Home » Math Workshop (Part 3)

Math Workshop (Part 3)

This is the third post in my Math Workshop series.

Tips and ideas for organizing your math workshop

You can read the first post here and the second post here.

Another important element in any elementary (yes, 3-5 too!) math curriculum is Routines Time (aka Calendar Math).  My district implemented Everyday Counts when we adopted Math in Focus last year, but I like to incorporate lots of other activities.  I think it’s important to remember that your wall space for math is just as critical as your ELA space…even if you don’t like to teach it as much as you like to teach reading/writing (I know that’s not you though)! I divided my large bulletin board straight down the middle (one side is a word wall, the other side is my Math Focus Wall) and although most of it stays put all year, there are a few things that change as students learn the concepts and we move on to other things (i.e. CHANGE IT UP! If they have the months of the year down, don’t need to sing the song every. single. day.).

I made sure my kids had 200s charts on the back of their DEBs (dry erase boards). I’ve done both laminating/taping and just using page protectors, but I have to say the laminated versions last a lot longer and don’t fall off…currently, I’m having a parent volunteer help cut out new ones so I can laminate and tape them on to the whiteboards.

Right after we have Roll & Write and Drops in the Bucket, students put their binders away and bring their DEB and marker to the floor (I have assigned spots for Routines Time…those who need lots of support sit right up in front so I can keep them engaged).  I used to cut erasers into thirds, but I found these dry erase markers with erasers on the caps two years ago and they. are. awesome. I convinced our school admin to purchase a bundle of them so that every classroom could have them. Seriously, if your students use dry erase markers and you haven’t invested in a set like this, I highly recommend you do.

Students can answer a quick question of the day and be seated. I made it editable so the question can easily be changed each day (or week if you’d rather do it that often). You can find it here. Mine are printed on these magnetic sheets (the dry erase board is magnetic).

Question of the Day

I write anywhere from 1-5 questions on the board (depending on how much time we have left/difficulty of the problems). The problems are usually finishing a pattern, adding coins, input/output (function) boxes, identifying shapes, fractions, and telling time.  As students make their way to the floor they start working on the problems. I do this for a couple of reasons, but the main one is that I need something productive for my kids that get seated quickly.  My kids that take a long time to put their binders away might get to the floor and only have time for 1 problem. My intention isn’t for everyone to do each problem, so that doesn’t matter. After only a few minutes everyone should be seated and working quietly.  I begin Routines Time by showing how to find the answers to the problems on the whiteboard.  Students don’t get to change their answers or add anything, whiteboards remain on the floor in front of them. This is SO HARD for so many of them.  But, eventually, they get over it.  Also, I’ve decided against students showing me their answers on their DEB simply because I can see them from where I stand. Of course, I use what I see on their DEB to guide my instruction.  This whole DEB process takes about 5 minutes total.

After DEBs, we move on to the actual Routines Time. You might call this Calendar Math, but because it’s so much more than teaching days of the week and months of the year, some teachers have learned to use the term, “Routines Time” instead.  I move through a variety of things and keep a “perky pace” to the best of my ability. I only have 15 minutes, and I use every precious second of it. No time to tell me about the time your grandma took you to the zoo and blah blah blah. Sorry, maybe later when we’re getting in line for recess. The main idea that I keep in mind for Routines, is that if the class understands a concept, make it more challenging. Don’t just keep doing the same thing over and over.  Remember to differentiate and keep them learning, not just reviewing. Of course, it’s important to go back and make sure they remember the months of the year. But if all 23 students have it, I don’t need to do it every day. Maybe I change the question about months to be: What month comes after February? Or what is the 5th month? I’m constantly differentiating and changing the questions to fit the needs of my students.

First, I call all students to the floor. We practice basic skills like sitting on the floor and participating a LOT at the beginning of the year. I feel really strongly about classroom management, and for what it’s worth, it can make or break student learning and engagement.

We make a lot of use out of the calendar. It’s not just up on the wall for reference about what day it is. We study it. Students don’t come into school knowing how to use it. They have to be taught everything from what the month is and how it correlates to the season, to how many days until that special holiday they’ve been waiting for. My holiday/event cards slide right into the pocket charts and fit on top so you can still see the numbers. You can find black pocket charts here.

 We quickly go over what today is, yesterday was and what tomorrow will be. We keep a perky pace as we’re trying not to go over 20 minutes. I try not to “quiz” students too often during calendar time as this tends to slow the whole thing down (i.e. I just tell them and have them repeat or say it along with me rather than “Bobby? What’s today? Marcus? What was yesterday?”).

We have a number of the day, but it doesn’t correspond to how many days we’ve been in school. I intentionally don’t do that. I want to be able to change that number to reflect what I want to focus on (for instance, the next day I might write “74” and have a quick talk about the importance of place value). The daily pattern can be numbers, shapes, and even a nonverbal pattern that I don’t write like, “clap, pat, snap, clap, pat, snap, clap, pat, ___.”

These 2d and 3d shape cards aren’t all up at the same time usually as I like to introduce only a couple of them at a time. By the end of the year, they’ll know all of these though. They can be used like flash cards, for reference or even in discussion about shape properties (lines, angles, 2d/3d, vertices, etc.). I like to print off a couple sets so I can keep them handy by the door when we’re lining up so when we’re waiting for a few friends to get in line we can do a quick little review.

 And of course, days of the week, months of the year and weather are all important components of calendar time. Again, these are SUPER QUICK and we don’t spend a ton of time on them in 2nd grade. You can easily use clothespins to identify which day/month/weather/season.

Teaching money is one of the very first things I start the year with. We play a lot of Coin War. For practicing during calendar time, you can do a variety of activities and change up whether you’re asking them to show you how to make an amount (i.e. “Show me how to make 32 cents”) or whether you’re showing them 32 cents and asking them to count it. If you don’t have magnetic coins already, you can print a set from my Calendar Kit on these magnetic sheets.

I stuck this clock visual in a page protector and write on it with dry erase marker. I like to end calendar time with this activity. I simply excuse students back to their desk by having them answer what time it is when I change the minute hand. When they struggle, I help them along and can keep a small handful with me to review and practice for a few minutes while everyone else is getting to their independent work.

I love this 0-200 chart. I printed it poster size so I could do my “count up” and “count back” with the whole class and everyone would be able to see where I was pointing. You can of course print it regular size for students to keep or tape onto the back of their desks or dry erase boards. You can find it here.

 I use the questions in this pack as a guide for my instruction during
Routines Time, but I don’t stick to it like a script, so if you use
this, please make sure you are changing the numbers/questions for what
your kids need. You can also find the Fall edition, Winter edition and Spring edition here.

What do you do during Calendar Math? If you have any questions or thoughts, please comment below!

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

1 Comment

  1. September 27, 2013 / 12:23 am

    I love that you call your boards "DEB" – how cute!! 🙂 Thanks for linking up another fabulous post!

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