Math Workshop Monday {9/9/13}

Welcome to my weekly series where I try to share what has worked (and hasn't worked) in my classroom as I explore the wonderful world of Math Workshop:
One of the questions I receive the most is the following:
Last week, I started with this question, too.  I shared a few lessons on setting up procedures and routines.  Read more {here} first if you didn't catch it last week.

Today, I'd like to share some "housekeeping" tips with you on how to stay organized!

In order for my classroom to run as smoothly as I like, I have to have everything organized.  Surprised?

One of the ways that I try to help my students stay organized is to help them keep up with their materials in a tidy little spot.  Each student received a gallon sized bag that could then be decorated with colorful duct tape.  The tape on the edges will help the zippered bag last a little longer.   This is the example I used to show my students:

Inside this lovely zippered bag, my students keep their math textbook and interactive notebook.  We spent one of our days the first week of school decorating our bags.  Check out one of my student's bag:

Cute, cute, cute!

I'm going to keep a "Bag Hospital" basket on my counter filled with more cool Duct tape for when some bags need some TLC.

On to the contents of the bag...

I use interactive math notebooks in my classroom.  During the first week of school, we spent one day making our notebooks with "The Numbers of Me".  This lesson is so fun! I've seen this lesson shared in many different ways, but I use it to create our notebooks. Basically, we decorate our notebooks using different numbers that have meaning for us. For example...on my notebook, the big "4" is special because I belong to a family of 4 and I teach 4th grade.

Check out one of my student's notebooks:
I'll be sharing a lot more of how I use interactive notebooking later, but here is a sneak peak inside our notebook.  By the way, as you can see, I am creating one for myself as the year progresses. I use it as a model for my students.
Our textbook has a page of vocabulary for each chapter.  When I used Social Studies interactive notebooks a few years ago (when I still taught SS), I came up with a way to keep the flashcards secure in the notebook so that students wouldn't forget them when they needed to study.  Simple fix...zippered bag taped on the inside of the back cover of the notebook.  I use mailing tape and it lasts all year.

One last way that I stay organized is with our "Hands On" materials.  I found some tubs to use for my groups this summer.  Last year, I had two tubs per group, but I found that it just caused confusion. This year, I scaled down to one tub per group.  Inside I have the "hands on" materials they will use for the week.  You can see that the tubs are all different based on what that particular group needs to practice:

Do you have any other questions that you would like for me to answer?  I'd love to hear your questions and also any suggestions that you might have.

If you have recently found this post and have more questions about how I ran Math Workshop, please go to the "Find It Fast" tab on the sidebar and search "Math Workshop".  If you have even more questions, feel free to email me, too!  Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Love the idea of the preemptive duct tape decoration. Fun, fashionable and functional! I'll have to use that idea in the future.

    Polka Dots & Teaching Tots

  2. Love the idea of the preemptive duct tape decoration. Fun, fashionable and functional! I'll have to use that idea in the future.

    Polka Dots & Teaching Tots

  3. Can't wait to hear more! I've been trying to figure out how to work the textbook, my interactive notebook, and calendar math with a workshop feel.

  4. I love your Math Workshop posts!! Is your calendar/number of the day page in TPT by chance? I'd love a copy! :)

  5. I am going to try to incorporate interactive math journals into math workshop. Do you have the students create their entry during centers? If so, how long does it take them? How many entries do you create a week? I look forward to your response. Thanks!

  6. Love your ideas and want to start using calendar math. your calendar math notebook, do you have your students glue the pages in the notebook everyday?
    Thanks so much!