Math Workshop ~ Follow Up
I thought that I should do just a bit more follow up on how a couple of things that I tried this year went. I wrote about wanting to change my math time into a math workshop time that would be similar to a reader's workshop or writer's workshop here. Then I followed that up with another post on how things were going here. Things have not changed too much since that last post. I did add one more day a week where I veered from the regular Everyday Math curriculum and went more in-depth on a topic or taught it in a different way.
The year ended up with my math block having three days of regular Everyday Math curriculum and content, one day of Math Exchanges and one day of Math Extensions. I am pretty happy with how this worked out. We still "covered" all of the Everyday Math curriculum for first grade but we added so much more - deeper thinking, collaboration on solving problems and looking at problems in various ways to solve them. At this point, I plan to follow the same format next year. We will start the year with Everyday Math curriculum every day and then about mid-year, we will begin to add in Math Exchanges and Math Extensions. I love how my students responded to the challenges of Math Exchanges and Math Extensions. We were all better mathematicians because of it.
Explore Time ~ Follow Up
Another big idea that I wanted to try this year was Explore Time. I wrote about that here. I did manage to have one Explore Time this year and it went very well but after that, it was just too difficult to find the time. At my school we have so many wonderful "extras" that we do that our days are just packed. Some of these "extras" include Expeditionary Learning, drumming circles, portfolios, Adventure Education, overnight Voyages, All School Meetings, Morning Meetings, Closing Circles and much more. All of these are very valuable but they require a lot of time out of our day.
I know that we make time for the things that we value and I do value giving students choice so I am reworking my plan for Explore Time. I think that next year instead of having a block of time that is dedicated to exploring, I will add an explore center to our center times during the day. During my Readers's Workshop, we have a chunk of time during which we have centers. These are not traditional centers with pre-made activities for students to complete. My centers are a little like Daily 5 work stations where students have different ways to read, write and work with words. I also have a couple of math centers and centers related to our Expedition. I think I will add a new center or two next year. I might add a Wonder Center, an Explore Center and/or a Building Center. In this way, I can give students more time to explore and make choices but within the time frame that we already have set up.