Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Math Workshop that Works!

SMILE & Bare with me.. this is a long post...

Energy y'all. Let me just start by saying my kiddos have A LOT of it plus some to spare! This is why I've really thought long and hard about the way I am doing math this year (& have already tried multiple ways to structure it).  

(Props to Teaching My Friends for this adorable sign - The Oracle helped me find it!)

Many of my multiple structure attempts are due to this years pull out schedule and making sure kids don't miss anything (& failing semi-miserably) but also some due to other problems... Here are a few I've tried..

-Whole Group- We meet on carpet for lesson, dismiss for worktime & stations - Nope - slow workers, fast workers, kids who don't get it, kids who already do...& pull out kids miss all of work time

-half & half - 11 kids in 1 group, 12 in the other - while half work at stations I meet with other half on the carpet.  This worked pretty well - but with all of the energy and personalities in my room this year - I'm often needed to solve disagreements/problems.  We are working on this, but with it being so early on, they need me (Isn't is so nice to be needed).

PLUS Others!

Soooo.... Finally, I really sat down and thought about it...

How can I harness their energy & use it to my advantage?

What can I do to keep them moving and learning?

How can I reach all of my kids - my strugglers and my "I already got it"-ers.... 

I thought and thought and thought until I finally figured it out.... Here is my Math Workshop that Works!

We start by getting our brains warmed up with a math sprint! This week we are doing a Skip Counting by 5's sprint.  Students have 1 minute to solve as many problems as they can.  They do the same sprint each day - trying to beat their score from the following day (We switch the sprint each week).  When the 1 minute is up - they grab their hi-lighters, mark off where they ended, and check as I read out the answers.  After each problem, students who completed that problem whisper a "yes".  This way, I know when nobody got past a problem and I don't have to read any more answers.

After our sprint, I give them about 2 minutes to work on the rest of it (GREAT Practice!) while I ask my students of the day to get everything for our lesson set up.  This might be white boards, it might be manipulatives, or math journals.  

When we are all ready- it's on to a movement, skill break.  Counting by 1's, skip counting, addition or subtraction partners.  Whatever skill we are working on or need practice in.  Sometimes they practice with partners playing a "Patty Cake" -ish type of game, sometimes we do the back stroke, jumping jacks, shoulder rolls.  Pretty much anything!

They we get settled into our lesson.  I teach a skill, I let students practice 1 or 2 times, I ask them to solve 1 problem on their own and show it to me before heading off to stations, games, or other activities.  Kids who "get it" are off quickly and kids who need a little more help hang with me for some more 1-on-1 time.  (Side note - I RARELY give my kids worksheets to practice any 1 skill.  If I give them a task - it is typically multi-skilled task cards or real work problem solving tasks, rather than doing 15 problems telling me whether the number is even or odd)   This is all around 15-20 minutes

This is a time when we did a whole group activity for worktime.  Students were practicing reading numbers from expanded to standard form.  They looked at the expanded form and colored the standard form on a 120's chart and it made a picture.  I got this from The Primary Techie on TPT! 

Then it's LUNCHTIME!! Yes Peeps, lunch time.  I've found that a little break in the middle of math helps them - otherwise they lose focus and start goofing off.  

When we come back from lunch- this is a time for them to do 1 of a few things:

1- My Pull-out kids meet with me for a small group lesson (This works perfectly because they need it anyway)
2- Everyone meets with me to teach them a game or do a whole group activity using our skills.
3- They continue work they started before lunch

Here my students are playing an "Even & Odd" sort it out game.  See video below :)

Above is our ULTIMATE HOP SCOTCH!  What better way to get kids MOVING and COUNTING to 1,000 than with the biggest hopscotch they will probably ever make? Movement & skill practice?  I call that #winning.  

Then, at the very end- sometimes we will meet to review the skill, reflect on how we did as a class, or to clear up any misconceptions.  When all is said and done, we've spent 60 minutes on Math (Yep- all this in 60 minutes!)

It's a whole lot of movement and transition but it's what I've found to work with my kids this year.  They really cannot remain focused on 1 activity for more than 15-20 minutes without starting to get themselves into a bit of trouble- so I'm using their energy to my advantage- although I will admit that I am a very tired teacher at the end of the day!

1 comment:

  1. Great ideas! I too have a rowdy bunch this year and need to figure out ways to harness the energy!

    I love your hopscotch idea! I may have to try that in P.E. this year.

    What I Have Learned