This year I have made changes to my approach to teaching Mathematics. After Recess on four days of the week, the students come in and are engaged in Maths Workshops. The Workshops last for approximately 25 – 30 minutes.
I have 4 groups, usually organised into ability groups. One group will work with the teacher on a number based skill or strategy. There is a group on the computers accessing teacher set tasks on the Studyladder website. Another group will be playing a hands-on game, usually number based with a mental computation element. The remaining group may be completing an open-ended investigation, more skills practice or another hands-on game. This varies from week to week, depending on the Maths unit.
After almost three terms of implementation, I have found many strengths of the initiative.
This year I have used Maths Workshops as an opportunity to work with students at their points of need. Meeting with small groups of students each day means that I have been able to closely monitor students’ progress. I have been able to group students’ according to their learning needs and then work on the relevant skills and strategies that may require further practice and consolidation.
2. Assessment Data
Compared to previous years, I have been able to gather more assessment data about students’ progress. As I meet with students once per week in the Maths Workshops, I am able to record anecdotal observations about their maths knowledge, skills and understandings. This is in addition to the assessment data that I collect during the Mathematics lesson that follows Maths Workshops.
I have found the Maths Workshops easy to plan and not too time consuming. I have included a sample planner, which you can view by clicking below. I have tried to work smart not hard. The game I include is often a game that I have taught the students in a previous Mathematics lesson. Sometimes this game may be related to our Maths unit and can help to reinforce the understandings of the unit. The set tasks on the Studyladder website are differentiated as I can select/deselect for certain students. I usually leave these set tasks for two weeks, so this too lessens the load.
4. Student Engagement
The students have been very engaged in the Maths Workshops. As soon as we come in from our Recess, the students are able to independently move into their Maths Workshops. This did take a little time to get up and running. Most of first term was spent reinforcing behavioural expectations and familiarisation of the process.
There are still a few areas that I would like to improve and expand upon.
1. Share Time
I have recently begun to incorporate Share Time at the end of Maths Workshops. The students have adjusted to this well as it follows a similar format to our Literacy block. The students already have knowledge of how to reflect on and share their learning, and have been able to apply this to our Share Time during Maths Workshops.
2. Parent Involvement
I would like to engage parents/carers in all areas of the curriculum, but particularly Mathematics. This will be a personal focus for 2015.
Please feel free to leave a comment below with any suggestions or questions regarding Maths Workshops.