The Ins & Outs of Math Workshop

I have been toying with and evolving Math Workshop in my classroom for the past three years or so. And I FINALLY feel like this year I have got. it. down! 
Teaching math in a workshop model with guided math groups has been revolutionary for me! 
I teach a short mini lesson on the topic we are covering and then the rest of the instruction is in small groups. I feel so much more connected to my student's learning having them in a small group each day. It's also helped me immensely with assessments and report cards because I am much more in tune with who is working independently and who still needs a little (or big) hand hold. 
We have a 90 minute math block and this is how it goes! 
 We have math right after lunch and recess.
When they come in from recess we do our Math Journals straight away.  
It really quiets and settles the crowd.
They are able to refocus their energy back into school mode.
My kids get a new Math Journal each month.
It spirals grade one Common Core math concepts to keep their brains fresh.
It also makes a great assessment tool! 
After we do Math Journals I will either check the journals individually super quick or we will do a whole class check, depending on the skills on the page they just completed.
This is 20 minutes.
After journals we gather on the rug for a briefest of brief whole group lessons.
We start out with a fun math warm-up.
This is most often a video, song or whole group game. 
Then we move into our mini lesson. 
We learn and review new skills and concepts by practicing on whiteboards, 
using manipulatives or working with the iPads. 
This is about 20 minutes.
My kids are placed in flexible ability groups.
I call them orange, blue, red and purple group.
I simply move the large sign at the top in between rounds.
We do between 3 and 4 rounds a day.
You can grab the pocket charts here.
When students aren't at my table with me they are doing;
Math with Technology
Math with Someone
Math by Myself
Math with Technology is done at one table.
Math with Someone and Math by Myself are in bins for the kiddos to make choices.
At the end of each round one student from the group with me rings a little bell 
to signal to the class clean and meet back at the rug.
This takes 45 minutes. We do three 15 minute rounds. That's what works for our class, but you may choose to only do 2 rounds a day. Or you may manage 4 rounds in a day. Whatever works for you! 
At the end of our rounds we gather back at the rug to review the days learning.
We often do a quick exit ticket here too!
This is just a quick 5 minutes.
Looking to grab my Math Workshop anchor charts and labels?
Pop over to my TpT shop to grab them for free!  


  1. Hi Deidre! So I've been teaching for 3 years and something similar. I'm wondering, how many minutes do you see each group and how long is your math block in all?

    Also, you mentioned that you may only do 3 rounds. Do you simply not have time those days to do 4 rounds?

    Right now I do math talk, mini lesson, then have 3 groups but it's-- teacher time, math w someone and math by myself (which gives them a choice between technology or writing).

  2. Thanks for sharing how you organize your math workshop. We start our math class with your journals too and they are perfect - engaging for the students and a great spiral review!!

  3. Thank you for posting this! I have been using Math Centers for about five years now and teach the same centers as you. It is extremely effective and engaging for students! This year I have begun teaching the mini-lesson within a center...I know it's a different option, but for me I only have about 40 minutes of Math a day (which isn't a lot of time). Thank you again for sharing!

    1, 2, Eyes on You!

  4. Do you see everyone everyday? I would love to do something like this but currently only get 40 minutes for math.

  5. I love your math centers! I'm jealous of your huge math block! I only get about 45 minutes and by the time we do the lesson from the book, time is just about up! I imagine it took quite a bit of time to develop and find all of the resources for each group. I'm in the process of building up centers myself. One of my favorite programs to use for "math with technology" is Ten Marks (an Amazon company). The students can earn math games through the lessons, which are all common core related. I love your math journals. I think that's something that I can fit into my small block of time. I'll be looking into those on your TPT. Question about your bins for the 2 student led centers- do you prep those with new materials every day? Or are they always full of games/ activities related to your current unit/focus and the students can pick and choose what they'd like to work on? Thanks for sharing!

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