Managing Guided Math Workshop - Math Coach's Corner

“Effective management practices springboard student learning and allow teachers to extend their mathematics instruction in a myriad of ways…” (Sammons/Boucher, p 49)

This week in our book study of Guided Math Workshop, we will be discussing considerations for the management of Guided Math Workshop. So important! You can catch up by using the links in the Reading Schedule below. Jump in anytime!

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Reading schedule

Join the slow Twitter chat

Lots of useful conversations this week as part of the Twitter chat. Even some great pictures shared! If you are new to Twitter and need some information about how to use it, check out this handbook for educators.

To join in the slow Twitter chat, type the hashtag #GMWorkshopTCM in the search box–look for the magnifying class in the top right hand corner by your profile picture (see the picture below). It is not case sensitive, but people often use upper and lower case letters for hashtags to make them easier to read. After you have searched on the hashtag once, it will be listed in your Recent Searches, so you won’t really need to type it again.

Once you are “in” the hashtag, click on Latest (top left hand corner–see picture below) to see all of the tweets, with the most recent listed first.

Scroll through to read what others have posted, reply to others, tweet your thoughts, or even pose your own questions. Remember to include the hashtag #GMWorkshopTCM in your tweets and replies, or they won’t show up in the feed.

Chapter 3, Managing Workshop

  1. What should I take into consideration as I develop routines and procedures for students working independently in Math Workshop?
  2. How will I hold students accountable for their independent word during Math Workshop?

You’ve decided on the structure you will use for Math Workshop (rotations, GUIDE, etc.), planned how to organize your room, and now it’s time to think about how you will effectively manage Math Workshop. Effective management is absolutely critical for the success of Math Workshop, so you’ll want to spend plenty of time developing your routines and procedures. After all, if you don’t have a clear picture of how Math Workshop should look in your classroom, you can’t communicate your vision to the students. The lists on pages 50 and 51 are helpful for determining the types of routines and procedures you’ll need before, during, and at the close of Math Workshop. If you are new to Math Workshop, seek out the advice of teachers with experience in the structure. While you want to be as thorough as possible in planning for all situations that might arise, understand that you can always add to or adjust your procedures once you get started with Math Workshop and learn more about your students and their needs.

Probably the biggest shift when moving to a Guided Math structure is the amount of time students work independently. For Math Workshop to be effective, students must have the mindset that the workstations are their “work” as mathematicians and they are expected to do their very best. Will it always be perfect? No! But you must have processes in place to hold students accountable for their work, or Math Workshop is likely to more closely resemble playtime than workshop. The first step to accountability is developing a learning community in your classroom. Students need to see themselves as mathematicians. At CAMT this summer, a teacher from Duncanville ISD shared a Mathematician’s Pledge she uses with her kiddos that is based on the oath used in Taekwondo. It goes like this:

I am a mathematician.
I look for patterns in the world around me.
I work hard.
I never give up.
I will continue to learn and grow.

Having a self-reflection component to Math Workshop emphasizes the link between work behavior and learning and helps students develop the skills needed to be self-directed learners. Just knowing that they will be asked to reflect on their work habits makes students more keenly aware of the expectations and their behavior.

While pencil and paper tasks offer built-in accountability, it’s easy to hold students accountable for a wide variety of workstation tasks. Use simple recording sheets for games, or have students record work in math journals. Digital devices can be used to snap pictures of the work done in workstations. It’s my goal this year to investigate Seesaw, which is a tool for developing digital portfolios. When reviewing student work, it’s important to address mistakes, misconceptions, and work output immediately.

Here are the slow Twitter chat questions I will post this week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. 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 and all replies to tweets. If you don’t, it won’t show up in the feed for the chat.

Add your thoughts about planning Math Workshop in the comments below. If you’re not using Twitter, you can still use the Twitter questions to frame your comments here.

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