Welcome back! If you are joining us in the middle of this series, we have been discussing 7 “habits” or procedures that are necessary to have effective math workshop or guided math time. The first week we talked about having a plan for how many groups you will have and what centers they will be doing. Now that you have the number of groups and centers figured out, it’s time to make a board to showcase it all. Not only will making a beautiful board allow you to whip out your inner crafty side and allow you to dive deep into Pinterest, but more importantly it will help your students (and you) keep on track during the centers. With all these kids going different places and doing different things, they need to know when and where to be. Having a board for the kids to follow fosters independence, allowing you to devote more time to actually teaching the math concepts. Your board needs a few pieces of information. Obviously, it needs a schedule of which groups go to which centers. This information will probably stay the same all year. The second major piece of information is the names of the students in each group.
There are many different ways to display your board, but here are a few options to get you started.
My Original Math Workshop Board
This was my original board. Its design is simple and it only took me a few minutes to make. It consists of a small pocket chart, some sentence strips, and some small sticky notes. Effective- but a little boring. A few notes about old faithful:
- The kids names were written on small Post-it notes and put on the paper of the color group they were in. The colored paper was in a page protector stapled to the wall. When I wanted to change out the groups I would just take out the whole paper and move the Post-it notes around.
- The kids who have a small yellow Post-it flag were the group leaders for the day. They were in charge of making sure their group was on task and cleaned up the centers.
- The bottom three sentence strips had the daily assignments for each center written on them. Did you know that you can write directly on the clear plastic on a pocket chart with dry-erase marker?
Cookie Sheet Math Workshop Board
My incredibly talented sister whipped up this board for me a few weeks ago. I LOVE it! It is super cute, doesn’t take up much space, and I can easily switch the kids from group to group. It is a cookie sheet covered in chalkboard paint. For the kids’ names, I laminated scrapbook paper that looks like chalkboard. Then I attached a magnet to the back of each one. I wrote the names on the tags last, so that I can use nail polish remover to change the names next school year. (Note: These could also be made with 4 groups, or adapted to use for reading groups or writing workshop.)
Printed Photo Math Workshop Board
As I was preparing to write this post, I needed to print something on my home computer. Out of ink… again. Sound familiar? And then it occurred to me… why not print things that have a lot of color to them as photos? This product was born. Each piece to the math workshop board is created as a JPEG file. You just send the pictures that you want to your local pharmacy or online vendor for them to print! There are over 150 images included. All the pieces are available in green, blue, and pink chevron. Also, the student name cards are editable. Here are a couple of sample boards:
Smart board Math Workshop Board
I saw a picture of a math workshop rotation schedule on a Smart Board the other day on Pinterest. This is genius- especially if you don’t have a lot of room on the walls in your classroom. Mrs. Hoffard from A Growing Class has a great post about it. There are actually a lot more of these out there dealing with rotation schedules for literacy and Daily 5, but the concept is pretty much the same.
No matter what type of board you choose, the key to its success is devoting time at the beginning of the year to teach the students how to read and follow it. Your math workshop will run so much smoother if you get your kids in the habit of checking the board to foster independence.
Still need some inspiration? Check out a few of these blog posts on Math Workshop Boards:
Also, I am so glad to again be linking up with Kathy O. from Third Grade Doodles for Math Workshop Monday! Check out her awesome blog post!
What kind of math workshop board do you use in your classroom?
Check out the rest of the 7 Habits of Highly Effective Math Workshops Series:
- Week 1: Have a Plan
- Week 2: Have High Expectations (plus a FREEBIE)
- Week 3: Have a Board
- Week 4: Know Your Kids (plus a FREEBIE)
- Week 5: Know Where to Find Inspiration
- Week 6: Get Organized