Math Workshop: Organizing It All

I have been doing a form of Math Workshop (we call them rotations in my room) for a few years now.  It has worked just fine, but I felt that I wasn't really holding my students as accountable as I could.  I also wanted to work in a bit more small group time for myself and my aide, so I changed my "two rotation" system to a "three rotation" one. 

Math instruction takes place in my room from 10:35 to 11:40am (with an added 20 minutes after lunch.)  I have a full hour and a half.  I know I am very lucky to have this time, so I use it.  :)  Here is what my Math time looks like:

10:40 - 11:00am    Rotation 1
11:00 - 11:20am    Rotation 2
11:20 - 11:40am    Rotation 3
Lunch
12:20 - 12:40am    Calendar Review/HW Review

There are three stations that the students are rotating through each day:

Mrs. Moorman (that is the teacher station)
Problem Solving
Calendar/Skill/Choice

I have broken my students into four groups.  Each group goes to each station daily.   Every group will go to a different station at a different time, beginning each day with either Problem Solving or Calendar.  During the first twenty minutes, I do not have a formal group.  During this time, I either pull a small group of students, or I walk around to help kids with their problem solving strategies.  Then, during Rotation 2 and 3, I teach my lesson for the day.  Two groups come to me at a time, and I basically teach the same lesson to both sessions.  That way, all four groups hear the same lesson daily.

In another post, I will go into more detail just what each station entails, but today, I thought I would show you how I organized each student.  They were given a folder with prongs.  All materials for the week are kept in this folder.  Since each group of students has a different schedule (as far as which rotation to go to on which day),





I gave them each a schedule to place in a page protector in the center of the folder.  They also have a recording sheet to keep track of what they are working on for the week.  This recording sheet is collected on Friday, along with all completed and unfinished work for a work habit grade.

Here are the sheets I used to set up the folders.



The "towers" as we call them hold all of the materials the students need for each of the rotations.  All of the groups are color coded, so all of the tubs match that color.   There is a Problem Solving tub and a Choice tub for each group.  There is also a Skills envelope for each group.  










 In the tubs are games, activities, and open ended math projects for the students to complete during the rotation.  These are designed to last more than one session.  The activities are also differentiated for each group.  So my lower groups have more remediation based activities while my highest group has more accelerated activities. 



I also have my aide schedule posted for the week so that she will know who to call.  I have it set up now so that during the Problem Solving rotation, she calls members over who need remediation in a skill they just haven't picked up.  I plan to see how that works, and then change it if necessary.  So far, so good.

What took the most thinking was setting up my groups so that every child visited every station every day.  If you click here, and scroll down, you will see my time tables for everything.  Once I had that figured out, everything else fell into place.

OK.  So that is how I set it up.  Do you do Math Workshop?  How is your schedule set up?

My next post in this series will be a more in depth look at the three stations I have.

19 comments

  1. You seriously are an angel for sharing this AMAZING resource full of math workshop goodies! EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am so super excited! Thank you!!!

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    1. Thank you! I hope you are able to use some of it in your room :)

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  2. I have been considering math workshop for the last few years, but I get overwhelmed and stick with what I've been doing. Listening to you share in such clear, simple detail makes math workshop seem like more of an attainable goal than a pipe dream. Thanks for sharing, Stacy@www.new-in-room-202.blogspot.com

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    1. I hope you are able to get it up and running in your room. It is still (always) a work in progress in my room, but for now, this is what is working! I know the idea of workshop is so daunting (for me it is at least) so I am trying to break it down as simplistically as possible!

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  3. I SO need to get better at math stations ... you should come and visit me to help me set it all up ... wait til the snow is gone, though. ;) Seriously though, this is on my highest priority list for math - and yet I haven't wrapped my whole head around it yet. I'm sure I'll come back to you with lots of questions as I DO begin to set it all up.

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    1. I know what you mean about wrapping your head around it. It took me 16 years to wrap my head around this ;) I will make you a deal. I will come to visit you for these stations if you come to visit me for Lang Arts ;)
      Steph

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  4. I just started math workshop with my 6th graders back in December for the 1st time ever. I divided them into 3 groups. I see all 3 groups Monday-Thursday. That's when I teach/they practice the 6th grade skill for the week. While I'm working with a small group, the rest of them are working on Moby Max math (which I am in love with!!!!!!!), and they also have a daily review sheet previous skills on it. I put a self-check sheet on the board for them to self correct their daily review sheet.

    At the end of workshop I've just now started having them send me a private message on Moby Max about their work during workshop-whether or not the skill is hard easy, what they need help with, etc.

    I don't want to EVER go back to whole class teaching in math. The only time I do whole class is on Monday to give out sheets, introduce skill.

    So far it's working out great!

    Shannon
    http://www.irunreadteach.wordpress.com

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  5. Wow!!! LOVE this. I am looking for another way to teach math because it just isn't working the way I am doing it with one of my classes! I do have a question though. What do you use the last pages for on the documents you posted? There is one for each day and says math rotations at the top. Are those pages for you or your aide?

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    1. Those are the pages for my rotations (who is exactly where) and my lesson plans for what they are exactly doing at each station.

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  6. I do stations. I have 4 to 5 active stations at a time. That includes me (as a station) and a computer station. I want to try this. Small groups instruction everyday would be perfect for my kiddos. My issue would be having activities to last for the other stations. Suggestions?

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  7. Stephanie,
    Are you still using Lightning Rods for computation practice? How do they fit into your math workshop?

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    1. This year, I am not using it. This particular group of kids didn't really need them. But I am planning on adding it back in for next year. I will add it in right after we check homework.

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  8. I the picture with the completed work on beige paper with the 21 in a circle. What is that is that something you made up or is that their calendar work?

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  9. Do you do a whole group math lesson or is your entire math time spent small group? (excluding calendar time)

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  10. I love how math groups work and my students enjoy it! I struggle with getting all of the lesson taught. I have no problem with my beyond and my on-level kids, it's my below kids that struggle. We take things so much slower because I believe they need to learn how to do multiplication, division, addition, & subtraction before they can ever do anything else! They enjoy doing it in groups because they can go slower and don't seem to be as overwhelmed. Often times we spend most of class going over homework. What do you suggest? I have used a timer but sometimes spend the entire time just reviewing!

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  11. I've wanted to try a math workshop approach, but I've been nervous about not having enough time to teach the lessons. I'm a bit intimidated! I'll be revisiting this post often, I think! Thanks for sharing.
    Jan
    Laughter and Consistency

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  12. Thanks so much for all of the wonderful and helpful information you have shared about your Math Workshop. I am excited to have discovered your blog and I look forward to exploring more of your posts.

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  13. Thank you so much for sharing your freebies and ideas. I want to try the math workshop approach, but I am nervous about not having enough time to teach the lessons especially with Common Core. How do you manage to teach everything in 20 minute block? Many of my students and parents struggle to understand the new strategies. Do you teach 1 lesson a day? Do you chunk it? Our district uses the GO Math. I would love to hear more from you.

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  14. This is incredible! Thank you for your post! I am a new teacher and I am so excited to teach Grade 6 this fall. I am trying to find your post that includes what you have in each station - can you show me the link? Thank you so much!

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