I have tried about 9 million different set-ups for math workshop, and so many things haven't worked for a variety of reasons. But a couple of things have really worked for me. Hence, the love-hate relationship. One thing I LOVE is having my students grade their class work. It saves my sanity.
To give you an idea of my math workshop and how this works I will explain quickly (HAHAHAH… I never explain anything quickly).
Anyway, my students and I do my Morning Math from 8:30-8:40 and then our math instruction from 8:40-9:00. Students then go to specials from 9:00-10:00.
When they come back from specials, they start on their math packets right away. This my second favorite thing ever. I had to split my math block up last year, a few weeks into the school year, because I was going crazy about my reading and writing schedule… I didn't want to, but it ended up being the best thing ever. This year I intentionally planned my math block to be broken up this way.
My students come in from specials and get started right away. I don't have to say anything. They just know what to do.
Anyway, the math packet is where the grading comes in. My students work on a math packet every week. Usually two pages per day (mostly review with some current concepts mixed in). This set-up helps me, because (most of the time) students don't have to ask me 9,384,293,751 questions.
The cover of the packets looks like this every week:
My students work on their packets while I am working with groups, helping other students, or trying to pull that same first group (just keeping it real here). I needed a way to hold them accountable while I was pulling groups.
While I work with groups, I also have students play math games, play games on the computer, or do enrichment work. If they ever get done with something or are done with groups they go back to the math packets. It's kind of the home-base.
That is great in theory, but I noticed many of my students who I had play games first or who met with me would often say… "I didn't finish because I met with you…" or "I played math games first."
I knew sometimes this was the case and I planned accordingly, but some fifth graders were getting "too smart" for me and I needed an a way to track all this. I actually used this idea when I was student teaching when Kelly Anne from Appleslices suggested I try it. I liked it then, and realized I needed to go back to it.
We grade every single problem and they give themselves a 0-4 on every problem. I can tell who would be and is dishonest and I just watch accordingly, but it really is a non-issue because I keep the packets mostly review, they know the expectations, and my students are motivated to get all 4's so they can get a check plus.
After we grade, they have to count up all their points, write their score in points, and then write whether they got a check plus, check, or check minus on the covers of their packets.
We figure their points by the amount of problems. For example, if there were 20 problems, it is out of 80. I just gage how hard the packet was, who was able to do a good job, and if most students missed a problem. For a normal day I would write something like the following on the board:
70-80 = check +
60-69 = check
0-59 = check -
If students get a check minus, they have to come see me and then we discuss what we need to do for them to get at least a check.
The packets come to me at the end of the week and I do a quick check.
Easy peezy (is that how you spell that?)