Home » Math Workshop (Part 2)

Math Workshop (Part 2)

This is the second post in my Math Workshop series.

Tips and ideas for organizing your math workshop

You can catch-up by reading the previous post here.  Last time I wrote about individual fluency practice using Roll and Write.  It’s also very important to do whole group fluency practice.  This can be done in a variety of ways.

Probably the most common thing I do in class to practice fluency is using ten frame cards. We practice with “ten frame flash” randomly throughout the week. I hold up a card for a brief moment, and the class responds with the number. I recommend you keep a set of ten frame cards around the area you line up so you can do a quick review while you’re waiting for students to get in line.

When students are ready, I can make it a little more difficult. Depending on the skill we are working on, I could be flashing a card and then asking them to tell me “the other part of ten, double or double plus one” (etc.).  For instance, I hold up a 6, the class says “4” if we are practicing tens partners.  Or I hold up a 7, the class says “14” if we are practicing doubles.  You can find the cards I use here.

Another easy way I teach whole group fluency is with ten frames and a deck of jumbo display cards. If you have a deck of cards or even index cards with numbers on them, you can practice whole group fluency. You can find jumbo playing cards here.

If you’ve heard about subitizing, chances are you’ve seen a Rekenrek.  This is a fantastic tool to use in addition to ten frames.  If you don’t already know what or how to use this tool for math instruction, I highly recommend that you  READ THIS.  You can purchase a class set of Rekenreks and a display Rekenrek here. If you don’t have the funds to purchase your own, you can make some using red and white pony beads and and pipe cleaners.

These can even be turned into “Rekenrek bracelets” so students can take them home.

My 2nd graders this year will be needing the extra support and visual aid.  Thankfully, I bought a great curriculum set a few years ago that goes really well with the use of Rekenreks. It even comes with big books (these are my favorite part) that introduce the mathematical concept you are working on! This helps students visualize and put numbers to a context (like a story problem), which I have found is really important for these younger kiddos.

Number lines are a huge part of my daily math instruction. We use them all year long. I keep one magnetic number line on my dry erase board for whole group minilessons. This one has the tens shaded yellow and the digits that help round up shaded blue, which is really helpful when we begin to learn how to round up. At the beginning of the year, I like to construct and deconstruct a hundreds chart using the number line to help build that bridge and show how they’re different tools, but really the same concept. You can find the number line I use here. You can find magnetic printer paper here.

I like to have enough number lines for students to use during their independent practice and when they’re playing partner games.

I’ve also added a small piece of velcro to each end of the student number lines so it will stick to the carpet when kids are playing math games.

I hope you’ve found something valuable in this post! Please let me know if you have any questions by commenting below!

You can find the next post in this Math Workshop series here.



  1. September 21, 2013 / 2:26 pm

    This was a great post! Thanks so much for linking up! I'm glad you showed the velcro trick… these are things I slap my forehead over and think, WHY didn't I think of that?!?! Brilliant! I have a couple 4th graders who would benefit from having a pipe cleaner rekenrek. Thanks for reminding me about those!

  2. September 25, 2013 / 2:12 am

    I'm loving your Math Workshop blogs. I've never used rekenreks, but I think I'll give them a try.

  3. June 6, 2015 / 4:36 pm

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