Math Workshop Monday {10.7.13}

For the last few weeks, I've been blogging each Monday about what is working for me in Math Workshop.  I don't have all of the answers; just what has worked (and hasn't worked) for me.  I'm also tweaking what is working on a weekly, heck...daily, basis.  Often I find that what works for one of my classes doesn't always work with the dynamics of one of my other classes.

Today, I'm breaking down what I do during our rotation titled "Math Facts"~ The "M" of the acronym that I use for our 4 rotations.  You can read more about the actual rotations {here} if this is your first time reading.

This is the rotation that I have been "tweaking" the most over the last two years.  Originally, I started with having my students complete their Math 4 Today sheet (back when I was using it).  That didn't quite work for me.  I found that the students zipped through it too quickly and then played around.  So, I added for them to complete their independent practice that they would also work on during "At Your Seat" time.  That worked for me for the last year and a half.

However, this year, I am not teaching a day ahead in my small group.  You can read more about what I mean {here} if you are interested.  Basically, I taught the lesson the day before in small group, gave a mini lesson the next day and that was the lesson they would complete during "At Your Seat".  I quit doing that this year because I found that the students were a little confused about what they were supposed to be doing by being a day behind on their independent practice.

Another reason I quit doing it that way is because I want my small group instruction time to be spent teaching the students what they need rather than just teaching the lesson we are completing that day in class.  You know, more differentiation and all that jazz.

So, what do I do now in Math Facts since what I was doing before didn't work?

Several things, actually.  The most important thing that I do during that time is I have my students complete half of our "Calendar Math".  This idea came from the fabulous Stephanie at Teaching in Room 6.  Please, please visit her {here} or {here} to read all about Calendar Math.  She is the expert!  Basically, it is a method of completing a spiral review (you know how I love that) based on a number of the day.  You really should go check her blog out if you don't already adore her as much as I do.

During this time, I also have my students complete some type of problem solving activity where they have to work as a team.  I am really working hard at trying to find the right way to incorporate the Common Core Mathematical Practices and I think that by having my students work together to solve problems might be the best way to make sure I incorporate it every single day.

For example, last week we were finishing up our work on place value.  I had my students write a 7 digit number on a foldable in their notebooks.  When they were in their groups for "Math Facts", they put themselves in order from greatest to least and then had to write a few sentences explaining their thinking.

This group meets on the floor right next to my small group table and I must admit, I was distracted by the groups on the floor.  Not because they were being loud...but because of all of the wonderful "Math Talk" I was hearing.  It was amazing!

So, to sum it up...what I do for my Math Facts time has evolved to fit my needs.  I think you can most certainly do the same.

Do you have any questions about Math Workshop?  How do you incorporate the Mathematical Practice standards into your classroom?


  1. I look forward to this every Monday! I am beginning the MATH rotations in my classroom this year. I have so many different materials that I'm trying to find a place for them all to be incorporated. So far I'm really loving it - so does my principal!

  2. ugh, I am so behind in reading your brilliance! I would be completely distracted by that wonderful talk too--how awesome! I love to read about how you tweak your systems, it's always so interesting to hear how things are evolving.

    Since this is our first year of Common Core officially, I feel like I need to delve more into the Mathematical Practices. I've found some nice activities online for partner/small group work but I feel like I've only just gotten into the practices in a way, you know? Have you made your own problems or does your district have resources?

  3. Thanks for this post - I was wondering about math facts. I was worried about setting up a rotation activity that did not take up enough time. Thanks for sharing how you keep tweeking (not twerking!) your system. We are starting our rotations next week!!

  4. I just started math workshop this year and math facts is the area that probably needs the most tweaking on my end. I like how you have the group work on a problem! Definitely going to revamp math facts!
    A Tall Drink of Water

  5. Thanks for all of your ideas. I'm starting slowly to transition to more of a workshop in math. I've been using problem solving in learning teams also. I really like it. You're right about the math talk. It's exciting to hear! :) I'll be back to read more of your good tips.

    The Balanced Classroom