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Math Workshop in First Grade!

I wanted to take some time today to share what my math block looks like!

I use the workshop model in reading, writing, and math and it is a model that I truly love. It fosters independence and allows me plenty of time to get to my guided groups without all the hustle and bustle (and confusion) of rotating centers.

The overall outline of my math workshop looks like this:
          • [5 minutes] Warm Up
          • [10 minutes] Whole Group Lesson (explicit teaching)
          • [5-10 minutes] Guided Practice
          • [20-30 minutes] Math Tubs
          • [2-3 minutes] Closure

Any model you choose to do in your classroom requires practice and stamina and believe me, I've tried quite a few, but workshop is most certainly my favorite. It works for me and my first grade students! I thought I would share a bit about each section of math workshop and what it looks like in my room:
This is generally short and is a FUN way for us to get our brains ready for math! This can be a great time to review a skill we've already learned, get some practice on what we are learning now, or challenge ourselves with some critical thinking practice! I wrote a whole post about my favorite math warm ups [here], but I will highlight a few of my favorites.

Students stand in a circle and practice counting. Each game has a rule for buzz. For instance, the buzz may be multiples of 5. So each student goes around saying a number, but if their turn is a multiple of 5 they must say BUZZ instead! If they do this correctly, the person after them must sit down. If a student messes up or doesn't know the next number, they sit down. The last person standing wins!
{1, 2, 3, 4, BUZZ, 6, 7, 8, 9, BUZZ}

You can do this while skip counting as well!

Make 11:
This is a simple partner game where students face one another with their hands behind their back. On the count of 3, they throw out any combination of their fingers and together, with their partner, they try to make 11. They do this over and over for 5 minutes seeing how many times they can do it.

Fix it Cards:
Generally once a skill has been taught already, I will use a fix-it card as a warm up for review! 

Here is what they look like:
These are great to throw under the projector and have students EXPLAIN their thinking and not only identify what is wrong, but also how they could fix it. Listening to their explanations really lets me see what they have learned and if they need to review certain skills.

You can find fix it cards for every math subject HERE!

After our quick warm up, I begin our whole group lesson.

This is where I explicitly teach and model the skill we will be learning!
As the teacher, I am the driving force of this portion. This is where I will be as clear as I can when teaching the skill at hand.

I will:
- Stand (or sit) where every student can see me
- Model with concrete examples
- Think aloud throughout my process
- Explain common misconceptions
- Model the activity we will be completing during guided practice

During this portion of the lesson, my students are given the opportunity to practice what they have just learned. During this time, I generally have students pair up or work in groups to practice what has just been taught/shown in my modeled lesson. As the teacher, it is my main job to go group to group to help guide my students. 

This is where I take many observational notes on which students may need re-teaching (or extension) of this skill during small groups. My students also know I am available to help answer any questions about the activity and clear up any confusion!
I will often pose guiding questions to my students and try to listen in on their math conversations!

[activity above from my Number Sense unit, HERE]

During this portion of the lesson, students are working with a partner or by themselves on games and/or activities that they already know how to play and have been taught before. This gives me the time to focus on my small groups.
This portion can be the trickiest in terms of student management, but if you set your clear expectations and stick with it, your students will often surprise you and you'll get a good chunk of time to focus on small groups!

This is how I run math tubs:
My math tubs are numbered 1-8 and then I have 4 colored buckets underneath.
There are often 2 activities inside each numbered tub correlating to the same skill. Each tub has all the materials needed to play the game or complete the activity.
The colored bins underneath each have 1 activity in them with the materials needed.

I often pair up my students during this time based on ability level and they keep those partners for a couple weeks or until they need to be switched!

I will simply tell them:
"Student A and Student B, you can work from bin 5 today and then choose purple or pink"

That will look like this:
Let's pretend bin 5 has addition activities within 20 because that's what student A and student B need some practice with! So inside the bin it will have:
 A hands on, addition activity [free, here]

and a print and play board game practicing addition within 12. [math game, HERE]

My students will work on both those activities together until they are completed. If they would like to, they can play both or one of the games again! It's up to them. However, once those are completed, they can choose to go onto the purple or pink bucket which has a third activity (not necessarily addition related and usually a review OR extension activity). 

For example:
after practicing addition, students could choose this missing addend game from the pink/purple bucket. [game found HERE]

It isn't that often that my students make it to a third activity during their time, but it does allow them the opportunity to play a new game if our math tubs time is not over.

This system allows me to know exactly what skills my students are working on that day/week and let's this time be geared towards their needs.


My students know those are their only options during that time UNLESS I have stated otherwise!

I will often use our technology during this time as well and will allow students to play school approved math games online or on the iPad when specified.

Also, each month students receive a mini-book of story problems and instead of choosing a colored bucket, I will ask that students go back to their seats and complete some pages from their booklet:
[story problems, found HERE]

While my students are having ALL that fun. I am pulling small groups to either re-teach the lesson from the day, review a lesson taught previously, or challenge and offer extensions of the skills we have learned! The materials I use to complete all those are often the same as in our math tubs with some minor differentiation and ME, of course, to explicitly guide and teach. If I am offering extension, I love to have my students work on higher order thinking questions.

[higher order math tasks HERE]

After we clean up, but before we move onto the next subject, I like to provide some closure to our lesson. 

- I may pose a question to the class that I already asked during our main lesson and have students share their answer with a partner while I walk around and listen. 

- I may have a student share a lightbulb moment I witnessed during the math block and we will all cheer for him/her!

- I may ask one student in each group to "be the teacher"  and explain to their peers what the lesson was today.

Whatever it is, it's generally quick and to the point!

Here is an example of what a number sense lesson looks like in my room:

So there you have it, that's how I run math workshop in my first grade classroom! Do you use math workshop in your class? What does it look like for you? Any tips or tricks you can share to help it run smoothly? Share them with me in the comments!

Looking for lessons and materials to run math workshop in your room?! I have ALL the warm ups, detailed lessons, hands on activities, centers, games shown above, and MORE ready for you in one, easy bundled unit! This curriculum will last you the ENTIRE year!

You can check them it out by clicking the image below:

Pin it:

Read Aloud Lessons and Response Sheets!

I just wanted to stop by real quick the share a BIG update I made to my read aloud lesson unit!

Last year, I came out with one-page read aloud lessons for 64 of my favorite picture books! Well, last week I went back in and added both a  reading response sheet and a writing response sheet to!

It was 130 added pages and I am excited to share that these pages will help you extend your lessons with your students and provide opportunities to check learning individually. Also, these help extend lessons for a substitute teacher!

So if you already own this unit, please re-download so you have access to the extra pages!

If you want to see more and try a FREE lesson, click below:

Math Centers for the WHOLE YEAR!

I am always interested in what other teachers are doing over in their classrooms around the world?! What does their mini lesson look like? What does their guided practice look like? What about small groups?!

I thought I would share today what my centers look like and when I use them!

We do math workshop in my classroom. So we begin with a quick warm up (blog post here) and then I teach our focus lesson (10 minutes) in which I explicitly teach and model what we will be learning. After that we go to guided practice, where my students will spend about 5-10 minutes practicing that skill with my guidance and support and observation.

The next 30 minutes is spent with my students completing math tubs, working on story problems, using technology or meeting with me in small groups!

Every single day I have students working from my math tubs:
Inside each math tub is EITHER my one of my seasonal math centers which I am about to walk you through, or a print and play partner game. The print and play games are all black and white and only require dice, paperclips, cubes and a pencil to play. You can see more about those HERE.

Today, I wanted to share with you what my colorful, laminated centers look like!

These seasonal math centers are fun and easy to implement as they scaffold and get more difficult throughout the year. They also spiral so some of the centers throughout the year will review previously taught concepts. Each month has 6 math centers. Three of those centers are always the same format to make life easier for you and your students!

There is ALWAYS:
- A story problem mini-booklet
- A solve the room activity
- 3 whole group graphing/survey questions
- 3 separate centers which get more difficult as the year goes on

 We start in September with Apple math:
Students practice basic addition and subtraction within 10, number sense and beginning story problems.

In October, we are all about pumpkins:
This month we focus on making 10, addition and subtraction within 20, and more than/less than problems.

November brings around all the turkeys:
We practice different ways to make a number, ordering and comparing numbers 1-120, fact families, and 3 digit addition!

We can't do December without a little Santa Claus:
With Santa math, students practice 10 more/10 less, making 20, place value, and money!

After the holidays, we get back to it with snowman math:
In January, we focus on skip counting (with higher numbers), we review comparing and ordering numbers, and practice nonstandard measurement.

When February hits, we are onto Valentine Math:
This month students practice place value and expanded form, adding/subtracting 10, using true or false statements to compare numbers, and time to the half hour.

In March, it's all about rainbows, gold, and leprechauns:
In March, my kids review comparing 2 digit numbers, practice double digit addition (without regrouping), solve missing number equations with number bonds, and work on geometry.

April brings bunnies and eggs:
In April, my students review place value and expanded form, they complete number sentences with +, -, =, <, >, they balance equations, and practice fractions.

In May we camp out with camping math:
This month students kick it up a notch and practice identifying 2 digit numbers many different ways, they complete missing addends within 2 digit addition and subtraction problems, they review time, and practice graphing and data.

Lastly, in June my kids work on Summer math:
These centers help prepare them for 2nd grade as they play all sorts of games that review all the topics we learned so far this year!

I made each and every center so that it aligns to the CCSS for first grade math (and I added in money). If you think these centers might be for you, take a look at them by clicking the image below:

Free Halloween Math Games!

Fun fact about me: I was born and raised in Salem, Massachusetts. For those that don't know, that is the home of the witches! I grew up in an area of town called Witchcraft Heights. Halloween is a BIG deal here and we loveeeee to have some Halloween fun in school.

I thought I would take some time to share a few FREE math games for your young students with a Halloween twist! It is important to note that all these games can be used all year round and with other themes - just switch out the manipulatives! 

That being said, I saw a bunch of Halloween manipulatives over at Oriental Trading that would make these games spooky and seasonal and I got SO excited! I used them to make 3 number sense games of varying difficulty for you to use!

Here are the 3 games included:
Stamp the most - this is a simple counting game that has students identifying different ways to make numbers and racing to reach 20 first!

Take them - another fun counting/comparing game that has students taking and putting back manipulatives until they are all gone. Then, students compare how many they each have. Whoever has the most wins!

Place value pumpkins - This game is a little more difficult as students add 2 dice, collect the straws, and then group them into groups of 10 and leftovers. Students continue until all straws are gone and then compare the two numbers and play again!
**For a non-seasonal version, you can play with Dixie cups (I included a sheet with cups instead of pumpkins)**

You can get all the Halloween manipulatives seen above over at Oriental Trading!

If you'd like a closer look at any of these games, just click HERE to see more!

*Disclaimer:  This post contains information about products that were sent to me by Oriental Trading for review.  Regardless of this, I picked out the items and all opinions in this post are 100% my own opinion.
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