December 31, 2013

Math Workshop in My Classroom

Hello you wonderful teachers, today I am going to share what my math workshop looks like in my room. First of all...demographics.

-I have an hour and a half for math. Yes, really. I had to fight to get my hour and a half. We go from 10:30 - 12:00 and my students work hard every second!
-I have 25 fourth graders who range from pre-k to advanced. It would be way too easy to have them all on one level :)
-I have an intervention aid who is in my room every day from 11:30-12:00. I am very blessed to have her!
-My groups change with every standard I teach. The groups are based on a pretest and I break the students up into 4 groups depending on their scores.
-We have four rotations in my room. Here is how it looks...
-On the blank cards to the left I write the students in that group. I always put my highest group on the second row. By doing this they are able to learn the lesson the day before and then complete the assignment the next day because they start with "At your seat".
-I have anywhere from 7 to 4 kids in a group depending on scores and my knowledge of the students.
-Each rotation is 20 minutes with 10 minutes extra just in case I need a few extra minutes with a group.

Let me quickly explain how each rotation goes...

meet with the teacher
-The students come back to guided reading table and I am able to differentiate their lessons because they are all grouped based on ability. My table is by a whiteboard and the students use magnet slates (from Kagan).
-I love these slates because I don't have to deal with dried out expo markers anymore :) No idea how much they cost...our principal bought them for us.
-My lessons are based off the core and not our textbook. I do use the textbook but I pick and choose a lot!

After my students meet with me they do
at your seat
-They complete their assignment when they are at their seat. 
-Sometimes each group has the same assignment and sometimes not. Completely depends on what they need.
-My assignments either come from the book or are written out on the board. The students use a simple piece of lined paper folded into eighths. In the first box they write their name, date, assignment. The rest of the boxes are numbered and used for the assignment. Answers are written in the bottom right corner of each box. If a student is having trouble lining number up (like when doing double digit multiplication) then I have them turn their paper sideways and use the lines on the paper to help them.
-Now, I ALWAYS get asked how I help these students when I am teaching another group. I have trained my kids on how to help each other. If a kid needs help then they ask the kids in their group. If that doesn't work then the 2 teacher helpers need to be asked. If they still can't figure it out they come and stand by my table *with the two teacher helpers* to let me know they need help and when I get a chance I help them. Very rarely do I have kids stand at the table to get my help.
-All answers to the assignments are submitted in a Google Form. This way I can see at a glance who needs intervention. I am going to do a blog post about how I use Google Forms in my room soon.

-So I am blessed. In many ways, but I am blessed at school to have a class set of Chromebooks. I LOVE CHROMEBOOKS! So much better than tablets or laptops. In fact, I always explain to people that a Chromebook is a tablet and laptop smooshed together. 
-My students always start with an xtramath lesson. See my post on xtramath here. This takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes. This is basic math facts practice and review.
-My district has purchased i-ready and I love it! The students do a benchmark three times a year and are then given lessons based on their level. So my students do an i-ready lesson everyday. The lessons are fun and interactive!

hands on
-This one is different all the time! It is by far the favorite. Here is a list of activities I incorporate during the "hands on" rotation.
     -task cards
     -buddy games
     -independent games
     -file folders
     -card games
     -using manipulatives
-If students get too rowdy during this time they are given one warning. If I have to stop them again then this rotation is taken away. I have only had to take it away once this year.

So, that is an overview of math rotations in my room. I would LOVE to know how your math workshop runs. Enjoy the rest of your break :)


  1. AMAZING! I think I may just try this, but scale it down to fit my hour block. This is very doable! I am not blessed with your "stuff", lucky you! But I think I can find some of my own "stuff" to make this work. Do you have the rotation cards available? That would be a great start for anyone who wants to give this a go. Thanks for the idea and Happy New Year!

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  3. Tons of great information. I am attempting to do this in the new year. Curious to know where you got the rotation cards. I looked in your TPT store and they are not there. Happy New Year and thank you for sharing!

  4. I will be putting the rotation cards in my TpT store on Thursday. They are on my school computer and I didn't save them to my Dropbox or Google Drive. Happy New Year!!

  5. I love reading about how teachers do Math Rotation in their classrooms. I am wanting to try it, but I am at a new school this year and have been doing so many other things. I just started interactive math notebooks and finally it is going well.

    I guess my question is - do you ever do a whole class lesson? I can't seem to wrap my head around how to do this as far as organization of the lessons. I am assuming that when they meet with you, it is the first time they are seeing a skill. So before you teach the other groups that new skill, are they working on things they have already learned until they meet with you?

    Thank you for sharing this, I am saving it to refer back.


  6. I really like how you have this set up. It is similar to my Daily4 rotations and I think I could make this work for my math class. We switched to Everyday Math which I am not a fan of as not all my students need the same things. Your set up could help me address that issue. Thanks for sharing!
    On the Trail of Learning

  7. Where did you get your magnetic slates from? And what are they called? Thanks

    1. They are from They are just called magnetic slates. My school purchased them for us, so I am not sure how much they cost.