It seems that we all give our language arts block lots of attention and time and it seems that often math is something that happens very quickly in a large group setting.
So what if we gave math the same degree of attention in planning and time as we do reading, writing, centers….?
The biggest hurdle seems to be in the setting it up and managing the workshop time.
So here are some of our tips to manage and operate Math Workshop:
1. Start off with a mini lesson.
*The lesson follows a predictable pattern.
*Connect*Repeat the same words for each part of the workshop every day.
*Keep it short and sweet, like 10 minutes sweet.
2. After the mini lesson we move to our math centers. I run 5 centers:
*Number and Algebraic Thinking
*Number and Operations
Each week we plan a “Have-To” activity for each of these 5 areas.
What is a “Have-To”?
*Something that everyone has to do.
*A review of previously taught standards.
*An activity that they have done something similar in the past.
*It is NEVER a new teach, only a review.
Here’s how they rotate with their “family” or group. One area each day. We use plastic shoe box tube 6o store the “have to” centers—one set for literacy and one set for math.
When they are done with the “have-to” then, they chose from the “can-dos”.
What is a “can-do”?
*Songs Books. (I have made a lot of Shari Sloane’s School is Cool songs and Get Ready into little music books.) I put a cd pocket on the back and burn just that song onto the cd. So it’s like a listening center of math music.
*Math Books. I pull all the math books out of my collection and divide it into 5 tubs. That makes a tub for each of the 5 areas.
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*Games that have been taught.
We store the “can-dos” in these 3 drawer stacks. There is one of them in each of the 5 areas to hold the choices.
While the kids are working in their centers, I pull small group.
*I pull children from each of the center areas to come to my table.
*I look at what standard I am teaching, then group the children according to where they are on that particular standard.
*So…these groups are fluid…constantly changing depending on what standard I am teaching.
*This is where the new learning occurs.
*It may reinforce what you did in your mini lesson or be an activity for a different standard in the same strand.
My friend Michele and I decided to write units for each month to help us with our small groups. We wanted to be sure that we could do one activity and just modify it to meet the needs of all of our kids. LESS WORK! We finished two units this summer because we knew that we would be busy with the beginning of the year.
UPDATE: We did finish all of the units this year!
3. Share Time. Here is where we come back to the carpet to review what we did that day during math. It is also the time when I build my anchor charts to review what we did in our mini lesson.