Math Workshop Success and a Blogger Meet Up!

Hi everyone!
I'm happy to report that, all in all, today was a huge success. 

I have three classes of math. 
All three classes were an overall success!  I only had to send one group back to their seats during the "Hands On" time of rotations.  That's only one out of twelve.  Pretty good.

I'd like to tell you a little about it (and this is for YOU, Tara). 

I'm basically going to explain one of my classes.  Essentially, I "do" the same thing with all three classes.

7:50~ Students enter my room and get out their homework and their "Math 4 Today". 

Have you heard of Math 4 Today?  If not, here is the blurb from Amazon:
"A comprehensive, yet easy-to-use supplement to any second- through fourth-grade math curriculum. Twenty-four essential skills are reviewed during a four-day period and evaluated. Great practice for standardized tests!"

I like that it spirals.  I can introduce skills early in the year that I might not cover until the spring.  It takes very little time.  The students complete four questions a day.

8:00~We go over Math 4 Today. 
Today, I took a few minutes reminding the students about where they needed to go when during Math Workshop.  Take a look at how I had the students write their "schedule" onto the back page of their math notebooks:
So, using the math rotations board, seen below, this student is in group 4 and her rotation is
1. Hands On
2. Math Facts/Calendar Math
3. Teacher Time
4. At Your Seat
(By the way, if you haven't checked out Tara's board at TpT, you need to do so!  It's so bright and cheerful. 

8:00-9:00 ~15 minute rotations~
I usually have students bring their homework to my small group table with them when they come.  As they are checking their homework (with a pen), I am walking around the room making sure that every student is doing what they are needing to do. 

Once I know that everyone is in his or her correct location, I return to the small group table and begin my lesson.  My lessons are always a day ahead of what they are doing during "At Your Seat" independent work. 
For example, using the textbook, I taught lesson 2-5 in small groups today (subtracting with regrouping...argh, they had such a hard time...which makes me SOOO glad I taught it in small group so that I could help them more!!!).  But, they completed 2-4 as independent practice or "At Your Seat" work and they also completed 2-4 for homework tonight. 

Essentially, I teach a day ahead, and their "work" is a day behind.  Make sense?

I've also changed what they are doing during each rotation from last year a little.

So, if you have read my other posts about Math Rotations, which I now call Math Workshop either {here} or {here}, you will see below how I've tweaked it a bit more to fit my needs this year.

I am still using the acronym "M.A.T.H."

M~Math Facts- Instead of working on Math 4 Today during this time (because we've already completed it before rotations begin), we are now doing Calendar Math.  Calendar Math???  Yes!!  I absolutely fell in love with Stephanie's posts about Calendar Math at Teaching in Room 6.  If you haven't read up on those, you need to check her out.  She can explain it a whole lot better than me.  I will share more on how I use it later...but for now "M" stands for "Math Facts/Calendar Math".
A~At Your Seat- Again, this is the independent practice from the instruction in small group the day before
T~Teacher Time- Small Group! Yay!
H~Hands On

During "Hands On" time, students work with manipulatives, games, etc.  I change these out weekly.  Here is the tub for one of my groups.  I have two tubs per group.  The boys take one tub and go to the front of the room (floor), and the girls take the other tub and head to the back of the room (floor).

And inside the tub:
(Those calculator things are actually electronic flashcards!!)

The noise level is LOW considering only 6-7 students are at "Hands On" at once.  And, these are the only students talking.  The others are essentially completing work at their seats or working with me. 

I LOVE it!  Like Super LOVE.  I can't believe it has taken me this long in my career to discover small group instruction in math.  I'm so glad that I did!

Do you do Math Workshop or a variation of it?  Do you have any advice?  I'd love to hear how you use Math Workshop in your classroom.  

But, before I go....

I can't wait to meet up with some fabulous bloggy friends on Saturday.  Click the picture above to head on over to Hope's Blog, 2nd Grade Shenanigans to learn more.


  1. I knew you would rock that math workshop with your classes!!! This sounds so awesome. I'm coming back again tomorrow morning to reread it again (I check blogs while drying my hair--how bad is that?!).

    I am trying to move in this direction and reading what you do was such a huge help--THANKS!!! :)

    PS I love Steph's Calendar Math's been a godsend this year :)

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  3. AWESOME!!! So happy that it went well (but of course, I had no doubts)! Once I get this whole daily 5/cafe thing under my belt, I want to add rotations and centres in math. I'm doing a combination/variation of Steph's calendar math and number of the day every morning in math - can't believe how much quicker the students are getting it than just one week ago - LOVE it!

    Runde's Room

  4. I do Math Workshop in my class, and I absolutely love it! We only do 3 stations a day, but we start off our time with a whole group 20 minute mini-lesson. After the mini-lesson, we move into rotations. My low group will meet with me, middle level group will do an independent practice sheet while the high group plays a math game. We rotate these so everyone has a 20 minute time at each station...a total of 1 hour of stations.

    I seriously couldn't imagine teaching any other way! I love reading other teacher's ideas on how they do math workshop! I'll be excited to see more updates of how it works in your room!

    Sensational Seconds

    BTW - I'm sure you have one already, but just a heads up for your followers...I am hosting a giveaway on my blog! You could win a free personal laminator! They are amazing so come check it out!!

    1. I love the plan you have, too. With Math Workshop, teachers can find the management plan that works for them (how many groups, how much time, etc.). I really like teaching in small groups, so I was determined to find a way to make it work for me :)

  5. Awww....thanks for the shout out.

    And I LOVE working in small groups for math (now I am doing it in language arts too!) I don't do it quite as committed as you, but I may start. You made it sound so easy! Fabulous Elizabeth!

    Teaching in Room 6

    1. Of course, Stephanie :) I am loving Calendar Math! My students are beginning to look at numbers differently and I love it!


  6. Thanks for this friend!!!! My new 8 start today in the afternoon. This gives me hope that it will work out and I can continue math workshop:) I'm so glad it went well for you....of course awesome teacher so it had to go great:) Hope you have a wonderful day today and thanks for the encouragement....I think I can, I think I can, I think I can;)))

    4th Grade Frolics

    1. Can't wait to hear about your new peeps. Yes, you can do it, even with 8 more in your room :)

  7. This blog was too good! got to learn something.. hope to see few photos!

    cool maths for kids

  8. LOVE it!!!!
    I am doing this too, just calling my stuff different...don't you just love the time you have now!?

  9. Oooh love this. As a sub, I see so many different things going on in classes. Most of the classes I sub for have a math program like Investigations or Bridges, so they stick to those centers. I like this math workshop!

    Journey of a Substitute Teacher
    Endless Pinabilities!

  10. I don't teach math, but if I did I would definitely use your ideas! :)


  11. Loved meeting you yesterday! See you again hopefully!
    Simple In Second

  12. Wow! This sounds amazing! My current math block is in need of some major revamping. I got some great ideas from this post. Thanks for sharing! Lattes and Laughter

  13. It all just clicked! I've been searching for weeks to find a math workshop model that meets my needs, and here it is! THANK YOU!!

  14. Love this!! Question: are you changing out games for game tub each day? And do you give math game directions every Monday before rotations begin? Totally doing it this yr just trying to get it organized and make sure I have enough games/activities! Any suggestions are appreciated! Thanks for sharing!!

    1. No, not each day. I change my tubs about once a week (sometimes longer sometimes earlier depending on mastery). I only give directions when I introduce a new game. Email me if you have any more questions :)

  15. I'm so glad I stumbled upon this! I'm curious as to what you typically give as math homework. This has been a big debate at my school!