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Structuring YOUR Math Block

Coming up with the perfect structure for your math workshop can be SUCH a challenge. There isn't enough time, what stations do I need, how to I meet the needs of all my kids? The list of questions go on. I am here to show you my structure and answer some frequently asked questions!

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I am going to show you how I plan out my week first.

When I begin to think of a new week of math instruction, I really like to follow a pattern. It helps me plan effective lessons AND helps ME to FOCUS! The pattern I follow is below..

Monday, my students learn a new game related to a new math concept or a math concept that we worked on the previous week. This is a game that we play altogether because it is one that will be placed in my math games center. I use Monday as a time to introduce the concept and address any misconceptions about a game. Then, I don't have to address these when I am teaching guided math.

Tuesday-Thursday: It's almost always math workshop time. This is when we do our 4 math station rotations. So, in other words. All students are getting direct math instruction at their level 3x a week.

Friday: We are doing something whole group 90% of the time. I will either address a pattern of something almost all students have been struggling with in relation to the concept that I've been seeing in small group instruction. I like to end the week with whole group for a VERY IMPORTANT reason. The KIDS get to help each other. Sometimes, students can explain things better than I can! So, on this day I give a skill activity or an open ended problem connected to our concept. We do it, and then come together and share strategies and misconceptions. I have the kids place their paper under the projector and show it to their classmates.

These are the four stations and my rotation chart I use when we do our math workshop rotations Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays.

Teacher Table: I am provided instruction that the kids at the table need at that moment. I use my math binder to track student data. You can read about how I track data to drive instruction here.

On My Own: Students complete their interactive math journal activities or seat work activities at this station. They bring me their math journals when we finish a station rotation for me to check. Seat work, they turn in to a turn in bin. I love this station, because kids get to review things that they've already learned. Spiral review is SO important!

Games: This is where students are using manipulatives, cards and recording forms to play games. I like to place games in the bin that don't really end. For example: this game that you see below that's called Order Up! It is a game that can be played over and over again. You have a winner once cards run out, but then you just play again. 

Here are a few other examples of things I have the kids play at the games station.
Sometimes I throw in some word problems, problem solving activities, geometry stuff, memory games. It just really depends on our focus. The games stay in their tubs for about 2 weeks before they go into retirement! :-)

Technology is the last station! Here, students get an Ipad and work on an app called ST Math. Click the link to read more about it. It's amazing and ranges from grades k-5!

I hope you got some great ideas from my post! If you have any questions, please comment below!

In the meantime, check out these other posts about all things math workshop! They're absolutely amazing!

Spring Break Writing

Are you heading back to school from a nice, relaxing spring break? You know those kids are going to want to talk your ear off to tell you all about their spring break. Don't try to prevent it, and don't you think for a second that 20 minutes of share time is going to be enough. I've learned the hard way!

I take their passion for sharing and turn it into a week long writing unit. This allows the children to share all they want about their spring break. They talk about & write about it until they really have nothing left to share. It's a great way to revamp your classroom community and get the jitters out of the kids. You know they're missing their families.

INSIDE THE WRITING UNITThe Spring Break Writing Unit includes important mini-lessons that are great review for really any age.
These are the two mini-lessons included
  • Identifying complete and non-complete sentences
  • Adding detail sentences to each part of your story
A DAY BY DAY LOOKHere is a day by day look at how to teach this Spring Break Writing Unit! It's very simple to do and so engaging for the students!
  • Day One: Brainstorm!
  • Day Two: Complete & Incomplete Sentence Work
  • Day Three: Make your sentences complete
  • Day Four: Adding details to each part of your story
  • Day Five: Publish your writing and complete the craft
A PEEK AT THE ACTIVITIESHere is a peek at the teaching posters and activities included in the mini-unit!
Brainstorming Activity Sheet

 Complete and Incomplete Teaching Poster

Incomplete & Complete Sentence Activity
When we did this, I gave students and brand new brainstorming paper and had them rewrite each part. They had to turn each sentence into a complete sentence!

Adding Details Teaching Poster

Students add details to each part of their story. I just had my kids use their brainstorming sheet. If they ran out of room in their box, they used the back of the paper.

The final product! 

If you are interested in using this mini-unit in your classroom, you can find it by clicking the image below!

Free Audio, Non-Fiction Rabbit Text!

Did you read the title of this post? Does life really get any better than that? I made a little non-fiction booklet a few years ago for my kids to read and learn all about those cute little rabbits! This year, I am going to be incorporating my book into my listen to reading center. I wanted to share what I made with you today and show you how I will be using it this week in my room!

Before I give each student their own "All About Rabbits" book, I will introduce a schema poster and gather student schema about Rabbits. It is always SO MUCH FUN to see what the kids already know.

During student's Listen to Reading station this week, they'll be using their book and following along to an audio recording of this book. 

All the kids will need to do is grab their iPad, scan the code, get their book and listen.

When students finish listening to their book, then I want to them to record their learning. My main focus when kids are listening to reading is that they listen to fluent reading, learn new words and comprehend what they've just been read!

Since we've been focusing a lot on non-fiction in my classroom, then I'll be using a printable from my Text Features Pack that allows students to focus on what the text taught them.

The students will fill out their Schema part of the printable as we do the whole group lesson together. If you have a more independent class then they could do this independently before they hit play!

If you're wanting to use the free book and audio, then click below!