Thursday, September 25, 2014

Math Workshop

I am LOVING math workshop this year! I'm doing something totally different than past years and it's been fantastic. We are 1:1 this year with iPads so we're using technology a lot in all of the content areas. I decided to try an in-class flip model for math workshop. We are using the website Blendspace to house all of the workshop activities.

Here's a breakdown of what my math block looks like. I have 60 minutes a day for math.

Challenge Problem

We start off each block with a challenge problem. These are rigorous/multi-step word problems. The kids have 5 minutes to work out the problem with a partner on their white boards. Then we spend about 5 minutes talking about the problem and sharing different strategies for solving it. The kids love doing the challenge problems and it's a great chance to mix in lots of different skills.


Each week they get a spiral-review sheet to work on. I break the problems down by day. There are 5 problems for each day. Monday is always vocabulary, Tuesday and Wednesday are skill review and Thursday is problem solving. They don't have any problems on Fridays. As we move on throughout the year, Wednesday will become more problem solving practice. I have an extra block of time for math on Tuesdays when my G/T kids are pulled out. I plan on using this time to go over the previous week's warm-up. My G/T kids typically don't need reteaching on these problems, but I can pull them in a small group during workshop for any reteaching they need.


Once the kids finish their warm-up problems for the day, they start their workshop activities. We are using Edmodo at our school this year. I post the link to the blendspace in their Edmodo group. They get a new Blendspace on Mondays and Wednesdays and have 2 days to work on the activities.

What's in a Blendspace?

Every Blendspace starts with a video and an anchor chart. I'm a bit of a control freak (aren't all teachers??) so I make the videos myself because I want the kids to hear it the way I'd explain it. I've been using a screen capturing app (Doceri) on my ipad to record the videos. They're pretty basic - it's what I used to do whole class. For each video there's an anchor chart for the kids to fill out. They glue these into their journals. After the video, the kids have different activities to work on. I'm really trying to follow the concrete - pictorial - abstract model. A lot of times the activities are independent, but there are also partner activities mixed in. The kids also know they can help each other during math workshop.

Small Groups

I have 2 groups of kids that I pull every day. These are kids that I know need some extra hands-on practice with me. I pull them as soon as everyone starts working on their warm-up. This way they get a mini-lesson in with me before they watch the video and work on the activities. After I've worked with those 2 groups, I pull kids for reteaching, work on corrections with kids, and help with their workshop activities. I've been amazed at how much more time I have to work with small groups.


After kids finish their anchor charts and glue them into their journals, they bring their journals to me to get checked. This helps me check-in with each student before they start the independent activities. It also helps me make sure they're putting their charts into their journals correctly. Before I did this, I discovered a lot of kids weren't gluing their charts into their journals or were leaving the examples blank.

I give the kids a grade for math workshop based on the activities that they complete. Not every kid will complete all of the activities and that is okay! I always put the activities that I consider the most important towards the beginning. If students are working with me, they won't have as much time to work independently. However, they're still getting practice. I give them a check, check plus or check minus on the different activities they complete during workshop. Then I take an average for the week.


Friday is my assessment and reteaching day. We still start off with a challenge problem. Then they have a "quick check" to do. It's 5-10 questions over the skills we've been working on that week. I'm able to check these right away and re-teach that day. Friday is also a day for them to finish their warm-up and any unfinished work from the week.

Wow that was a long post!! Now for some pictures : )

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