Sunday, January 5, 2014

Math Workshop Structure

Hello! After a looooooong break, I'm back! It has certainly been a trying year so far. Everyone warns you about your first year teaching. They really need to be warning you about your second year! I made it to Christmas Break, so I figure I can make it through the 2nd half of the year. Let's hope!
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Hippie graffiti in my cubbies. Atleast it was something nice :)

Math Workshop
Anyways, enough of the negativity! We've completely rebooted our math block at school. At the beginning of the year, we started with  Math Workshop. Whew! It is A LOT of work. However, after seeing my students in action and seeing their growth, I cannot fathom how we taught whole class. It's really scary to think about my low kids getting skipped over and my high kids just sailing last year. Math Workshop solves all of those problems!

Grouping
Students take a pretest before we start a new topic.Generally, my students take their post assessments topics on the same day as their next pre-assessments.

Based on their pretest performance, I create my 4 beginning groups. Students are NOT stuck in those groups. Groups and students are moved around as needed, based on observations/classwork. Sometimes I even move students in the middle of our Teacher Time!

Schedule
We are lucky to have 90 minutes in our block! Therefore, we get to be more flexible in our timing.

5 minutes: Students check their homework and complete their spiral warm-up. 
15 minutes: Mini-lesson - I must admit, it took me a while to get a handle on the mini-lesson. It's short! And I felt like I had a lot of information to give. However, I've gotten more used to it. Sometimes we watch a BrainPop video, or sing a song. It's a whole class lesson, shrank down to just the necessities. 
60 minutes: Group Rotations - students spend 15 minutes in each station. 
10 minutes: Closure/Exit Slip - Class discussion or formative assessment.

Stations

Independent Work: Students work on their own on daily classwork. This reflects on the mini-lesson/teacher time work.


Group Work: This changes its structure quite frequently. It can be a game, task cards, an activity, or a project. Students can work in partners or with their entire group of 4.


Vocabulary: This started as a strictly vocabulary station. Pictionary, Frayer Models, and other vocabulary development activities were completed. Now, it has evolved into writing/vocabulary. Last week, my students wrote letters to martians teaching them about Adding and Subtracting Fractions. Talk about funny! They have all week to complete the assignment.

Teacher Time: This is when I really get to work with my students. I get to see where they are on each topic and give them the specific help that they need. I reteach, allow student to practice, correct misconceptions, and more!
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Math Workshop is different in every classroom. I've already seen the benefits in my classroom on our benchmark tests! It's so worth every second of extra planning.

Stay Tuned: Next week - Math Workshop Management!

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