Alright, I have to post about the best thing I decided to do this year. And if we compartmentalize next year and I don’t get to do this, I’m going to cry. I’m talking about Math Workshop. Why? Because it’s simply amazing.
Over the summer, I scoured the internet for ways to make me and my kids not hate our math block. A challenge, I assumed, because it’s just hard. And most of my kids hate things that are hard. But there ARE ways to make hard things less of a chore, and more of an exciting challenge. The key is to keep things moving. A quick and steady pace, that keeps me from spending 90 minutes lecturing, and keeps my kids from spending 90 minutes in their desks, where they are tempted to kick each other the entire time.
I developed my own form of Math Workshop, called MASH up. It follows the same basic premises of most workshops, which is:
M – Math Facts
A – At Your Seat
S – See the Teacher
H – Hands-On
I’ve created the type I use in my classroom, with the black background:
And a more ink-friendly (but still bright and cheerful) version with a white background:
Now, to explain for those who are new, with pictures and explanations of how I hold kids accountable for the rotations when they are not with me!
I break my students up into 4 groups based on their ability levels and of course, I take behavior into account. (As in, who should NOT be with who, regardless of ability.) I have a high group, two medium groups, and one low group. When we start workshop after a brief whole-group lesson on the day’s learning goal, I always start my visiting with my low group first for about 15 minutes. We work on the lesson from today or review past lessons. It’s all based on their needs. I usually keep hands-on materials near me to pull out as needed.
My high group starts at their seat, since they are most able to get straight to work on the day’s lesson without my assistance. My two medium groups start at Math Facts and Hands-On.
Math Facts – My kids come to me with a variety of backgrounds. Some are experts at their math facts, some are incredibly behind. Not knowing what mixed bag I would be getting this year, I came up with a variety of math activities that would help students fine tune their multiplication facts. In 5th grade, we are all about division. In order to be successful at division, they need a healthy understanding of multiplication. So at this station, we focus on a variety of skills. We focus on multiplication facts 1-12, finding multiples, and relating multiplication to division. Some activities are independent ones, some are partner activities, and some involve the whole team. I always have the materials out with directions ahead of time, to avoid having to repeat myself over and over and over and over again.
At Your Seat – Like I said, I start with my high group at this rotation. They simply work on textbook pages from the day’s lesson. When they come to me immediately after, I am able to see if they did indeed grasp the lesson, or if I need to take time to reteach. I always remind my students about “Healthy Struggles” before workshop. They are NOT to interrupt me with my small group at any time. If they are stuck, they can struggle through it. Simple as that. Research shows that healthy struggles make STRONGER math students out of kids. Done and done.
Teacher’s Choice – Students come to me at my small group table at this time. I focus on the needs of that group. For my high group, I look over their work from At Your Seat. If they were successful, I give enrichment material from Go Math! or help them get started on homework. With my low group, I focus on using Base Ten or other hands-on materials to review the lesson. It just depends on what I’m noticing from my groups at the time.
Hands-On – At this rotation, students get a chance to use Base Ten blocks to solve problems either in their textbook, or index cards. Not all students *want* to use them. They already get it. That’s fine. It’s simply available to students who DO need them for the 15 minute block they are visiting. And of course, I let students borrow from the center as needed when they are doing seat work. Just an easy way to give all students access to manipulatives throughout the block.
So about that math facts center. You knew I mentioned a giveaway. Obviously I’m not going to leave you high and dry! I would like to offer the giveaway, posted in my TPT store here, for the first person to post here about how they intend to use math facts to enhance learning in their classroom. 🙂
Right now, the $8 super bundle (62 pages, come ON) is on sale. So even if you aren’t the first to post, you can still get it for a fantastic value. Srsly, blood, sweat, and tears went into that baby!
And just in general, if you are using math workshop in your room, I would LOVE to hear how it’s going for you! Things you love or hate? What works and what doesn’t? Let me know!