Have you tried math workshop or guided math yet? I'll have to admit, they have been on my very long "to do" list this year. I have heard so many fabulous things about it from other bloggers, yet I felt I was not quite ready to try it. That all changed when I read Guided Math by Laney Sammons last month.
Oh. my. gosh! Did my life as a teacher of math change. If you haven't read this book, you must put it on your reading list for spring break. (Does anyone else read professional development books on school vacations besides me???)
For those of you already doing guided reading, this will be right up your alley! Laney breaks down the how and the what of guided math and makes it super easy for you to begin working with small groups during math class. It fits so perfectly into a math workshop that I am kicking myself for not trying this sooner!
My fourth graders just finished up a unit on decimals using the guided math/math workshop approach and I am so amazed with how well my kiddos did on the end of unit assessment!
I have rearranged my schedule to provide for about 90 minutes of math time. (This was not easy, but it was important to me so I made it work.) Students would rotate around four stations (Teacher Time, Independent Work, Math Facts and Math Fun) for about 20 minutes each. During Teacher Time, I was able to work with my students in a small group setting to give semi-individualized instruction.
For decimals, I used the math manipulatives (flat = one whole, sticks = 0.10 and blocks = 0.01) to have students model solutions to problems. It was absolutely amazing! It was so easy to see when my students "got it" and when they were just pretending. As a teacher, there is nothing better than when I hear a student say, "Ohhhhhh.....now I get it!" as they are working through math concepts. And I know that my students LOVED it because they begged me not to go back to the "old way" when we finished our decimals unit. (Yes, that "old way" is the way I was taught back in the day -- "Sage on the Stage," teacher-centered, student-unengaged instruction.)
There are lots of great math workshop sources out there on the web...I will blog more about them later!
Leave a comment and let me know what you think of math workshop or Guided Math. If you have any web resources to share, let me know. I'd love to hear from you!