I'm linking up with Ideas by Jivey again for Workshop Wednesday! Head over to her linky to read about getting your Reading, Writing and Math Workshops off the ground!
As is with any workshop, there is no hard format for a math workshop. The idea is similar to a reading workshop though as you begin with whole group then move to small group and then back to whole group. That small group time is pretty flexible and I've done different things with different groups of kids based on their needs. With classes that have high needs, I've used a guided math approach. I found this model to be the most challenging to manage and the most time consuming to plan.
The beauty of a math workshop is that you can adapt a more scripted program to fit the workshop model very easily. For the first ten years I taught, my school used Everyday Math. I'd begin with the Math Message, then teach the whole group lesson, transition into independent and partner practice and then use the whole group time to review and reflect. This process worked just as well this year when we began using the Envisions Math program from Pearson.
So...what are the students DOING during that small group portion of math workshop? Will the students move to different groups? What do they do when they are finished with their assignments? What do they do if they need help? These are the things you need to think about before starting your workshop. Here are my personal preferences:
What are the students doing? Students work on the textbook assignment for the day. I highlight the numbers and the pages on the SMARTboard. My students complete the work in their math notebooks. I model throughout the first month of school how I want them to show their work in their notebooks.
Will the students move to different groups? In my class, they move. I use the some means of assessment to determine the groups. In the beginning of the year, I'll use the beginning of year assessment and my observations. In the middle of the year, I'll use diagnostic tests and topic tests for groupings. These groups are fluid, so the students may come in and out of a group during a topic, but for the most part, I'll work with the students with the highest need during the workshop.
What do they do when they are finished with their assignments? I am a big fan of task cards. I keep a baggie of task cards in each table bin for students to use when they are finished with their assignments. The routine for task cards is SO simple and it is very easy to check student work. I've found that returning a completed answer sheet with a little treat attached keeps students motivated to work on the cards until they are finished. It's important that students understand that "finished early work" is still work!
This is a set of 15 different task cards aligned to Fifth Grade Common Core Standards. I'm still working on this set, so it will definitely grow!
Lemonade Stand Project.
Another option for finished early work is math centers. Some programs come with math centers (but I didn't care for the ones I've received...shhhh!), so you might consider making your own. I like to use all three -- task cards, projects, and centers -- to keep things fresh and interesting. You can use math centers to spiral your review. I have big plans for creating math centers based on fourth grade common core....if I can find a good chunk of time to get focused!
What do students do if they need help? This is important. Students, especially in the upper elementary grades, need to have the self awareness to know when they need help. In my classroom, I designate a few students as "experts." If a student is not in my guided group, then they can go to one of these experts to ask for some help. To make life easier for me, I designate an expert at each table so students who need help do not have to go far. Then the rule in my room is that they must ask an expert for help. They cannot come to me unless an expert can't help them.
Whew. That was a lot! I can't believe my 2 year old is still napping!!! :-)
Here is a quickie form version of all the questions I posed above. You can grab it from Google Drive as a pdf!
And if you haven't already, be sure to check out my Pin It To Win It....ending tomorrow!