Thursday, February 13, 2014

Exploring a Math Workshop Resource

Although I haven't blogged about it much yet, I am eager to share with you some of the discoveries I have made this year while piloting math workshop in my classroom.  I just keep avoiding it because there is SO much to say that I just can't get started!  I promise I will get going on it soon...

One thing that I am always on a quest to find is meaningful resources to use either as extensions or as resources to use with small groups during math workshop.  While having a "cyberchat" with some other bloggers/curriculum designers, the amazing Laura Candler mentioned one of her resources that she thought I might like to try!

I checked out her "Math Stations for Middle Grades", and I'm sure glad I did!  It is a great resource to keep on hand all year because there is a little something for everyone and for every topic!

I thought I'd show you a few of the resources I used out of the book to complement the work I was doing during my last unit in math.  Here goes!

One thing I have noticed with some of my struggling students is that they have a hard time picturing what word problems are asking.  This resource has a page that I tried with a small group to try to get them to read the problem, draw what the problem was asking, and then write about their solution.  It was definitely tricky for them, so we had to really do lots of modeling.  We will definitely work on this "drawing" to help solve in the future!

I have also noticed that some of my students are really struggling to visualize math problem solving situations in their head and to read, think, and solve!  We used the Unifix Tower Challenge in pairs to practice listening to directions, visualizing in our mind, and checking our work with unifix cubes.  It was fun to see the students really using their language skills to ask questions like, "What did you say about the middle cube?" and "Could you please repeat the last direction?"  I bet students could even write their own versions of these problems to challenge each other!

Finally, I used one of the activities with one of my enrichment groups.  We have been "playing" with variables and algebra thinking, and this resource has a set of matching cards where students match an algebraic equation with a scenario.  The kids enjoyed the activity and had some great discussions to "prove" their thinking!

The resource has many other activities in it that we haven't used yet because they are on a variety of topics that we haven't covered yet.  It will be one I revisit with each unit to pull out the activities that can help enrich or extend the work we are doing.  I love doing cooperative problem solving, and these activities provided students the chance to do this.  

I hope all of you are ready for a full moon Valentine's Day!  If you haven't been over to my Facebook page today, you might want to check it out--especially if you've been thinkin' about purchasing anything from my store in the near future!

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