Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Really Overdue Blog Post

We Have a TPT Store

We have dragged our feet on starting a TPT store since this blog's conception for many reasons but primarily because we never set out to gain fame or fortune through this blog.  Just like none of us chose teaching for the money, right?! :)  However, we never realized how many people would be interested in obtaining copies of our resources.  After trying to respond in a timely fashion to numerous requests for various documents, we have finally decided to make the resources available for download to save everyone some time.  We chose certain documents to make available on the store based on those that are most often requested on our blog.  Please feel free to email us if you would like a document that is not in our store but is referenced in our blog posts, and we will add it to our TPT store.

We imagine that many of you will relate with us when we say that we have poured countless hours into creating the resources for our math workshop.  After much deliberation we agreed that charging a small amount for these resources that we spent so much time on seems reasonable.

It seems only appropriate to plug our store :), so check us out!

Laptop Update

The last time we wrote about the laptops at the fact station Tabitha was not sure how often the computers would be used and how they would be managed.  While she saw the benefits of using the laptops at a math station, she also learned a few things:

1.  Sharing a laptop cart with the rest of the school (24 classes) is difficult because so many teachers want to use the cart.
2.  Setting up the laptops, each mouse, and each set of headphones takes about 20 minutes of prep time.
3.  If the laptops are not charged when they come to your class, then instructional time is lost trying to find a computer with a charge.
4.  Forcing students to play a certain game gave Tabitha control over the skill that was being practiced but lessened student engagement.  However, presenting students with options to practice a certain skill seemed to increase engagement.  Choice is always good.

Math Workshop in the Midst of a District-Wide Curriculum Adoption?

This fall Tabitha's district will implement MyMath as the first curriculum adopted for the purpose of being aligned with a workshop approach.  Tabitha is very excited about the new adoption and knows quite a bit about it as she is on the third grade curriculum guide writing committee for the adoption.  This curriculum focuses on real-world application by taking skills, applying them, and problem solving.  At the same time, this real-world application is complemented with instruction on computational skills, which we have found to be lacking in previous curriculum adoptions.  The curriculum seems to provide numerous avenues for differentiating instruction.  So, where does this leave our Math Workshop Adventures?  Well, we don't know.  As Tabitha implements the curriculum, her math workshop will look different in that instead of focusing on one skill per week, she will spend as much time as she needs on each skill, as MyMath encourages.  However, the structure of math workshop (i.e., small groups/stations) will stay the same or very similar.  More on this to come...

Blogging?  What's a Blog?

So, obviously we're not very good at this blogging thing (last post was 11/13).  Our intention when starting this blog was to share our experiences going through the process of beginning a math workshop.  We also eventually hoped to be able to share useful resources with others interested in math workshop.  After two years of implementing math workshop, we really didn't have any updates because we didn't make any major changes.  

Please feel free to check back as Tabitha implements math workshop with the newly adopted MyMath curriculum.  


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Laptops Take Over Fact Station

Student uses laptop during fact station

Laptops Transform Fact Station
This year Tabitha’s school purchased a classroom set of laptops for teachers to check out for their students.  We have always talked about how nice it would be to incorporate iPads or more individualized forms of technology at the game or fact stations, but money was the main obstacle.  This purchase caused Tabitha to be able to check out the laptops each day during math workshop.  She incorporated the laptops this week during fact station.  So far, students have used the laptops to play fact games such as Multiplication Grand Prix and other math games that build fact fluency.  To allow students easy access to these teacher-selected links, Tabitha linked the fact sites to her class website.  

Site used for fact practice

As this is still a novel change to the math workshop routine, we look forward to seeing the long-term impacts that this change has on student learning (mastery of basic facts) and engagement.  So far, however, Tabitha has noticed increased student motivation (engagement), resulting in easier management of student behavior during math workshop.  

Assessing Laptop Use Efficacy
So all these anecdotal assumptions about student learning are great, but where’s the proof (i.e. empirical evidence) that this change will lead to student learning?  Enter   We are anxious to see its usefulness in the classroom.  The idea with having students use this site is that it will allow Tabitha to create student profiles→ students will play math games--> and the system will then track each student’s progress through the fact games-->the site provides Tabitha with data on student growth, and students can also view their progress.  Did we mention that the games are aligned with Common Core!?  Double yeah!  So, the hope is that Tabitha will be able to seamlessly implement this resource, via the laptops, during fact station.  

Student profiles reveal progress

We'll keep you posted!