I’ve been using a digital, self-paced math workshop structure in my classroom for the last 5 years. When I first started out with this format, I pretty much threw my kids to the wolves... I quickly explained the structure and then let them have at it. While there were some advantages to letting the kids problem solve their way through workshop, I definitely didn't set clear enough expectations (which I paid for later in the year).

We often feel pressured to jump right into content, but if we don’t take the time to build relationships and set expectations at the beginning of the year, it will cost us time later in the year. Kids need to know exactly what we expect of them - we can’t assume that they’ll behave the way we expect if we don’t show them what to do.

Over the next few weeks, I'll share with you each step of launching math workshop in the upper elementary classroom, starting with the first week of school.

Over the next few weeks, I'll share with you each step of launching math workshop in the upper elementary classroom, starting with the first week of school.

I start launching math workshop on the 2nd day of school.

Our first math unit this year is place value, so while I'm teaching the routines of workshop I'm also trying to fit in some place value review and instruction.

So on day 2 of school, I have the kids take a place value pre-test.

The pre-test covers skills from 3rd grade and the new skills they'll learn in 4th grade. I really stress to the kids that this is not for a grade and helps me know what they remember or already know. Grab the pre-test I use for free.

I'll use the data from this pre-test later when I start pulling guided math groups (more on that in this post).

This also gives us a chance to discuss what the classroom looks like and sounds like during independent work. We create an anchor chart that we’ll add to throughout the week as they experience more parts of math workshop.

Once everyone has finished their pre-test, we set up our math journals. We glue in the table of contents, number the pages in our journal and then add our very first entry: "Place Value Review".

You can download my table of contents template from Google Drive here.

We'll also spend some time discussing our math journals - where we keep them, how we use them, what they should look like, etc.

There you have it - day 1 of launching math workshop!

Next up: introducing kids to google slides and instructional math videos

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