Thursday, July 26, 2012

Organizing for Math Workshop and App Happy Linky

Math Workshop Organizing
Late last Spring, my principal had loaned me a couple of books to read about Math Workshop.  I was really excited to begin implementing a workshop-style approach to math, especially since our new curriculum wasn't very good was AWFUL!!  This would give me an opportunity to reach all of my students in authentic and meaningful ways in math.  Upon reading these two books, I realized that the first step was getting things organized so that I would know what resources I had for each concept, and have a place where my students would be able to get their materials.  

I love Debbie Diller, so I started reading the Math Work Stations first, and then I headed into the Guided Math book.  They were both helpful, and although they present it a bit differently, it gave me an idea for how I could make it work for my students in the best way possible.

I wouldn't say my classroom is every extremely neat and organized, but I knew where things were, the students could access things easily, and it appeared clean on the outside...until you opened a cabinet.  :) Okay, so maybe I thought I knew where things were.  I spent a day just cleaning out my math materials.  Although I came across  other things that needed some work, the books tell you to just focus on math, and get it done!  So I started by pulling EVERYTHING out that was math related.  I pulled my math picture books, manipulatives, tubs, etc.  Oh, and don't spend money buying new tubs, you'll be amazed how many you have already that aren't really being utilized effectively.  
The mess on the floor, table, cabinets before I started sorting. 

Wow!  My tall cabinet before I pulled everything out, and then after.  Notice the loose legos, indoor recess games just thrown in, scrap paper is everywhere, and it's a wreck.  When you see all the empty storage space, your mind will start to go crazy with ideas and excitement! :)

My next step was to sort by content, not by chapter or lesson, or personal supplies vs. school curriculum supplies.  I started with categories for geometry, fractions, place value, geometry, measurement, etc. and then found some subgroups of smaller concepts, or things I can use for multiple concepts.  I made sure to label these well.  I also created a bin for my picture books related to math, so that I could pull those into work stations and make it an option if they finish their task early.  

Then, I used the bins I already had, labeled them, and neatly put them away in my cabinets.  Can I tell you, it was like that feeling when all of the laundry is done!  A jump around, do a little dance, a silent squeal, and an "Oh my!  Look at how organized I am type of deal!"  Now, I know many of you have color coordinated bins, etc. but for me this was a step in the right direction, and I just really didn't want to spend money on something I already had.  Maybe some cute labels with coordinating paper would do the trick for me.  

 I wish I had a before picture of would have said, "Oh my word!"
But now, it's all organized where everything has a place, and I can easily see what I have.  

As many of you know, I have changed roles, so I won't actually get to implement Math Workshop, but I couldn't help but share the initial steps in getting ready for them.   After putting some music on, getting a large Dr. Pepper, and closing my door, I really had fun doing this.  I hope you all can find some time for an "Oh my!" moment after it's all done!

Now onto App Happy with Hope King at 2nd Grade Shenanigans!  
So I have a couple of Apps that make me happy!  

The first one, seems obvious, but it's an App with the Common Core Standards listed.  The app is called: Common Core Standards.  Creative, huh?  I usually print these off, and put them in my teacher binder, but if I forget to bring it home or to a team meeting, I know I'll always have it on my phone.  It's so easy to use...and it's free!

 The second app is probably my most recent favorite, but it's called Apps Gone Free.  Each day, this posts apps that the publishers have made free for the day.  Sometimes there won't be any apps that you want, and other days you'll think you hit the jackpot.  Most apps that are listed are usually $0.99, but sometimes there will be one that was originally $4.99.  I have downloaded some great educational apps from here, and some other fun games for myself!  Happy Free Shopping!

Link up with Hope and her App Happy Linky Party to join in on the fun!


Kate said...

Hi Mary Beth! I found your blog through the App Happy Linky Party. I am your newest follower and can't wait to check out your older posts! I love your blog design!

EduKate and Inspire

Shannon said...