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:
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.
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.
- 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!
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).
after practicing addition, students could choose this missing addend game from the pink/purple bucket. [game found in my print and play math games
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!