way of teaching that is teaching through online classes it created interest in students.This new method of teaching has brought much change in students.

  4. This is the best post I have found on Math Workshop in a LOOOONG time....thank you so much! I am planning to start next week and was still unsure about all the organization of everything. Thanks so much.
    Thinking of Teaching

  5. This is great! I was excited to find the MathLearnNC because I hadn't seen it. I have been using another part of their site that has great common core resources. Just google North Caroling Common Core Unpacking Standards and here's the link to it:

  6. Hi Adrienne,
    Over Christmas break I am trying to redo my math workshop. I use Daily 5 for literacy and have great success with my first graders. I was wondering if you have heard of DAILY 5 Math? I am thinking about starting it or waiting to start next year. I have 29 students and no para's or help. Right now I assess the kids before the unit and group them by their needs. What isn't working is the sizes of my groups. I have 8-10 kids in each group! Rotations: Group 1 (low) Teacher, Independent work, then math games. Group 2 (medium) Math games, Teacher, Independent work. Group 3 (high) Independent work, games, Teacher (for any questions or I will give this group an extension for challenge).
    I am having a hard time figuring out how to make more groups and noise level. Any ideas?