Happy Wednesday! I hope you have had a great week so far! Let me tell you, even though we had a long weekend, I am not totally rested and relaxed. I feel very behind!
Remember, since everyone’s start dates are so different, the topic for August AND September will be Getting Workshop Started in the Classroom. Please write about only one workshop in your post so that you can link it up accordingly below, and then please come back each week to share! (In other words, if you use Reading, Writing, and Math Workshop and you want to share about all three, please link up in three different weeks-or more if you’d like!!)
Because of my total overwhelmedness (yes, I just made that word up), I am going to re-share a post that I first posted back in January. Since most of you weren’t with me back then, maybe this will be “new” to you!
I’ve been using a Guided Math model for a couple of years now. (If you’re unfamiliar with this, imagine what Guided Reading looks like and now think math– groups are still pulled, but it’s based on their understanding of that math skill. Students are working on other math “things” while you are working with groups- and groups can change frequently, based on how they progress on the skill…) This year, I borrowed some ideas from a few different teachers to try something new in my Math Workshop.
So, I know the next questions already- how do I form my Green and Orange Groups, and how do I form my small groups? Great questions! I’ll tell you! There is no right or wrong way really- I do it differently every time. Sometimes, I give a quick pre-test of what we are about to learn. Sometimes, I pull groups based on how they’ve done on a quiz to reteach the material. And sometimes, I pull just based on what I’m seeing from them in the classroom during my mini-lessons. A way to keep track with who I’ve pulled or who needs to be pulled for what skill is a check sheet I created. You can click on the picture below to download the one I used for my Fractions Units.
If the students are proficient at the skill (written across the top), I write the date I saw them successful at that skill. For example, the groups I’m pulling now are based on a quiz we just took. If they answered the questions for that skill correctly on the quiz, I put the date of the quiz in next to their name for that skill. If they got them wrong, I left it blank. Then, I pulled a group with all the students who had a blank under that skill (or two groups if it’s not a “small group”). If by the end of that group I felt they “got it,” then I put that date in the box. If they didn’t get it, I put a check. This lets me know I did pull them, but they still need work. This is great for RTI purposes too, later- you can show them the chart with all the checks and no dates! (Look at how many times I pulled them to work with them, and they still aren’t getting it!)
I can already anticipate your NEXT question!! How do you know the other kids are really doing what they are supposed to be doing? Well, for one, you can’t just START Math Workshop pulling groups and telling them to work. Just like Reader’s Workshop, you have to train them. But once you feel good about letting them go on their own, you still want to make sure you are holding them accountable. This is one of the ideas I borrowed from a fellow teacher- my students fill in an accountability report at the end of Math Workshop each day. They tell me what they did, and how they feel they did. As they do this, I come around and take a peek at what they worked on and what they are writing about it. Sometimes I have a mini-conversation with them, sometimes I just look. Either way, they never know when I’m going to ask them about it, so they are always honest. Here is one of my “middle of the road” kids: