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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Beginnings of Math Workshop {with Freebies for YOU!}

Attention all: I feel like I am on the verge of something good. Something really, really good. But before I get into that, let's start back at the beginning of my story:

When I heard the words math workshop, I immediately thought No, thank you.  Please, not another thing my first graders have to work at for weeks and weeks in order to become independent.  But then I took a step back and thought about how incredibly frustrated I have been teaching math lately.  Whole group is really not working.  Like, super not working.  The kids who already get it are off in outer space (more than they usually are), while my struggling kids start to drown mid-lesson and tune me out.  No one is benefitting.  Grouchy teacher is grouchy.  Something needs to change.

So the more I thought about it, the more this whole math workshop thing sounded like a good idea.  We already do readers workshop, and math workshop builds off of the same structure and routine.  By implementing them both at the beginning of the year, students should (somewhat) quickly become accustomed to the routines and expectations.

Fast forward some weeks later and here I am, the first grade facilitator for the research and implementation of math workshop.  Pause to be in awe of my fantastic responsibilities.  I am working with one second grade teacher and two third grade teachers in my building to plan professional development for the rest of our staff.  Today was our first work day and we got a lot accomplished!

Here is a picture of me reading up on math workshop this morning:

Okay, confession: That's not me. That's my cat, Jingles, reading up on her masters classes.

HERE is what we have actually been reading.  The top book is the group's favorite (and, in my opinion, the most user-friendly).


Either of these two books are a great place to start if you are considering math workshop for your classroom.  Today we worked on developing a common language for math workshop and looking at different ways teachers could begin to set it up. 

Enter: my math workshop rotation board.  Which I invite you to download, for free!


I also developed a sample of what the first few weeks of math workshop could look like in an elementary classroom.  This sheet will be passed out at our PD meeting and teachers can tweak it to their liking.  It is also yours, for free :)


Some resources I am looking at to supplement my centers/independent work:


In summary (if you're still with me after all that rambling), I am now SO pumped up for math workshop.  Stay tuned for more!

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