Math Workshop has its origins in the math centers of the 1970's, mainly Mary Baratta-Lorton's Math Their Way. Math Their Way was still very popular when I started teaching in the early 80's, and it was the first math training I attended when I was getting ready to teach first grade. I loved MTW and still use many elements of the program. (Although I am very glad you can now buy 2-color counters and don't have to spray paint lima beans in the driveway anymore!)
|Math Their Way info|
- is a flexible structure
- provides student choice
- requires building endurance(stamina from Daily 5!) to work independently
- allows teachers time to work with small groups
Laney included a chart on pages 188-189 that highlights effective uses for Math Workshop.
- Make sure the game aligns with the curriculum
- The game should not be too complex and detailed.
- Before students play the game independently, make sure you have taught and practiced the game during whole group or small group time. (Trust me, you won't make this mistake more than once!)
Students can also complete work from small-group instruction during the workshop. Once students in a small group demonstrate their understanding, they can complete the group task independently, allowing the teacher more time to work with students who need additional support. When the whole group "gets it", you can spend more time with subsequent groups or spend time conferring with students who are completing workshop activities. I liked using this time to listen in to the conversations my students were having with each other as they completed their work stations.
Math Workshop will allow your students to work independently and assume responsibility for their learning, while giving you time to work with small groups or individuals. It takes some planning and organization, but it so worth it!
Some questions to consider:
1. How do you organize your materials for easy student access during workshop?
2 What kinds of activities do you provide for your students during workshop?
3. Do you have any tips or tricks for ensuring the workshop runs smoothly?