Today I am encouraged. In an earlier post, I admitted that a part of me was tempted to just go back to the way I used to teach when I taught math to my first graders (translation-whole group right out of the book). It would be easier I thought and I wouldn’t feel as stretched all of the time. I resisted taking the path of least resistance and started the year off implementing math workshop in my room from day one. The result has been amazing. The first two weeks of school were spent defining and practicing what it means to work by ourselves, with a partner, and with technology. (Major sources of information for me were http://www.thedailycafe.com where I found information about what Math Daily 5 is and how to launch it, and “Guided Math” by Laney Sammons).
You might wonder “Why math workshop?” I chose math workshop because I wanted to teach my students to be accountable and responsible for their learning. I believe in giving students choices and trust them to set and work towards goals with my guidance. I want to teach specific math skills in a coherent manner so that my students begin to apply them to their daily lives, and so I also chose math workshop because it allows me to structure my math time so students work independently while allowing me to work with small guided math groups or in one-on-one conferences.
By the end of our math time, I had worked with a small group on comparing numbers and writing and counting tallies in addition to teaching a whole group mini-lesson on the concepts of more and less. We learned a new “math with self” game called “Roll the Dice” which provided the perfect opportunity to introduce and practice counting on (a term we added to our math vocab wall), and students played previously learned math games during “math with someone.” Transitions were seamless and the room was quiet. The students didn’t need me to remind them countless times to work or to “keep it down.” Everybody worked. That in turn allowed me to work.
Interested in seeing how I set up my math block? Click on the file below to see the template I created to help me plan purposeful whole-group mini-lessons as well as small group guided math groups and individual conferences.Math Plans