Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Workshop Wednesday #2-Opening

Previous post on Math Workshop Wednesday #1: Getting started.

Two years ago tomorrow I wrote this post on Math Workshop: the Opening.  These were the notes I took from the chapter:

Some feedback on how the opener really worked in my classroom.

I do try and welcome and greet my students at the door everyday.  I don't do it every single day for every class I teach, but I really do it the majority of the time.  When I stand at the door with a smile on my face welcoming students I usually get a very positive response from them.

As far as using the first five moments to motivate and engage learners, I'm not sure how well I did this.  I would say the first five minutes was students working on a warm-up (usually projected on the SMARTBoard) while I walked around the room checking homework completion.  Students would also correct their homework during this time.  I would pass around an answer key.  I loved using Google Classroom with my Honors Math kids because they would pull up my answer key and check the assignments.  Students much preferred using Google Classroom to look at the answer key, rather than waiting for it to be passed from table to table.  I think I have managing homework down pretty well.

I need to do a better job of carefully choosing the problem or activity for my opener.  Toward the end of the school year I started giving them about 2 min to work individually and then 2 min to share answers in their groups, or finish up the problem together.  I think the group sharing made all the students more accountable to actually do the warm up because if they didn't the group would say something.  I think their discussions were great at this time and group members often caught and clarified misconceptions for  each other.

I'm super frustrated right now because I am unable to access any of my SMARTBoard files which have all my workshop lessons on them.  I would love to show you the two slides that generally make up my opening.

Slide 1 has the warm-up problem on it.

Slide 2 has the learning targets listed for the lesson.  I sometimes list the math practice standards we will be working on that day.

I think some of my openers are really effective, but I also know that there is room for improvement with many of them.  I am thinking of possibly establishing a theme for each day with my openers.  I know this is one area of my workshop I definitely want to improve on.  

I think I do a great job of starting the class immediately and not wasting any precious time.  I would like to try number talks with my students and that is something that could be an opener (although I would expect it to take longer than 5 min).

Be sure to stop back next Wednesday when I will be discussing the Mini Lesson of Math Workshop.


  1. I have fallen in love with your blog page and all the creative ideas you share! I can't wait to implement! I do have a question about the "Opening": What do you mean, specifically, or what examples can you share, about "conceptual conversations" and "Problem of the day?"

    1. Hi Laura,
      Sorry I missed this and never replied. My warm ups are typically from our Carnegie book and sort of present a problem similar to what we will be doing that day or review something previously done.

  2. Ive just been informed that I am being moved from 5th grade math to 7th grade. At first, I was doubting myself about the transition,but the more I research and ponder about it Im excited! I so grateful for blogs like this..I cant wait to put this into action. For now Im training,preping and planning. Thanks

    1. Hi Nicole,
      Good luck with 7th grade math. I love it! Are you on Twitter? Lot's of really helpful teachers on twitter. There is a middle school math chat on Tues evenings 8 CST using #msmathchat. I've been spending lots of time in my classroom getting it set up and I'm exhausted!

  3. I'm currently an education major, and will be teaching middle school math in a couple of years. I really enjoy your blog and am very interested in math workshops for middle school. Would you suggest doing workshops as a new teacher?


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