I have
taught Math using this Math Workshop (or Math Centers) format for the past
several years. I have found that this works well for me and my style of
teaching. Here are some things I do to help get my Math Workshop time running
smoothly.

First
Week of School

The first
day of school is always crazy. Usually, for Math, we make a class graph of “How
We Came to School”. That is usually the extent of Math for the first day of
school since we are going over rules and procedures. Before we make the graph,
I read the book

__This is the Way We Go to School__by Edith Baer and Steve Bjorkman.
Here is a picture of
the graph my class made last year.

We also made a class graph of which hand they write with on the second day of school.

From the second day
of school to the fifth day, the students explore our Math Tools after our whole
group Math lesson. My students sit in groups, so I leave them in these groups
for this week.

I give each group a
bucket of one of our Math Tools. Usually, I only pull out the cubes, geoblocks
(wooden 3D shapes) and pattern blocks. So, two groups start with cubes, two
groups start with pattern blocks and one group starts with the geoblocks. I
don’t give any real directions. I just want them to explore the materials. I do
tell them not to throw them and they must keep them on the tables. They have to
stay with their group.

For the following two
days, I rotate the materials to different tables. On the last day of the week,
I set out the materials and they can choose which one they would like to
explore.

During the time the
students are exploring the materials, I am able to pull individual children for
short assessments.

Second
Week of School

During the
second week of school, after our whole group Math lesson from the curriculum, I
introduce two Math Games to the whole class. (I choose Math Games that go along with our current Math lessons or that should be a review.) Here is a brief schedule of how I
get them to be independent with these games.

Monday I introduce the Math Game to the whole class.
I always start with a partner game to help the students get to know each other.
I model the game using my Elmo (document camera). We go over the rules to the
game, as well as, rules for playing partner games. Then, they play the game
with their partner as I walk around the room helping as needed.

Tuesday We review the same Math Game. I
give the students a new partner. We go over the rules of working with a
partner. They play the game as I walk around and help as needed.

Wednesday I introduce the second Math Game
for this week. It is another partner game. I model the game then review the
rules. They play the game with their partner as I monitor.

Thursday We review the Math Game. The
students play the game with a new partner as I monitor.

Friday This is when we actually practice
Math Centers. I put out both games at different tables. Half of the students
play the first game and the other half play the second game. The students move
to their assigned table (center). They play the game until it is time to switch
centers. Then, they make sure they clean up their centers and move to the other
center.

Since this is the
first time the students are moving to different centers, I don’t try to work
with individual students at my table. I walk around and monitor.

Third
Week of School

Since the students
have now learned two Math Games, we can start our Math Workshop/Centers. For
me, it works best to have the students only go to one Center a day. I have
found that they are able to get more involved in the Center and I don’t have to set up for as
many Centers during the week.

Monday I introduce
a new Math Game/Center. Then, I introduce the Math Workshop board that will
tell them which Center they go to that day. They go to their Center. The Center
time on Monday will be shorter due to the time it takes to introduce the new
game. I try to have 5 Centers a week. Since I have only introduced 3 Math Games
so far, I have some of the children go on the computers for a Center and/or
have more students at a Center than I normally would have there.

Tuesday-Friday The students go to a different
Center each day. On Friday of this week, I usually let the students choose
which Center they want to go to since I don’t have 5 Centers set up yet.

Fourth
Week of School

This week, we start
our full rotation of Math Workshop/Centers. I introduce 2 new Math
Games/Centers on Monday so that we have our full 5 Math Centers this week. The
students will go to one Center a day according to the chart I have set up. I
monitor the students and move the students to different groups as needed.

I try to get my small
groups pulled to my table as well. I don’t make the Teacher table a part of the
Center rotation. I call the students out of their Centers when I need them for
my group. I do this because my groups change frequently based on students’
needs.

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