Guided Math Workshop Routines

Guided Math Workshop
was a new structure that came about as I was leaving the classroom for my
mommy break.  Why the change in my math block time?  I loved the
focus we had on problem solving before, but it was hard for me to feel like I
could conference with all of my kids.  I also struggled with the need to
do small group instruction, but not having a framework for managing that.

And lastly, I needed more balance between kid-guided problem solving and
direct instruction.  So
Guided Math Workshop
was born.  Here’s a look at what a week of guided math workshop looks like now!


On Mondays, we introduce the goal for the week through a mini-lesson. 
Sometimes, we read a book, sometimes we watch a video, and sometimes we work
through some digital slides with some discussion together.  I spend about
15-30 minutes on this, depending on the activity.  Here is one of our
from when we practice drawing shapes with specific attributes with a personal
favorite, The Greedy Triangle!

Then, we do a brain break video that relates to our goal for the week.

After our blood is flowing again, we have some kind of math talk that ties to
the goal for the week.  This is my chance to model math notation and how
to show our thinking during problem solving time.  It also gives my kids
a chance to hear strategies from the whole class.  Here’s a math talk we
did on the dry erase board brainstorming ways to regroup.

And here’s another math talk we did using the riddles from
The Grapes of Math.

After our math talk, I introduce the hands-on game that the kids will play
with partners during the week.  We play the game as a whole group so that
I can teach them the game and model how to fill out the response sheet. 
And then we are ready for the rest of the week!

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays look exactly the same.  This is
perfect because if we have a four day week, we can just have 2 days of this
rotation schedule instead of 3 and not much is taken away from the math
instruction except for more practice time! 🙂  Here’s the routine for
these three “rotation” days.

Launch Math Mysteries

For the first 5-10 minutes, we launch the story problem the kids will work on
independently for the day.  I edit the launch slide in our
rotation slideshow
and pull it up during our launch.  We review our goal for the week, read
the problem, and we talk about what we know about the story problem and what
we are trying to figure out.  The launch is short and sweet, because I
want to give kids time to work on the problem and figure it out on their

Then, we continue the
rotation board.  This is a timed powerpoint presentation that shows kids exactly where
to go. Once I move to this slide, the chimes will sound and the rotations
begin.  It will give kids 15 minutes to work on their first
rotation.  At the end of 15 minutes, the chimes will sound again and go
to the next slide which shows the kids where to move to next.  The names
and even the time is completely editable and found in my plans for 1st grade
or for 2nd grade.

**NOTE: Yes, I know this doesn’t spell math.  Long story short,
sometimes the rotations are out of order to make sure each group gets to
every station when they need to get to it.  Want the long
story?  The very detailed explanation and directions are included in

Let’s take a closer look at each of the rotations!

M: Meet With Me

During this
rotation, kids come back to my small group table.  For *most* kids, this
rotation comes immediately after their at my seat time where they have been
working on solving the problem.  We use this time to share our strategies
with kids who are in similar places in their problem solving skills.  I
can use this time to extend or give extra support to these kids and model
notation that specifically applies to certain kids.

For my lower babies, they come meet with me first.  Why?  Because
most of them are unable to get started independently and need extra
support.  So, during their meet with me time, we might act out the story
problem or even work through the first level of problems.  By the end of
this 15 minutes, these struggling mathematicians are ready to finish solving
the rest of the problems independently and they will move straight to At My
Seat next.

A: At My Seat

During this
rotation, kids work on independently solving all 4 levels of the story problem. 
This is a quiet and independent working time for these kids at their
seat.  Remember, the low kids have just come from meeting with me for
extra support before they start.  And the rest of the groups will be
coming to meet with me after this to share their strategies.

T: Technology

During this
rotation, kids work on our goal for the week on a device.  I have used websites
like dreambox, I-Ready, starfall and abcya.  With my 2nd grader at home
this year, I am using these fluency Google Slides assignments.

H: Hands-On

During this
rotation, kids play the game we modeled together on Monday.  Some games I play
take longer and will take the whole week to finish playing.  With other
games, I have the kids use a different version each day (like a new tic tac
toe board).  Most games are designed to play with partners, but some can
be independent.  This is the only station where kids might be
talking/whispering.  So, in general, rotation time is pretty quiet except
for your hands-on kids and the kids at your table! 🙂


After the last
rotation, we get back together and reflect.  This is my time to talk about what
worked (with the math and with behavior, etc) and what didn’t.  It’s also
a chance for me to address any common problems I saw with the problem solving
that day or strategies that I want everyone to see.  But, mostly, this
time is more like a class meeting about our math time!


Fridays are non-rotation days! We start off working through our spiral review
of grade level math skills with our digital math wall time.

Then, we work on counting collections.  You can read about those routines
here, but it’s one of my favorites!  

Sometimes, later in the year, I start doing counting collections every other
week and fact fluency practice on the off weeks where we practice our math
facts.  (Read those routines here!)

If we have time, we do another share time at the end of the day where we share
counting or fact fluency strategies, or any other things we need to discuss
with our goal for the week!

You can find these detailed plans and materials for
2nd grade guided math workshop below.

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