Every Wednesday for the remainder of the summer I will be blogging about the components of math workshop, how I implement math workshop in my 7th grade classroom, the tools and resources I use, and I will be answering any questions posed by readers. I have previously written several posts about doing Math Workshop in middle school.
These are the previous three posts I have written in this series:
Workshop Wednesday #1-Getting Started
Workshop Wednesday #2-Opening
Workshop Wednesday #3-Mini-Lesson
Today is the fourth post of the series; Workshop Wednesday #4-"Work Time". Two years ago I wrote this post on Math Workshop: Work Time. These were the notes I took from that chapter:
I strongly suggest you read a previous post I wrote about finding Rich Tasks to use during your math workshop work time. If you do not have a strong math curriculum with good problems for students to work on that post will point you to some possible resources.
My work time almost always consists of working in the Carnegie Worktext which is our consumable math text the students write in. Carnegie does a great job of giving lots of problems and various representations. We don't do every single problem in the book. We're able to pick and choose the problems that best help us achieve our learning targets for the day.
We are able to differentiate because the text has so many problems available and often they get increasingly difficult as the lesson goes on. I know I have to do a better job of differentiating. I have enough material to choose from, I need to spend more time on choosing the problems each of my groups need to specifically work on.
As far as grouping goes, I generally grouped my students by their MAP scores. I found that having my highest achieving group together allowed them to challenge each other and move at a pace that did not seem too slow for them. I also usually had two groups of students in need of most teacher assistance grouped together. Those were the groups I would check in with first. I would often sit with one of the groups and get them started during work time. These groups changed throughout the year and there was lots of shifting based on different strengths students had with different strands of math.
Remember that you are the expert on your math class and your students so try out different grouping arrangements and see what works best for you. My groups changed around sometimes on MATHia days (when students were on computers). I often grouped students by what unit and section they were working on so they could help each other out if needed.
Altogether I had 6 or 7 groups of 4-5 students working in each class. I would prefer to only have 6 groups that I need to check in with, but now that I have tables I try to keep 4 to a table instead of 5. Next year our class sizes are so large I will probably have more groups of 5.
I spend work time walking around the class mainly listening to students collaborating in their groups. I offer assistance when needed or check in with the groups to see that they are on the right track. Sometimes I have the students in the group take turns sharing their answers with me or I might just scan the book of one student and tell them if there are any errors (when I check with the group they should have come to consensus on their answers, unless they call me over because they cannot agree).
During work time if I see that most of the students have the same misconception I will temporarily halt them and we will discuss that as a whole class for a couple minutes. Every day work time looks different depending on what we are doing.
These are the comments my students wrote about work time when they took my end of the year survey:
What are your opinions of math workshop? (answers that focused on work time):
- I like the work time as it allows us to work with our groups and be productive, much more than in a mini-lesson, in my opinion.
- I like worktime
- I like it. It is an easy and fun way to do math class, and it helps me personally understand what is expected of me.
- I like having work time so you don't have to do the whole lesson by yourself.
- I think that it is a good balance of independent work, group work and teacher guiding.
- It's okay
- I like the workshop because we get to go at our own speed.
- It's fine.
- I actually really liked the math workshop that we did this year and I really liked it a lot
- I liked the mini lessons, and Work time was also good this year because we were able to have good discussion if there were different answers.
- I think It was a good system of doing things however, we really for most of the year skipped sharing and reflection. Other than that though it was good.
- Math workshop really helped me understand the math concepts especially in 8th grade math. Mini lesson helps me know what I need to know to complete the rest of the lesson.
- Work time because we get to work in a group
- It works well, especially since last year at <school name redacted> I didn't really get much help at all.
- I really enjoy the way they are set up, because you can go at your own pace, and still have the teacher there to help you
- I like that order of events because it makes sense to have it that way
- I like Math the way it is and am sad that I am leaving a great teacher.
- I like how you do the mini lesson then we go on our own and do it, and then you come back and see how we are doing.
- I like it
- Fun and we got to learn a lot.
- I don't really like them just because I am more of a working by myself type of person but sometimes they are fun.
- I thought that all of that was very helpful
- I really like work time because we get to work with our group and if I had any questions I would ask my group members.
- IT IS GREAT WOUNDN'T CHANGE A THING
- I think that math workshop is fine the way it is, collaborative groups, sharing answers, there's really nothing to change.
- I like the mini lesson and work time but the sharing and reflecting isn't the best (I don't like it).
- I think it gives us time to process the lesson.
- I liked work time because we got to share our answers and get help from others.
- I kind of like to work on math alone because other people have different answers and then you have to tell them why yours is right, or maybe wrong, but yeah I like the mini lessons, they are helpful.
- I like the way we did math this year
- They are good
- work time is good
- Work time is fun because you are in your group and reflecting helped me explain my answers
- I like the math workshop because its easier to get the content.
- I think that we should have partners instead of groups because in groups most of the time only one person does the work and the others copy.
- I really enjoyed the math workshop.
- It's better than what we did in elementary school because the teacher would just tell us the answers not really give us time to work which helps us learn a lot more.
- I thought it was very nice and I got a lot out of it. They made math more helpful to me.
- Work time people don't really collaborate that much
- It is a good method of learning.
- Have more time to work on problems
- I like the work time with groups
- I wish we could have more time sharing with partners.
- I didn't like the work time because sometimes groups wouldn't work together.
- It's fun and helps me get ready for the summatives
- I liked the work time and how we did it with our group.
- I like work time if everyone in the group is participating, and sharing is okay.
- I thought it worked really well
- good pace and has time to work
- I like the process a lot.
- I think the math workshop is good. Starting with the mini lesson then leading into worktime.
- You and sometimes the people at my table
- the textbook helped me refresh in math class.
- A lot more than I did before, and I was able to review and understand things I learned last year better.
- long worktime
- I really liked group work time because if we had a problem we could consult with our peers.
- Working with others helped get questions answered.
- I really liked the group work time this year compared to last year where we did the work time as a class
- The math book.
- my table groups
- The strong material, and how it was explained
- Marking the text helped me understand what we were learning
- Mrs. Nackel and doing collaborative work time
- What helped me learn this year was the mini lessons. I knew what I was doing after them and it helped me get through the lesson a lot quicker and more efficiently.
- Having fun while working, Mrs.Nackel's support, and,yes, there were sometimes that I thought she was being mean, but I think it was that push that really helped me.
- The mini lessons then work time
- Being focused on the topic
- The mini lessons and working with other people
- Paying attention (Most of the time ;)
- Paying attention and taking notes
- The thing that really helped me was the geometry unit because i never understood the unit on "How much area is in the shaded region" but now I do.
What do you like BEST about this class:
- We get to work in groups for math, so if you're confused, you can ask your classmates to help you.
- long work times
- I like being able to go at my own pace in worktime after the minilesson.
- I like that we have group work time and near the end of class, you review the answer.
- I enjoy the free time that we sometimes get. I also like the fast pace of the class.
- Sitting wherever we want. Working in small groups (with friends)
- I like how we get to work in our groups together, but we can still ask Mrs. Nackel questions if we have to.
- I liked that we were able to move at a faster pace and that we would have time for mathia after assessments.
- I like how during our work time, we are allowed to talk with our friends as long as we get our work done. This makes it more fun to do our work.
- I really like your sense of humor. It really wakes us up in the midst of the early morning. It always puts a smile to my face. The people are very hard working including you and work time is at your own pace.
- I like how we get to work in our groups
- When we get to do worktime, and finish homework
- The mini lesson because it helps with work time when we have it in our small groups
- I like how it is okay to get an answer wrong at times.
- the fun math-related activities
- I like how fun it can be and the toughness it brings to solving a problem.
- I liked that we got to play games if we completed something.
- I really enjoy math in general but what I like best about this class is that there is always something math related if you finish early for any reason.
- We get a lot of time to study
- All the fun we have.
- I like that we have work time, and we get to talk with our friends.
- I like when we get a little free time in this class which lets us get away from the work a little bit.
- How its fun but you can learn while u are having fun
- It gave me the best chance to learn
- I like how each day we learn new things.
- We are able to talk a lot during group work time
- Working in collaborative groups different Math Assignments.
- That you are never just sitting around you are doing work or paying attention to us
- It challenges me and pushes me to do my best.
- We can goof off a little when work time is not needed.
- What I liked best about this class, is we got to have fun and got to work with partners
- We don't have to do what every other class does with claims and evidence and analysis which is a nice thing also, with out 5th hour class specifically we aren't the most normal which makes it fun.
- How I knew all the materials and the materials were given to me to do well on the test
- I like that I feel like everyone respects me, and that Mrs. Nackel is not mean and will talk to me. I really love that everyone helped me when I was having trouble with concepts. I have a hard time with math, and this year was fairly easy for me, and I learned a lot.
- That it's not like other classes where you have to write big long essays about things. It's just a matter if you get how to do the material or not.
- The time not being spent on chromebooks
- I like how Mrs. Nackel gives time for kids who don't understand to get extra time to work with her in small groups or independently.
- Working in groups and figuring out problems with them.
- I like working in groups to figure out problems
- It's not too hard, I know I can do my best and still be able to do great.
- We first learn what we are doing and then go on to do it with our groups.
- The learning
- I liked how we got to work with our group and play games when we were done with mathia.
- I like that we know what needs to be expected of us so we can make sure to do those things and be responsible.
- have chances to do fun things
- That my classmates are willing to help me if I don't understand and so is the teacher Mrs. Nackel
Be sure to stop back next Wednesday when I will be discussing the Sharing and Reflection of math workshop.