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Guiding Math: A Workshop Model for Teaching

I love student-centered, problem-based learning so when Deedee and I sat down to design our Guiding Kinders and Guiding Firstie Math units, I knew the activities would have to be hands-on!

Our lessons follow the workshop format. 
Each lesson has five components.

This part of the lesson is a warm up that will help our students build their fluency for various math skills.  It will usually involve flash cards and the focus is on speed and accuracy.  

We introduce and model new concepts and skills through 
a mini lesson. 

The teacher and students will work together as a group to actively explore the concept that was introduced

This quote...Love!
“Math is not about numbers or the right answer.
Math is about discovery.
and exploring different ways of thinking.
It’s about teaching your students that they can solve anything.
And giving them the tools to make it possible.”

 Our units employ cooperative learning opportunities.  First the teacher introduces a concept, then the students work with a partner to explore and practice the concepts being learned.

 “Enabling students to learn with understanding depends heavily on the opportunities that a teacher provides to his or her students.”
E. Fagan, 2005

I am going to borrow some photos from Deedee Wills to show you how we organize our math tool kits.

 What is inside?:  Inside the tool kit, I have everything we will need (minus the manipulatives).   Math talk cards, 10 frames, and smaller pieces are kept in the zipper pouch.  All of the math work mats and talk cards are in our Guiding Kinders math series.  The dry erase marker is also kept in this pouch.

These can be used to organize any math tool resources, regardless of the program you use.
 During our math workshop, students work in pairs.   Each set of partners are assigned to one tool kit.

 Our Math Workshop is hands-on and we wanted them to have easy access to the tools they would need.  Having them all together made perfect sense.

Each tool kit is numbered.  Everyday the same partners get the same kit.  In this way, if one group is rough on a set or if pieces go missing, I only have to deal with one binder not 10.  
 You can download your FREE version of the Math Toolkit binder cover by clicking HERE.

The students will independently complete a task that will allow them to apply the new concepts that were taught.

This is our “math talk” time.  It allows for the students to orally share with a partner and discuss what they learned. 

Our units are packed.  However, teachers have also requested additional practice and station activities so we created  supplements to the units.  Unit 6 will remain discounted until 2/2/16.

You can find the Kindergarten Bundle HERE.
You can find the First Grade bundle HERE.

Here are the links to the math units:



  1. Have you ever thought of doing a second grade bundle? I sooo want to do this with my kiddos but am at a loss on how to get it going.

    1. HI Becki, Amy Lemons and Hope King have that in the works for this summer. :)

  2. Being a teacher, I love looking through blogs. I wanted to share a new children's book I read to my class. It's called "Cooking With Mr. C." by John Contratti. It's a sweet story with a beautiful message. (a little math too) I'm telling all my teacher friends about it. I got it through Mascot Books and my friends ordered it through Amazon. (She does everything through Amazon.) :) Elaine

  3. Sounds like such a great workshop model for teaching! Thanks for photos and complete details. It’s truly something that I'll be looking for next month’s teaching plans of my Phoenix pre-k students. Keep sharing such stuff!

  4. It's nice to read your blog. :)



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