Monday, December 22, 2014

Beginning our Math Workshop Adventure...

Well, the time is here - it's time for me to take the plunge.  I haven't really been dragging my feet - not totally, anyway.  Maybe just a little bit. Okay, I'm NERVOUS about this, people, I'm just plain 'ol nervous.  I'm not new to the workshop model. I have done reader's and writer's workshop for MANY MANY years.  I used the workshop format before it was even called workshop.  So, I'm not really sure why I haven't been teaching math this way.  

But now I am...

Well, at least I'm getting started with it.  Our last day before break was Friday.  My dear friend- couldn't-teach-first-grade-without-her pal, Barb and I met up at my school on Saturday {we sure do know how to kick our feet up and relax on our first day of break - right?} to pound out some of the details.  She's going to dip her toes in the workshop waters too.

I know it has to get really ugly before you see any headway.  It seemed like we spun our wheels a ton, but thanks to that preliminary work, when I got home I was really able to wrap my brain around it.

Chicken Scratches - Before
All Grouped - SmartBoard  - After

Currently, we use Bridges Math.  There are some really great pieces to this program - but....there are A TON of holes.  I've been hemming and hawing over how to fill these holes.  It seems like math workshop/guided math groups are the answer. 

I'm starting out with doing it three times a week and possibly more once I tweak and fine tune.  I'm going to run four "stations":

*WIG {wildly important goal} Work - students will practice their basic math facts a number of different ways. We'll really drive home the strategies we need to become fluent in solving addition and subtraction math problems.  This is something Bridges misses the boat on. They kinda went overboard on the whole "spiral model".  It seems that we are spiraling out of control and never really stick with anything long enough for my kiddos to see/feel success.  

*Workplaces - A large part of Bridges Math is what they call "workplaces" where students play a variety of math games.  Many of the games are great but some are either way too easy for my kids or too complicated for others.  Now I can plan which workplaces my groups will do - BRAVO!

*Work on Math {computers} - There are a whole slew of different web-based math games they can play.

*Guided Math Groups - This is where I'll be able to better differentiate instruction.

Right now, I'm looking through curriculum trying to decide which lessons will make good mini-lessons, which ones I should only teach to certain guided math groups, and which number corner lessons I want to incorporate into this instruction.  Number corner are additional lessons that I have such a hard time fitting into my day - but now that I plan on using them in guided math groups - I'm hoping I'll get to them more often.  So much to do, so little time...

To start, I plan on doing two groups each day - seeing my friends who struggle most all three days in a guided math group.  I'm really looking forward to getting this up and running.  I can only see good things coming from this adventure and can't wait to do a better job at differentiating my instruction!!!

Wish me luck!
Do you do math workshop/guided math?  Any words of wisdom?

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