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Math Workshop Behavior Tips!

Do you want to try Math Workshop rotations next year, but your kid's behavior habits from the past have reallyyyy made you rethink that? Trust me, I get it!! I've had behavior in my classroom that I never imagined I would have to put up with... all within the last two years. The upside of that experience is that I've gotten real creative with my behavior management tricks, especially during math workshop.

Here are some key points that I will touch on in this post.

  1. Assign designated areas to complete a task.
When your students go to their stations, make sure they know where to do their work at. I have four stations that I kids rotate through. Each station that they visit, they have a designated area in the classroom where they must go.

Teacher Table: They come to the table for their math lesson with me
On My Own: Students sit at a table with privacy offices to work on their independent work.
Games: Students sit in a corner of the room at designated tables to play games.
Technology: Students find pink sticky notes that I stick around the room. They take their ipad to that place in the room to work on their activity.

You can read more about my math stations here.

2. Organize your materials.

 Make sure your students know where their things are at. Make math tools easily accessible and easy to put away. Organize their work that they'll be doing when they're not with you so they aren't questioning things or wondering what to do. I give my kids math games to play that we've played before in whole group. Also, my kids complete math workbooks for independent work so they aren't having to deal with loose paper, glue, scissors and such! 

3. Stay consistent with your behavior plan.

Don't let up with behavior expectations during math workshop. Start the year off strong. Stop if you need to and discuss what needs to improve. In between rotations, compliment positive behavior.

4. Play calming music.

There is just something about calm music that allows everyone to keep their calm zen. I love to play beetles calming music. It has a nice little tune and I find students stay quiet so they can hear it! ;-)

5. Set a sound meter!

Sound meters have saved my life a time or two. The kids learn to control their volume through the use of this thing! I love it! You have to turn your volume off on your computer and allow the microphone to work. When the sound meter goes to red, that means kids are too loud. You can also alter its sensitivity!

6. Set up privacy offices.

I started my teaching career with privacy offices and I've never looked back. Yes, I love collaboration, but students also need to learn to hunker down and focus on their own work. My kids use the offices during their on my math workshop station.

7. Assign station coaches.

This is something new that I started this year. It's a classroom job that's given to students who show that they can be responsible enough to listen and follow directions, help others and get back on task. When other student's have a question, they go to the station coaches first to ask for help. 

8. Reflect.

Reflect. Reflect. Reflect. When beginning math workshop you have to talk about what just happened, the good and the bad. At the beginning of the year, I especially make it a point to reflect after everything we do. As the year goes on, I do it less frequently because it isn't needed as much.

When we reflect, we discuss 3 things that went well and 3 things that would go better next time. Sometimes we will jot them on the board and visit them before we start our math workshop the next day. It's so beneficial!

I hope you enjoyed this post, as well as all of my others about math workshop! To read more math workshop posts you can click the links below.

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We are also having a giveaway to celebrate this series of math workshop posts! Hopefully there is something that you could use in your own classroom!

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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!