Thursday, July 5, 2012

Math Workshop: Hands On Independent Learning

So excited about cohosting Chapter 6 in our Guided Math book study! Don't forget to check out Mechele at Barrow's Hodgepodge who is hosting it with me!

In Chapter 6, Laney gave some components of math workshop and some examples. After reading it, I happily found I use a lot of these in my room! I decided to make a table (yep, I love them!) to show how I use them in my room.

Where I Use ItHow I Use It
Review of  Previously Mastered ConceptsMath Workstations My math workstations are a great spiral review for students! As the year goes on, I try to keep units that we've learned in their stations so students can continuously work on them.
Math Fact Automaticity

Team Meeting, Math WorkstationsThese are easy and great to place in a workstation. I also use them while students are waiting for me to start our Team Meeting. They just grab a box of flashcards and work with their math partner on them.
Math Games

Math Workstations,
Current Even,
Team Meeting,
Mini Lesson,
I try to make math fun, so we use games all throughout the day. Once they have learned it in a mini lesson or Team Meeting, they are ready for me to add it to their independent practice in Current Event or Workstations.
Problem Solving Practice

Math Workstations,
Mini Lesson
I do a Problem of the Week which you can find more out about HERE.
Math Journals

Mini LessonI have students keep all their notes from our mini lessons in their math journals. They carry them with them all throughout math and can reference them any time. We also do a lot of closing activities that require a math write.
Computer UseMath WorkstationsI love using the computers! One workstation is always designated as the computer. One program I love to use is Xtra Math. It's great for fact automaticity and provides the teacher with weekly progress graphs for students. Best of all ITS FREE!

Now when I first read this book a few years ago, I loved the ideas Laney presented but HOW DID YOU RUN A WORKSHOP!!?!?!?! I have tried many different approaches, but last year I felt I had finally found one that worked for me! So if you are STILL wondering HOW, here's what I do! :) Please review my other Math Workshop posts, as they'll give you a better idea of my framework. Below will focus on what students do while you are in your meeting.

Just a refresher, in my room, I do 3 rotations. Team Meeting is with me, and Current Event and Workstations are independent.

Again, here is how my student's rotate through stations.

Rotation #WorkstationsCurrent EventTeam Meeting
1Lions (bubble)Giraffes (high)elephants (developing)
2Giraffes (high)Elephants(developing)Lions (bubble)
3Elephants (developing)Lions (bubble)Giraffes (high)
Sometimes I will switch the developing and bubble groups just to keep things different. I always meet with my high group last however, and my bubble (average) and developing (low) first so that when they go onto other activities they understand what to do.

So, what do students do while you are in a Team Meeting (a meeting with a small group)?

Just like Debbie Dillers book, I use activities that are review. Whether it's reviewing a concept from 5 weeks ago, to a concept taught yesterday, these stations are geared towards activities they understand and can practice independently. I have games, math books we've read aloud, and manipulatives. All of the activities are things I have already taught. There's nothing worse than hearing, "I don't know what to do!!" (although let's be honest, there's still times that I hear that!!)

 How I organize my math stations (I have about 10)
How students know which station to go to. The orange number is the workstation. 2-3 students can go to one station per day. I move the orange numbers at the end of every day. I try not to change stations until each student has rotated through, so that means I like the station to stay there for at least 2 weeks or more.


First off, all my math workstations have a menu.
As I teach new games that fall under that unit math station, I'll add it to the list. I also draw pictures next to it, showing the materials needed. It also helps remind them what game it is, and all the resources they will need to be successful with the activity. I keep this menu in a page protector, and write the menu with sharpie. That way it doesn't rub off, but can be removed completely with a little nail polish remover! Easy for when I need to change the station or pull out a game! I also velcro this inside one of those colored buckets you see above. Students can then pull it off to read it, and velcro it back when they clean up. That way it doesn't get lost!

Inside the colored bucket, I put a large folder with the number of the station.

Inside the folder I place games in ziploc baggies and page protectors. I always label them with the game name that corresponds with the menu.

In this particular game you'll see all the materials inside the page protector. Oh and you see that colored dot? My 3 groups also have a dot associated with them, so for some games, I differentiate them with a colored dot. This game is blue for my lower students, and contains math cards that are easier facts. I could put a red dot on for example, and then use the SAME game, but include challenging math cards for my higher students. Cool right?

One thing I am super big on is MATH TALK. I try to make sure every math station has a talking bubble.
Students use the talking bubble as a sentence stem to help them learn the vocabulary. You should hear them in my room! They love these things! If a station doesn't have one, they'll beg me for one. Again I always teach the stem before I put it in a station. Even my lower readers were able to recognize words since they practiced so much- talk about awesome for when they encounter these vocabulary words on quizzes! Win Win!! I'll tell you these are my FAVORITE thing to use. If you take anything away from this post... PLEASE try these. I learned about them from Debbie Diller in Math Workstations. She has a lot of great sentence stems.

Math workstations can be anything! Sometimes I'll include worksheets that correspond with a game so they can show accountability.

How do you assess students?
This is definitely a work in progress! If a station has work shown, they'll turn it in to me. Sometimes I'll have them come up and show me what they worked on during transition time. I also grade them on cooperation and participation.


 In this station, I make sure to have one activity the whole class is expected to finish. This can be an art project(sooo fun!), worksheet, game, poster, anything!! I usually explain the current event int he last few minutes of my minilesson so students know how to do this. I also ALWAYS check in with this group while my team meeting buddies are using the flashcards. This allows me to answer any last minute questions or give some quick feedback. I make sure the activity can be completed within 20 minutes (or I'll extend it to the next day.

This is an example of a fun current event project we did for place value. My mini lesson was on creating one of these as a class (which is pictured below! my students turned out MUCH more detailed products), my small groups that day were using whiteboards to make sure they new how to do expanded form, place value form, and written form for a number. We might have played a game that day practicing different ways to write a number.
In this project students were given a baggie with a random number of popsicle sticks and beans. They could use all of them or just a few. (They could only use 1-9 of each item). They then had a paper sheet of 4 hundreds to choose how many they wanted. I had ducks, hearts, flowers, houses, all kinds of creative pictures! Once they created their picture, they counted their hundreds tens and ones and showed the different ways to write the number.

What if students don't finish?
I always leave time at the end of the day for this. If it's still not finished they will be expected to take it home, or it will become a 0 for their grade for that day.

What if students finish early?
If its a game, they play again and again.
If its a project they can make another one.
Our math program comes with beautiful colored workbooks. Since I make up most of my activities, I don't use the worksheets from our workbooks very often. I always start out the year telling students they can do ANY page they want when they finish their current event, as long as they know HOW. They get really excited about it, especially when it's something they learned last year and still remember. Can you believe it, students getting excited about their workbooks? It's possible! Since we viewed them in a 'fun light', they'd even want to do these during free time! Crazy right?

What if students have questions while you're in a meeting?
I always teach my students to ask their partner first, then ask someone in their group, then if NO ONE could answer it they were to write me a note. They could drop it off to me while I was in group. I could read it when I was ready and get back to them.

What if students are messing around?
Okay, I give NO warnings. If they mess around or argue with each other ONE TIME, they pack up their things and become my shadow. That means they have to come sit in on our team meeting, not participate,  but listen. I learned this in Debbie Diller's book. Usually they grow bored and don't want to come back again. I feel like this helps me not interrupt my group to address the problem, AND they are learning math in the process of shadowing. I really push this the first few weeks, and to be honest, I didn't have a lot of off task behavior this year. They wanted to be in stations, not shadowing me.

I'm also linking up with Ms. Alley's Second Grade! Lots of great math ideas going around! :)

Okay wow this was LOOOOONG. I hope this was helpful. Please leave any questions, suggestions, exclamations! :)


Julie Sawyer said...

GREAT addition to the discussion! This is such a good book study; it's making me reflect so much on things I've been doing and what I want to improve.
Will one of you be adding a linky?

Math is Elementary

Mechele said...

Great Post! I really liked your current events work stations. I may need to add that to my math workstations.
Barrow's Hodgepodge

Storie said...

Thank you for hosting Chapter 6. I just finished my post. I would LOVE to hear more about your current event projects & ideas.
Stories by Storie

Halle said...

Thanks for stopping by our blog, and thank you for the book recommendation!

We're so excited to be your newest followers :)

Halle & Jenna
Across the Hall in 2nd

Sue said...

Thank you for hosting Chapter 6. You have some great suggestions.

The Very Busy Kindergarten

Unknown said...

Great ideas & thank you for posting!
One question: For your math workstations, for instance, do you have say a "Numbers & operations" binder where the math workstations are kept & they take that to their seat & play the games. Or where do you store the math station games when they are not playing them. Organization is always my weakness.

Amanda said...

So this year, I have put all of my math workstations in a binder FOR ME. That way I can just flip to what I need, pull it out and put it in a mathstation. When students get a station, they pull one of those colored buckets off the shelf and take it somewhere in the classroom. I organize my materials inside a folder. On one side might be worksheets that go with the activity, then the other will have a plastic protector with a game and all the pieces inside. You can see how I organized one of the games up above. :) Hope that helps, please let me know if you have any other questions. I love talking math! :)

Unknown said...

Thanks Amanda! I might work on the binder idea & see how that works - my files are overflowing with workstations I have made the past year.

Anonymous said...

Great blog, I'm your newest follower. Please check out my blog if you have time. Calling Plays in the 2nd grade.


nikki8 said...

Your posts about guided math are helping me so much. So glad you are posting these.

irrational number said...

Maths worksheets have selected question and facing them improve our solving skills. In my opinion your designed maths worksheets are best option for kids.

Learning with Mrs. Brinn said...

Hi Amanda, I looked for your email address to leave you a message about embedding a doc. I left it after your response. I haven't read this book before and it looks good!

The Hands-On Teacher said...

Thanks for finding my blog and leaving the comments! I really had A BLAST at that concert! :)

Glad you stopped I can follow you!

The Hands-On Teacher in First!

Learning in Wonderland said...

Wow! I've been thinking of starting up math stations in class. I love the overview of how you do your math time. I'm passing two awards to you. Come by and pick them up when you get a chance:)

Angi Manalli said...

I NEED to read this book. Our grade-level team tried to get guided math up and running this year just based on some ideas people have passed on to us. It didn't work out as well as it probably could have.

I'm a new follower and have given you an award!

★ First-Graders from Outer Space ★

abby said...

Thanks for linking up! I love the idea of a menu and the current event!!


Farrah Kilgo said...

What an awesome explanation of how you organize math workshop. It answered my questions perfectly. I really appreciate your long post and taking the time to explain how you do things.


Michelle Griffo said...

Oh my goodness. You are very organized and I wish I could teach math like this! I need to re-read this post and start doing it in my classroom! Thank you for sharing! :)

Michelle :)

I am your newest follower!
Apples and ABC's

Unknown said...

I just found your blog and LOVE it! I am working on doing guided math for the first time next year and everything you have posted has been very helpful in the organization of it! I gave you in award if you want to stop by my blog and pick it up!

Teaching Chick

Confessions of a Teaching Junkie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog this week! I am your newest follower.

Confessions of a Teaching Junkie
Find me on Facebook
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