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10 Questions Answered about Math Workshop (FREE File)

Do you have questions about how we plan and structure our math workshop? We often get asked about this so  I wanted to take a few minutes to see if I can answer the top 10 questions we get about math workshop.
Kindergarten Math Workshop!  See how we build math fluency and number sense through everyday math workshop!

1.  How do you organize the curriculum?
We like to use binders...ALL the BINDERS!   Each unit fits nicely in a small 1" binder.
2.  What does a typical lesson look like?
Each day:
  • Fluency practice (5 mins) *more on this later in the post.
  • New concept introduction mini-lesson (5 mins)
  • Whole group explore (10 mins)
  • Student application (5-10 mins)
  • Share (5 mins)

3.  Is it aligned to the standards?
Yes, we have gone to great length to be certain the skills included in the CCSS and the TEKS have been covered.  Each unit contains approximately 20 days of instruction.  

You can find the curriculum map and binder spine by clicking HERE.

4. How do you display your math vocabulary wall?
As each word is taught, it is added to our math word wall.  These words are discussed at length before they go on the wall.  We don't want this wall (just like our sight word wall) to turn into wallpaper.  

5.  How do you address fluency?
Each day we start with a fluency warm up.  This is a five-minute activity that varies each day.  I keep a basket of fluency cards handy.

We like to use a spinner from time to time so we add a bit of "game" to our practice.  Sometimes a spinner turns a routine into "the best game EVER!"  You can grab this spinner for FREE at the end of this post.
6.  How do you pick partners?
I like to put my students into partners where students can support each other.   So I take my high students and couple them with my on grade level students, then I taper the partners down from there.  I usually do not change partners unless that partnership becomes dysfunctional (do you know what I mean?)  Most of the time I have students work in pairs.  In this way, each student has plenty of practice opportunity. Occasionally, students will work in a group of 3.

7.   Do the units have to be taught in order?
Each unit builds upon the previous unit.  However, these units can be taught out of order.

8.  How do you fit it all in?
One of the time killers is the transition time.  We have created math tool kits to help combat this.  It has saved so much time!
Each toolkit contains ALL of the work mats and "math talk cards" for the entire year.  I will repeat... THE ENTIRE YEAR.  However, we will add manipulatives to the zippered pouch.  Typically, we need Unifix cubes for a series of lessons (example:  Unit 6... Lessons 5-11).  So before the class begins, I add these to the zippered pouch.  Once we have finished lesson 11, the students remove these manipulatives and we are ready for the next lesson.

Each set of partners has a toolkit.  So for a class of 24, you would only need 12 kits.  They take time to put together, but my kits lasted through 3 classrooms without fail.  Read more about Math Toolkits HERE.  
9.  Do you do math centers too?
My schedule did not allow for me to do math centers right after the workshop, so we did these centers later in the day.  During the center time, we are reviewing many skills in the attempt to overlearn various concepts.   But I do include the same skills we practiced in math workshop.  We have created a series of math centers that align to our curriculum perfectly.  You can see those HERE.
10.   Do you have homework too?
I'm not a big fan of lots of homework, but sometimes parents request a resource to help their child.  These pages can be used as extra practice in the classroom or as homework depending on your school culture.  These pages are also part of THIS unit.
BONUS Question:   Do you teach math in a  small group setting?
We sure do!  Some students need to revisit skills or they need to be taught in a smaller setting.  Some students are ready to go beyond the skills taught in the mini-lesson.  I am happy to report that Deedee Wills and I are working on these mini-lessons and activities RIGHT NOW!  They will be available in May 2017!

In the meantime, these are the math resources we currently have available.

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