Thursday, July 3, 2014

Guided Math Book Study- Chapter 6

This week chapter 6 focused on math workshops- what they are and how to run them effectively. 

I wasn't quite sure what a "math workshop" was, so I was intrigued to get started on this chapter. What I found was a pleasant surprise-- I've been doing "math workshops" all along! As a matter of fact, math workshop activities are the primary focus of my TPT store!

A math workshop is a set of activities that encourage students to take ownership of their learning. This isn't teacher directed! Laney Sammons lists quite a few activities that fit perfectly with math workshops:
- review previously mastered concepts
- fact fluency
- games that reinforce concepts
- problem solving practice
- investigating mathematical concepts
-writing in math journals
- computer related work
- math related activities intertwined with other subjects
- completing work independently from small group instruction

Just about everything I've created in my TPT store falls under one of these categories! I've chosen a few to highlight-- all with extended samples, of course!

Fact Fluency
Math workshops are an excellent time to practice fluency! Often, these games can be repeated over and over  and become a classroom favorite.  I've created an entire year's worth of themed Triangles for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division. To play, just hide one of the numbers with your thumb. Your partner should add/subtract or multiply/divide to find the number that's hidden! 
Want a sample of my Back to School themed Triangles for addition/subtraction and multiplication/division? 

Want to see all the sets available?

Math Games Galore-
Lanney Sammons also states that games are an excellent way to review a variety of concepts. The games, however, must have simplistic directions and be mathematically relevant. My sets of Math games Galore might be a perfect fit for your classroom!

Students choose one of 5 game boards. You choose one of 5 math concept decks of cards, depending on the needs of your students. 

Each edition is tailored to specific math skills important to that grade.  

Organizations and routines are vital to the success of  your math workshop! I begin teaching routines at the beginning of the year. It does take extra class time, but I believe it's essential that students understand the process. Here is a link to a poster I made. These rules are posted at each station and are reviewed prior to the start of math workshops.

I also keep my classroom organized and introduce students to the organization as well. Once students understand the organization, they'll be much more able to work independently during math workshops. 

Here are just a few of the ways I keep my stations organized:
- Stations always rotate clockwise.

-All materials- instructions, paper, pencils, etc.- are located at each  center in colored tubs.

- If students finish a station early, there's a "challenge" folder at the station. They may only accept the challenge if all other assignments are completed. Sometimes it's a journal prompt, other times its an independent "game." Students know they are to be working the entire time- down time isn't allowed!

- Any activities not completed become homework. This seems to motivate students to complete all math workshop stations in a timely manner. :) 

Another idea that I absolutely love from a fellow teacher-- she has one of these little battery powered lights hanging on a bulletin board close to her small group table. 
When she's leading a small group, she turns on the light. That's a signal to others that she isn't available for questions. When her small group is over, she'll turn the light out for a minute or two and assist students before beginning her next small group. This gives her uninterrupted time with her small group of students! 

This light came from the Dollar Tree

That's it for this week! See you next Thursday for Chapter 7, where we'll talk about conferring with students!

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