Sunday, July 20, 2014

Managing Math Workshop

Welcome - and thanks for joining us with the Guided Math in Action Book study.  Today we will be discussing chapters 3 and 4.  If you missed my previous post, you can go there by following this link:

To visit our hosts for this book study - Adventures in Guided Math, simply click on the image above to visit their blog.
 Chapters 3 & 4 are all about getting started.  Not unlike everything else we do in our classroom, we need to establish our procedures and routines with our guided math and math workshop.  Students need to know what it is supposed to look like, sound like, feel like, etc.  It is imperative that we spend our initial lessons developing and practicing what we expect.  Remember - If you want it - teach it!!!

We want our students to be able to be independent.  There will be days when we aren't going to be there, and everything should run as smoothly as if we were.  So that means practice, practice, practice.

Some of the things we need to consider include:

  • schedules - Are you using a workshop approach?  What about rotations?  Will you have various stations / centers? How many groups do you meet with each day?
  • locations - Where is everything taking place?  Do you have a table where you are holding the guided lessons?  Are you meeting students in their groups / desks?  Where are the centers / stations located?  Will they work on them in a specific area or at their seats?  Will you have an area for whole group instruction, or do students just return to their seats for this?  There is a lot to consider...
  • teacher toolkit - This is everything you need for your guided math lessons. How do you have yours organized?  What kind of tools do you have included in yours?
  • flexible grouping - What kind of data are you going to gather?  How often do you examine your groups?
  • record keeping - Do you have a system that works for you?  What data do you keep?  What kind of planning sheets do you use?

 Question one:  I do have a toolkit, but it is not as organized as I would like it.  It never fails, part way through the year it is a complete disaster.  I am in the process of reexamining how I will keep things this year.  This sounds like a future blog post!!!!

Question two:  My students do not have individual toolkits.  I have kept things centrally located.  When I have tried to have each student keep individually, often things get lost or broken.  I have found that by having things in one are for students to get, they take better care of the tools and we have them when needed.

Question three:  Routines / expectations are established starting on day one and are continually practiced throughout the year.  Those first few weeks are important.  The more time spent at the beginning of the year means less time is wasted later.
 Question one & two:  Prior to this coming year, I have taught primarily whole group.  I have pulled those students back who have really need the extra help or students who have specifically requested to work with me, and yes, those have been fluid - based on the specific task we were working on.  I am excited to be doing small group work this year.

Question three:  When I was in special education my records were much more in depth than what they have been the past couple of years.  Since becoming a third grade teacher my records have been very basic.  Each year they have improved and are looking much more like the detail I used to put into them when in special ed.  The Common Core has also forced me to keep better records.

I must say that these two chapters have really made my mind start spinning.  Tomorrow I am going to be able to start going in and organizing my classroom.  I have some ideas I need to test out for the arrangement.  The information from chapters 3 & 4 will help me start off on the right foot.

Don't forget to stop back by on Wednesday for Chapter 5.  Please be sure to visit all the other bloggers and read their posts.


  1. I look forward to reading a future post about your teacher toolkit! :0) Chapter four has really got me thinking as well, and I plan on trying a new record-keeping system this year. Good luck as you begin to organize your classroom...


    1. I'm both dreading and excited about getting back into my room tomorrow. So many areas are completely changing this year. It will be a lot of hard work, but well worth it.

  2. This study is really making me want to get busy! I have so many ideas spinning in my head about how my math block will work now, that I need to start making some decisions. Thanks for your thoughts on the chapters.

    Teaching Little Miracles

    1. Oh, I am so with you. My problem is that I have so many ideas that I really need to rein them in and get focused!!! Good luck with your year.