*“Because of its instructional value to both students and teachers, Math Workshop is an essential component of a Guided Math classroom.”*(Sammons/Boucher, p 11)

I’m so excited to kick off another series of Book Study Mondays! Be sure to check out all the comments on the announcement post to read what your colleagues are hoping to gain from this book study and to learn more about getting started with Twitter. It was super exciting to hear from so many middle school/junior high teachers who are hoping to get Guided Math going in their classrooms. My apologies to those of you who have had a hard time getting your hands on the book, but it is back in stock at Teacher Created Materials. Even if you don’t have your book in hand yet, the format of the book study makes it easy to jump in at any time.

So let’s get going!

### Reading schedule

- Book Study Monday announcement
- July 10: Introduction and Chapter 1, Structuring Math Workshop
- July 17: Chapter 2, Organizing Math Workshop
- July 24: Chapter 3, Managing Math Workshop
- July 31: Chapter 4, Planning Math Workstations
- August 7: Chapters 5, Math Workstation Tasks
- August 14: Chapter 6, Implementing Math Workshop

### Join the slow Twitter chat

If you have participated in Twitter chats, you know they are typically regularly scheduled events, taking place once a week on a certain day and time. Depending on the chat, they can move pretty quickly! I participate regularly in #elemmathchat on Thursday nights at 8:00 CST. Twitter chats are a wonderful way to collaborate with other educators and become part of an online professional learning network (PLN).

A relatively new twist on the Twitter chat is the slow chat. Rather than having a scheduled time to show up and chat, questions are posted throughout the week and participants respond at their leisure. It’s a much more relaxed way to participate in a chat. For our slow Twitter chat, we will use the hashtag #GMWorkshopTCM. I plan on posting questions each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday throughout the book study, however you can respond to the questions at any time. Search on the hashtag to read the questions that have been posted and add your comments. We will use the standard Q & A format–questions will be tagged Q (Q1, Q2, etc.) and you tag your response with an A (A1, A2, etc.). Don’t forget to tag your response with #GMWorkshopTCM so it will show up in the search. You can also use the hashtag to share what you’re doing in your classroom related to Guided Math. That’s how the PLN grows! It’s one-stop professional development, and you are now part of a learning community.

### Introduction

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I skip a book’s Introduction, because I want to jump right in! If you have not previously read Laney’s original Guided Math book, then you most definitely don’t want to skip the introduction. Even if you have read the original book, the Introduction provides a great reminder of the Guided Math framework and the importance of Math Workshop within the framework.

One big take-away here is that Math Workshop is just one of the seven components of Guided Math, albeit a critical one. This book does not, for example, explain what and how you teach in your small group lessons–it focuses on the Math Workshop component. Math Workshop is the work students are doing independently–in pairs, individually, or in cooperative groups–which allows the teacher to pull and instruct in small groups. What you will find in this book is everything you need to plan, organize, implement, and manage a successful Math Workshop.

On pages 18 and 19 of the Introduction, guiding questions are included for each of the chapters in the book. I’ll be using those questions as we discuss each chapter

### Chapter 1, Structuring Math Workshop

- What Math Workshop model will work best for me?
- How can I create a management board to help students identify where they will work during Math Workshop?

The power of the Guided Math framework is in the flexibility it provides teachers. Your first decision will be how you want to structure your Math Workshop. The book explains two rotation methods, a method that allows students to choose from available workstations, and the GUIDE model. There is no *right* model! You have to decide what will work for you. When I was in the classroom, I was least successful with the rotation model. The timing was hard for me. Some students finished the tasks too quickly and others never finished their tasks. I was more successful with a menu approach–students had a weekly list of *must do*s and *may do*s. They could choose the order that they wanted to work on the tasks. It solved the problem of students finishing too quickly or not ever finishing. I just had to make sure my *must do*s were doable for all students and the I had enough *may do*s to keep all students engaged. I should mention that I taught 5th grade, so the kiddos were pretty independent. I think the GUIDE model takes the menu process to a whole new level and the structure of GUIDE makes planning easier.

The GUIDE model features five workstations, each with a different focus. Students visit only one workstation each day, so each workstation must include enough tasks to keep students engaged. As with the menu model I previously used, some tasks might be mandatory, while others are optional. Tasks don’t need to be changed each week, which makes your life a little easier. I like that groups are heterogeneous and that the teacher just pulls the students she needs for small group instruction. Also, if you need to skip a Math Workshop day, the rotation just rolls over to the next day.

Once you decide on the model you will use, you need to think of how you will communicate the structure to your students. What type of management board will you use? To maximize your instructional time, it’s important that students know quickly exactly what they are doing once Math Workshop starts. You have lots of options for management boards–just make it each for both you and the students.

Here are the slow Twitter chat questions I will post this week. Just search on the hashtag #GMWorkshopTCM throughout the week to see the questions, read comments, and add your responses. We will use the Q and A format. For example, to respond to Q1, start your response with A1. Don’t forget to add the hashtag #GMWorkshopTCM to your tweet. Also, be sure to follow other participants to grow your PLN!

Can’t wait for the conversations from this chapter!

Felicitas says

For several years I have used a rotation model for math. I wasn’t necessarily using the Guided Math model. I would do whole group then I would do small group rotations to better meet the needs of my students. Now that I am teaching special education students I feel that I need to modify what I do to better meet their needs. This year I would like to use the GUIDE model. I feel that with all of the IEP meetings I have to attend it would help to use the GUIDE model to have a better grasp as to what tasks students have done.

I’ve never used a management board. This is new to me. Since I’ve never used one I think using the GUIDE model will help since I will be using a management board for the first time.

Donna Boucher says

I think you will love the structure of GUIDE! Having a focus for each workstation makes planning so much easier and also makes sure you incorporate all the essentials of high-quality math instruction.

Management boards don’t have to be anything fancy, but it sure makes things easier when the kiddos know the routine and know just where to go.

Sarah M. says

Thank you for stressing that there is no RIGHT model. I know teachers that do not use either model from the book and those that find rotations very successful. The most important thing being that students are engaged in meaningful, differentiated tasks that require the application of current knowledge and extend knowledge. Also, students should be given time to independently converse about math daily within whatever model is being used. I think it’s interesting, too, that for many years there have been teachers providing a “workshop” for students so they can meet with small groups of students before it was ever called a workshop or guided math. Teachers have created systems to best meet their students’ needs and should feel confident it what works. Enjoyed reading! Thanks for all you do to inspire!

Donna Boucher says

You make some excellent points, Sarah! As we get deeper into the book, we’ll talk a lot more about those mathematical conversations.

Joy flanders says

I work as a Math Coach in an Urban setting. We use Eureka Math. This previous year, we used the rotation model; Small teacher group, JUMP journals (journal for understanding mathematical practice) which included the application problems from Eureka, technology (Zearn which is an online program of Eureka lessons with independent practice and fluency). Occasionally, we would add or change a group and include a game or activity that reinforced foundational standards that perhaps students needed more practice with. (assessed with a pretest prior to a unit). This year, we demonstrated the most growth in years by having this model. I am hoping to include younger grades but looking for tips to help teachers without additional staff to help with younger children.

Donna Boucher says

Someone on Twitter asked about Kindergarten, and this was what Laney offered:

Works well w/K–but Ts may opt for shorter time periods. Ss learn to work independently and love having that responsibility

Plan well and prepare Ss before beginning. I taught K for many years. K was easier in many ways than with older Ss–different challenges.

Anna says

Ugh…hate Twitter. I’ll go try to figure it out. For some reason the layout makes no sense to me and I can’t figure out how to pull up hashtag stuff. But my book finally arrived so I’ll do my best to figure out how to participate in the conversation there.

Donna Boucher says

Oh no! I’m sorry you don’t find Twitter friendly. You are totally welcome to comment either place or both! You might check out this super handy Twitter guide for educators.

Anna says

Yes . I tried that article and numerous other videos and blogs about how to use Twitter today. But I did also find in the descriptions the idea that Twitter isn’t good for in-depth discussion and that is what I need. So many acronyms and abbreviations and having to reword my answer to make it shorter and everyone just throwing out single answers that don’t seem to relate to each other. I just don’t find it conducive to good discussion. I’m also quite confused on the format. I’m confused about what chapter I’m supposed to be reading. I shouldn’t be this confused only being 2 days late getting my book. I suspect Twitter is just too kinetic for me. However, I’m excited to have the book in my hands. I’ll just have to read it on my own and work through it.

Donna Boucher says

Sorry for the confusion! The reading schedule is in the blog post. On each of the days listed, I will publish a post about the chapter we read. You can join in the conversation either by commenting on the post, and reading others’ comments, or by participating in the Twitter chat. Maybe you could also find a colleague in your school or area interested in the book so you could have more in-depth discussions!

Doreen says

Myself and two other teachers are attempting guided math workshop this fall. We are struggling with the idea of a condensing a whole group 25 minute lesson to 10 minutes and are beginning to feel overwhelmed. Perhaps this will come later in the book, but I am struggling with this as an over arcing and nagging problem. So we aren’t sure what model to begin with. Suggestions?

Donna Boucher says

In the Guided Math structure, small group instruction is actually a separate component from Math Workshop, so this book doesn’t go into detail about small group instruction. I’ve been doing some workshops this summer about small group instruction, so maybe over the next month I can blog about it.

Doreen says

That would be WONDERFUL! We recognize this as the ‘learning curve’ year so to have blogs by experienced teachers would be so very helpful.

Amy Smith says

I am going to attempt math workshop for the first time this year. I used to be a special education teacher and then 3 years I become a Core Math teacher. This year, I will have a co-teacher for half the time and I am truly stuck on how to do any of this with him only being there every other day. Lots of logistics. I wonder if I need to get the other books in the series…. I really want this to be successful!

Donna Boucher says

I think you will love the structure, once you get it figured out! If you don’t already have Laney’s original book, Guided Math, I would say that it would be a good addition to your library. The Twitter chat has been very active, so if you post any questions you might have there, you might get some answers.