Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher: Guided Math- Chapter 6

Guided Math- Chapter 6

I absolutely LOVE math workshop! It makes math fun! My students look forward to this part of our math time. So, of course, I LOVED this chapter too!

I wrote a very comprehensive blog post about my math workshop including the schedule, activities, prep and organization. You can read it HERE. It is one of my favorite posts!

Math workshop is not a time for busy work. I once had a coworker tell me that as long as students were quiet, so that the teacher could conduct small-group instruction, it didn't much matter what the students were doing in their centers. I disagree! Classroom time is limited and it is important that teachers are providing meaningful activities for students to complete during math workshop. Sammons talks about several different types of activities that you might want to consider including in your math workshop. I was pretty excited when I realized that I was already including most of them!

Computer-Related Work: Students love technology and if you are lucky enough to have computers or i-Pads in the classroom- you have many resources available to you! My students must complete an hour of math i-Ready lessons each week during their workshop.

Math Journals: Math journals are different than a worksheet. They require students to respond to a math prompt and explain their thinking or the strategies that they used. It is a great way to get a little writing practice in during math! My students respond to a prompt each week. They are prompts that require skills we have already practiced together in guided math groups. Sammons does talk about having the teacher respond to the students' writing in their math journal. It is another opportunity to connect with the student, provide feedback and model mathematical vocabulary. I did not do this last year but will attempt to do so this year. I think it would be too daunting to respond to every student, every week. My goal will be to respond to one math group per week. This way, every student receives a response once per week. I may try and respond twice a month with my lowest math group.

Problem Solving: Students need opportunities to tackle problem solving independently. We want to teach students to persevere and experiment with a variety of strategies and manipulatives. I like to use task cards for problem solving during my math workshop. That allow me to differentiate (by assigning different sets to different groups or by assigning a different number of cards to different groups) and they give my students some spiral review. I always give task cards in math workshop that review skills that my students have had significant practice with in guided math. I also allow them to work with the other members of their group. I don't want them to feel frustrated or feel the need to interrupt my math group. I have LOTS of task card sets in my TpT store, including THIS free set!

Math Facts: It is important that students become fluent in their basic math facts. Without fluency, other skills become more difficult. Facts can be a lot of fun to practice and are perfect for math workshop because the activities are easy enough for students to work on independently or with partners. I don't like to use whole group time to practice math facts. It just doesn't seem like the best use of my teacher time. I like to give my students games to practice their facts. I am working on a blog post of lots of math fact game ideas so make sure you are following me so that you don't miss it!

Games: Games can be used to review all kinds of math skills and students love them! Often times they don't even realize just how much they are learning and practicing. I have dozens of math games in my TpT store. I also like to write Donors Choose grants for new math games from time to time.

Investigations: Sammons talks about giving students investigation based activities during math workshop. These are activities that require students to explore, question and play with math problems. They often don't have just one answer. This is something I have not done before and I was immediately inspired. I made my first set of math investigation task cards to work on graphing. I plan to teach graphing at the beginning of the year, even though the nut doesn't come until much later. I want my students to be able to graph in their data tracking folders, so we need to practice right away. These task cards give students a topic. They will create answer choices, survey their classmates and create a few graphs based not heir data. After they create the graphs, they will write a summary of their data and reflect. I think I will do a few of these whole group and then start throwing them into my math workshop once per month. The kids will love it! I have more math investigation sets in mind so stay tuned!

What activities do you include in math workshop? Do you prep every week or do the activities stay the same all month?

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