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What Is Math Workshop? -Guest Blogger!

Hey all!

My friend Jen at Smith Curriculum Consulting has some great information about Math Workshop that I thought I would share!

Do you do Math Workshop!  I do.  There is a lot that goes into the planning of a great workshop but it is worth it when you start to see the results!

Take a peek at what she has to say!



WHAT IS MATH WORKSHOP?

What is Math Workshop?

Math Workshop is one of the key ingredients in a Guided Math block in your math classes. Math Workshop allows for you to facilitate independent and individualized learning in a small group setting. While you are working with a small group for Guided Math, or facilitating math conferences 1-on-1, the other students in your classroom are engaged in a variety of tasks.
These tasks that are set-up around your classroom are chosen by you to accommodate the various learning styles and needs of your students. Only you know your students and their needs, which means that only you should be choosing which activities will and won’t work for your set of students. While that may sound hard I promise you it isn’t. You know the students who need extra practice on concepts you have worked on, you know which students are ready to move on with a topic and extend their learning, you know know which students are ready to be challenged a little bit with something outside the box… yes, I promise you do!
Math Workshop is NOT the time to introduce a new concept to students that you haven’t explicitly taught. More so, this isn’t even the time to be working on activities you are currently teaching about. Math Workshop is however the time to review and spiral concepts that you have already covered. Yes, you heard me right… what your students are doing in Math Workshop this week should be material that you have covered 2-3 (or even more) weeks prior.
Did that just rock your world? Are you yelling at me right now asking why?
Well let me paint you a picture…
Here you are in October (just randomly picking a time), you have been in school for 7 weeks and have reviewed things from the prior year, done your closely monitored Math Workshop to set our parameters in place, and you have finished your first unit of study. After the test you just took, you noticed that about 25% of your students are still struggling and need more practice. They need this practice but according to your pacing guide you don’t have the time to provide this practice, reteach and reassessment time. Guess what… Math Workshop is perfect for this.How you may ask? Take time to regroup your students if you need to, differentiate the tasks for the necessary groups that need more review and spend a little bit of time each time they get pulled to your Guided Math table in reviewing the concepts they have been practicing, seeing where they are now and performing informal observations on how they are moving along in their learning.
This just saved you from spending time whole group reviewing material that 75% of the class didn’t need. This just saved you from having to manage those who didn’t need this review and rather differentiate for those who did need a little more time to fully understand a concept.
SO NOW THAT WE KNOW WHAT MATH WORKSHOP IS, AS WELL AS WHAT IT ISN’T, ARE YOU READY TO MOVE ON TO HOW TO ORGANIZE FOR MATH WORKSHOP?

I hope that helped you get an idea of what Math Workshop is in the middle school classroom.  Send me an email if you have any questions!

Cheers,
Jameson

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