Minds in Bloom is thrilled to welcome Sara from Sara J Creations to the blog today! She’s sharing five tips for setting up math workshop, which can be a challenge on its own. Enjoy!

- Monday – longer math lesson; teach games and activities that students will use during math centers that week
- Tuesday – longer math lesson; teach games and activities that students will use during math centers that week
- Wednesday – math workshop – students rotate to two of the six stations
- Thursday – math workshop – students rotate to two more of the six stations
- Friday – math workshop – students rotate to their final two stations

- Plan out the unit roughly – what you want to cover, how long it will last, etc.
- Plan one week at a time – I found that if I planned too far in advance, my students would throw me for a loop and need extra time on a concept, or they’d catch onto a concept really quickly, and then my plans would be off for several weeks.

An example of one week’s worth of math workshop plans

- Copy ahead of time – I planned on Thursday nights and had a copy mom copy for me on Friday. Then, I had Friday afternoon and the weekend to pull and prep anything needed for the following week.
- Set up on Monday – on Monday I would put all of the activities into the bins for the week, down to the manipulatives or supplies that they might need. That way, I wasn’t scrambling for anything on Wednesday when we started our rotations.

An anchor chart of the expectations for everyone, teacher included!

annzito says

Thanks for the great advice! I tried math workshop this year, and I found that I had a lot of trouble organizing it the way I wanted, so I eventually stopped. I'm going to try again next year. I really like your idea about just meeting with two groups a day! Much easier to manage!

Sara says

Sorry I’m just now seeing this comment. If I can help at all with answering any questions, send me an email at sarajcreations@gmail.com.

Anonymous says

Are you still able to keep up with pacing? Are you teaching new units in small group? I like all the review but how do you get in all the new stuff you have to teach if kids are going a few days without seeing you?

Sara J says

To Anonymous:

I taught a whole group mini lesson every day, even the days we had workshop. So we were getting to new units during that time. Then the small group time was used to reinforce that skill/topic….usually a review for my lower kids and then challenging and taking my higher kids to the next level with the skill. That way everyone was still receiving instruction every day, even if they weren't meeting with me. That's the beauty of the mini lesson.

Rachel Skinner says

Thank you for the great post. I have had the same struggles instituting math workshop. Your idea of doing rotations on 3 days of the week is brilliant. It addresses my main concern with the workshop model! One question: are your 5 groups leveled or heterogenous? Thanks again,

Rachel

Rachel Skinner says

I reread your post and see that your groups are leveled based on the pre-assessment for the unit. Thanks again!