Well I'm back this week for Chapter 6, and I'm starting to get into the summer vacation groove.
This week's chapter is all about supporting guided math within the math workshop!
This chapter clarified for me what the math workshop would actually look like. I was glad to see that I was picturing the same thing as Laney, and I wasn't too far off base.
I have been experimenting with allowing students choice during the writing block. I created a variety of language centres that were open ended, from which the students could choose. I found that the students' engagement improved and the quality of their writing improved greatly.
So if it works in language, why not math? A lot of the things that work in language instruction can be used in math too. This is what I forget sometimes.
Laney spoke about the challenges of the math workshop, and a lot of them seem to be the same as the language workshop.
- students need to learn to work independently (they can't interrupt small groups)
- the planning for centres takes a lot more time initially... but like anything, the more you do it, the less time it takes.
During the Math Workshops, activities should focus on:
- reviewing previously mastered concepts
- math fact automaticity - Paper and pencil tasks, games, computer games, and flash cards are all great ways to build automaticity
- math games- This is where I think I excel. I love creating games for my class both for language and math. I find that it helps to build that automaticity and it's a great way to review previously mastered concepts as well.
- problem solving- This is another area in which I feel that I excel.
- investigate math concepts- Authentic and inquiry based are huge words in my school board right now!
- math journals- This is my goal for next year. I want to use math journals more often.
- computer-related work- There are all kinds of great computer programs out there to help students build automaticity. This year some of my students used DreamBox, which they really enjoyed. We also started to use Prodigy Math Games at the end of the year. Prodigy is very user friendly and the students were very engaged.
- complete math work from small group instruction
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