Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Workshop Approach to Math, Too!

For the past several years, I have taken a "workshop" approach to teaching both reading and writing. It only made sense that eventually, I would turn to a math workshop model, too! Last year was my first attempt at math workshop, and wow. I loved it, the kids loved it, and my instruction was individually tailored to meet the needs of all students. Here's what math workshop looks like:

Students were divided into 3 groups based on their chapter pretest (10 questions quick check to assess background knowledge). Every day, the procedure would be the same:

I instruct the whole group (14 students) and provide a 10 minute mini-lessons on the day's essential question/concept/skill. Next students get into their groups:
          Group 1: Sit with me at the back table, while I spend more time "reteaching" or practicing mini-lesson
          Group 2: Play a group/partner game based on the mini-lesson
          Group 3: Independently complete a worksheet/book pages based on the mini-lesson
Students spend about 12 minutes working on their assigned activity (me, game, or independent work). When the timer goes off, Group 1 goes to games, Group 2 goes to independent work, and Group 3 comes to me. Spend 12 minutes in that rotation, timer goes off, and do the switcheroo one more time. Group 1 goes to independent work, Group 2 comes to me, and Group 3 goes to games.

It's very important that students understand that in order for this approach to work the way it's intended to work, we must monitor our own behavior and practice the "right" way to do math workshop. It's a great way for math to be interactive and differentiated!

Students fully engaged in math-related games and activities:

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