Showing posts with label guided math workshop. Show all posts
Showing posts with label guided math workshop. Show all posts

Analyzing data is an important life skill... and learning how to do can and should start early in the primary grades.   I use the 5 C's of data to help kids learn the process of analyzing data: Create, Collect, Count, Compare, and Communicate.  Let's take a closer look at each of these and what it looks like in the K-2 classroom.

Data Anchor Chart

During our 2nd grade math block last year, we talked about analyzing data using the 5 Cs: Create, Collect, Count, Compare, and Communicate.  This is just a helpful guide to help kids understand the process of analyzing data.  Sometimes we do all of those.  Sometimes, we skip to comparing data that's already been created, collected and counted for us.  But all of these are important steps that even adults go through to analyze data.

When we talked about this in 2nd grade math, we made the connection to my husband's job.  He does data analysis all day every day for Walmart.  And many people depend on his analyses to be correct so that they right amount of the right things get on the shelves! :) (no pressure, right??)  So, data analysis is a life-long skill that we use as adults.  

Here's a look at what our anchor chart looks like.  (You can find the template for this here.)

Collect the Data

Collecting data can be as simple as asking "Would you rather?" questions and tallying answers as a class.  For group or independent work, I love having hands on tools to help them collect the data.  With my 2nd grader last year, we used legos because he's obsessed with lego building right now.

He grabbed a handful of legos, measured them and tallied the results!

Count & Compare the Data

After the data has been collected, we are ready to count and compare the data.  When we first work on this, I give the kids the "collected data" so that they can just focus on the counting and comparing.  Here's a peek at a graph I've used in kindergarten and first.

And in 2nd grade guided math last year, our comparing got a little more in depth.

Communicate the Results

Once kids have been exposed to "filling in" a variety of data display types, it's time to really focus on analyzing each display type.  We talk about how to recognize a pie chart versus a bar graph.  We talk about when it would be best to use tallies and when it would be better to use a table or bar graph.

One of the first things we do when focusing on data displays is sort them together.

Then, the kids have a chance to match data displays independently during our guided math hands-on time.

You can find these graphing activities in my 2nd grade Guided Math Plans and additional, seasonally themed graphing printables here.

Money is a HUGE part of the math curriculum for 2nd graders!  It can be a pretty abstract concept for many kids, but I love using hands on, real world money activities and games to bring counting money to life.  Let's take a closer look at a few of my favorite money activities and money games for second grade.

Alexander, Who Used to be Rich...

I love this book so much.  But honestly, I just love Alexander no matter what book he's in!

The story is perfect for walking through a real world example of using money and counting coins.  Because our goal for this lesson is identifying the value of coins, that is what I really focus on for each slide of the story.

Then, we play Roll A Dollar and kids practicing adding pennies up to one dollar!

Counting Collections of Coins

Making money realistic and relating it to the real world is so important!  This digital game does just that!  We go through these slides together and count the coins to write the price on the tag.

Once we practice this skill together, kids get in partners and grab 10 coins from their prepared bag and count their collection!

Building a Collection of Coins

Who doesn't want to help Granny with her fruit stand?  I love this activity because it can be digital or printable.  Plus, depending on the group's decision, there are so many ways to work through Granny's fruit stand!

You can find all of the money activities and lesson plans for 2nd grade math in my Guided Math Workshop Lesson Plans.


Anytime I can find a game for kids to play to reinforce a math skill, it's a win for me!  These are some of my go-to games for 2nd graders that are low prep, easy to learn, and simple to play over and over again!

Doubles Bingo

Doubles are huge in first and second grade because they help unlock so many math facts and give kids a fluent way to add and subtract.  I love using Bingo because most kids already know the rules and so it doesn't take much to model how to play!

I used one of the doubles bingo boards and spinners from my Guided Math Workshop Plans and we were good to go.  We used a pencil and paperclip to make a spinner.  I played this with my 2nd grader when I homeschooled him during the #covidyear and it was just as fun with one player as it is with a classroom full of players.

I love Bingo games because they are great for whole group lessons if you need something easy for a sub.  They are great for volunteers or aids to do with a small intervention group in the hallway.  They work well for parents to use at home too.  And they are great to put in a station like I do for Guided Math and let kids play in partners.

Roll and Solve

I used LOTS of Roll and _____ games in K-2.  Once the kids know the framework of the game, it's easy to change out the skill across all areas of math, phonics, literacy and more!  The math game shown below is for practicing specific addition and subtraction strategies.  It's to force kids to move away from using the same strategy every single time and push them to be more flexible mathematicians.

In Roll and Solve, kids have one die.  They roll and solve one of the math problems in the row of the number they roll.  So, if they roll a 2, they solve the first box in row 2.  Once they fill a row, they win.

There are different ways to play this game.  You can have a game sheet for each partner.  Let the partners take turns rolling and solving.  The first one to fill a row wins.

You can also do what we did in this version below.  My 2nd grader and I each used a different color.  He solved odds and I solved evens.  When he rolled, he rolled until he rolled an odd number.  I only rolled even numbers.  Again, whoever fills in the first row wins.  This just saves a few more trees! :)

Add and Subtract Tic-Tac-Toe

Everybody loves tic-tac-toe!  And I love using it for practicing skills.  It's another one that's grade for a wide range of skills in math and literacy!

This printed version is from my Guided Math Workshop Plans, but I have made hand written copies of tic-tac-toe countless times over the years to help with Letter or number ID, spelling, decoding words, shapes and more!

In this math game, kids will choose which square they want.  They must correctly solve the 2-digit addition or subtraction equation before they may put the X or O in the square.  They must notate how they solved as well.

You can find all of these addition and subtraction games in my Guided Math Workshop Plans for 2nd grade.

A few weeks ago, we did some math operating in our homeschool 2nd grade math class! :)

And, ya'll, I wish we had worked on this much sooner!  My kid is a strong math thinker, who struggles with notation or showing/telling me how he figured out his answer.  His little brain works so fast that he has a hard time using the right language to explain his thinking.  That has been my main goal this year for him.  

I knew it was important for him to know and understand the 4 math operations, but I had no idea just HOW helpful it would be in giving him more math language to frame his thinking and ultimately write down his notation in a mathematical way.  

Sound familiar?  Here's a look at our week of math operations!

Introducing Math Operations

We kicked off the week introducing math operations.  I wrote the numbers 6 and 2 on the board and asked, "6 and 2 come to our math hospital.  There are 4 math operations that we can do with these numbers.  What's one thing we can do to 6 and 2?"

As we listed out the operations, we charted them.  We charted the symbol, the name of the operation, the sample equation, and keywords or phrases we use when performing that operation.

Once we worked through all 4 operations and compared and contrasted them, we read the digital book from my Guided Math Workshop Plans called, "Socks for Knox."

Each page has a different story problem type.  We read the problem and discussed which operation we should use and why.  The answer is less fact, that's why I used very low numbers.  I wanted him to think about the operation and not get caught up in the numbers.

Let's just take a moment to add that I really, *really*, wanted my 2nd grader to dress up in his old doctor outfits and pretend like we were performing surgery, but he wasn't having it.  #boys  This would make a super fun classroom transformation project though! :)

Math Operations Sort

In Guided Math Workshop, Mondays are mostly whole group days where most of the content is frontloaded and introduced.  Then, the rest of the week, kids work independently on the goals and content we learned on Monday.  They solve a new problem independently each day, play a hands on game with a partner, meet with a teacher in a small group to discuss their problem solving and work on a technology based game to practice the math skill from Monday.  You can read more about those routines here.

This week, our hands-on activity was an operations sort! We used the cards to sort symbols, equations, and stories into the 4 operation categories.

These cards can also be used to play memory!

Then, he did a cut and paste sort on his own.

All of this practice made a HUGE difference in his ability to show his strategies during problem-solving.  He was able to name the operation he needed to use and write his equation more easily.  

You can find all of these lesson plans and activities and more in my Guided Math Workshop Plans for 2nd Grade!

Guided Math Workshop was a new structure that came about as I was leaving the classroom for my mommy break.  Why the change in my math block time?  I loved the focus we had on problem solving before, but it was hard for me to feel like I could conference with all of my kids.  I also struggled with the need to do small group instruction, but not having a framework for managing that.

And lastly, I needed more balance between kid-guided problem solving and direct instruction.  So Guided Math Workshop was born.  Here's a look at what a week of guided math workshop looks like now!


On Mondays, we introduce the goal for the week through a mini-lesson.  Sometimes, we read a book, sometimes we watch a video, and sometimes we work through some digital slides with some discussion together.  I spend about 15-30 minutes on this, depending on the activity.  Here is one of our mini-lessons from when we practice drawing shapes with specific attributes with a personal favorite, The Greedy Triangle!

Then, we do a brain break video that relates to our goal for the week.

After our blood is flowing again, we have some kind of math talk that ties to the goal for the week.  This is my chance to model math notation and how to show our thinking during problem solving time.  It also gives my kids a chance to hear strategies from the whole class.  Here's a math talk we did on the dry erase board brainstorming ways to regroup.

And here's another math talk we did using the riddles from The Grapes of Math.

After our math talk, I introduce the hands-on game that the kids will play with partners during the week.  We play the game as a whole group so that I can teach them the game and model how to fill out the response sheet.  And then we are ready for the rest of the week!

Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday

Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays look exactly the same.  This is perfect because if we have a four day week, we can just have 2 days of this rotation schedule instead of 3 and not much is taken away from the math instruction except for more practice time! :)  Here's the routine for these three "rotation" days.

Launch Math Mysteries

For the first 5-10 minutes, we launch the story problem the kids will work on independently for the day.  I edit the launch slide in our rotation slideshow and pull it up during our launch.  We review our goal for the week, read the problem, and we talk about what we know about the story problem and what we are trying to figure out.  The launch is short and sweet, because I want to give kids time to work on the problem and figure it out on their own.  

Then, we continue the rotation board.  This is a timed powerpoint presentation that shows kids exactly where to go. Once I move to this slide, the chimes will sound and the rotations begin.  It will give kids 15 minutes to work on their first rotation.  At the end of 15 minutes, the chimes will sound again and go to the next slide which shows the kids where to move to next.  The names and even the time is completely editable and found in my plans for 1st grade or for 2nd grade.

**NOTE: Yes, I know this doesn't spell math.  Long story short, sometimes the rotations are out of order to make sure each group gets to every station when they need to get to it.  Want the long story?  The very detailed explanation and directions are included in the plans.**

Let's take a closer look at each of the rotations!

M: Meet With Me

During this rotation, kids come back to my small group table.  For *most* kids, this rotation comes immediately after their at my seat time where they have been working on solving the problem.  We use this time to share our strategies with kids who are in similar places in their problem solving skills.  I can use this time to extend or give extra support to these kids and model notation that specifically applies to certain kids.

For my lower babies, they come meet with me first.  Why?  Because most of them are unable to get started independently and need extra support.  So, during their meet with me time, we might act out the story problem or even work through the first level of problems.  By the end of this 15 minutes, these struggling mathematicians are ready to finish solving the rest of the problems independently and they will move straight to At My Seat next.

A: At My Seat

During this rotation, kids work on independently solving all 4 levels of the story problem.  This is a quiet and independent working time for these kids at their seat.  Remember, the low kids have just come from meeting with me for extra support before they start.  And the rest of the groups will be coming to meet with me after this to share their strategies.

T: Technology

During this rotation, kids work on our goal for the week on a device.  I have used websites like dreambox, I-Ready, starfall and abcya.  With my 2nd grader at home this year, I am using these fluency Google Slides assignments.

H: Hands-On

During this rotation, kids play the game we modeled together on Monday.  Some games I play take longer and will take the whole week to finish playing.  With other games, I have the kids use a different version each day (like a new tic tac toe board).  Most games are designed to play with partners, but some can be independent.  This is the only station where kids might be talking/whispering.  So, in general, rotation time is pretty quiet except for your hands-on kids and the kids at your table! :)


After the last rotation, we get back together and reflect.  This is my time to talk about what worked (with the math and with behavior, etc) and what didn't.  It's also a chance for me to address any common problems I saw with the problem solving that day or strategies that I want everyone to see.  But, mostly, this time is more like a class meeting about our math time!


Fridays are non-rotation days! We start off working through our spiral review of grade level math skills with our digital math wall time.

Then, we work on counting collections.  You can read about those routines here, but it's one of my favorites!  

Sometimes, later in the year, I start doing counting collections every other week and fact fluency practice on the off weeks where we practice our math facts.  (Read those routines here!)

If we have time, we do another share time at the end of the day where we share counting or fact fluency strategies, or any other things we need to discuss with our goal for the week!

You can find these detailed plans and materials for 1st and 2nd grade guided math workshop below.

For 10 years, I taught first grade and was used to my kids having a year of solving math word problems under their belt.  We obviously took it slow at the beginning of the year and gradually moved into our "full-blown" routines that you can read more about here.

But when I was asked to fill in for a 12 week long term sub placement in kinder, I knew the routine would be a little bit different for those babies.  I came in January and followed the routines the kinder teacher had started and added to those to get our kinder kids doing "full-blown" math mystery routines in less than 12 weeks.

Program note:  When you write this blog post during an international pandemic, you write about the routines as phases! :)

Kinder Word Problems: Phase 1

In the beginning, when kinders are clueless about how to do school in general, there is lots of hand-holding with math word problems.  While the end goal is for kids to independently solve math word problems and show their thinking all on their own, it takes some work to get there.

In "phase 1" of kinder word problems, we introduce or launch the story problem just as we normally would.  I have the kids get their math brains ready (close their eyes...some put their heads between their knees, ya know...whatever works!) and I read the story problem aloud to them twice.  After I've read it twice, I say, "Ready?" and they lift up their heads and open their eyes and we are ready to chat about it.

I ask, "WHO is the story problem about?" and they all (eventually...sometimes I have to call on a kids at first) answer the name of the person the problem is about.  

Then, I ask, "WHAT is the story problem about?" and they all (eventually) answer with the set, like cookies, crayons, t-shirts, whatever.

Next, I raise my hand so they know to raise their hand to answer and I ask, "What do I know about ____ and her/his _____?"  Then I call one kid at a time to tell me one of the two things I know.

In the problem above, I know that Cooper bought 4 pencils.  I also know that he bought 1 more.  

Finally, I raise my had again so they know to raise their hand to be called on and I ask, "What is it I DON'T know?"  Then, I call on one kids to tell me that.  In the problem above, I don't know how many cookies Cooper has now.  I remind them NOT to shout out any answers.

After we've launched the problem, I turn down the lights and dismiss the kids a few at a time to quietly go back to their seats and get started.  This is a very quiet time, with quiet thinking music on.  There are only a few times in my day that I ask kids not to talk at all, and this is one of them.  It's important that they can concentrate and get their thoughts together.  They are instructed to solve the problem, show their thinking and return to the carpet when the finish.  They sit on the carpet quietly while they wait.  I usually have the whiteboard switched over to the instrumental music video we are playing so they can watch the screens and keep them quiet and calm.  This is my favorite instrumental video that I like to use!

As I see kids on the carpet, I go check their work at their table and make notes of what strategy they used using this record keeping tool.  If I need them to come back, I call them back from the carpet to conference with them about their mistake or how to show their thinking more clearly.

The total work time is usually only 5 minutes--maybe 7 minutes max.  It doesn't take long at all, but the important thing is to establish the routine of working quietly and returning to the carpet when they are done.

After about 5 minutes or when all kids have returned to the carpet, we share.  Share time is short and sweet, but I walk around to the desks and collect usually two math mysteries to show on the board.  Those kids come up, tell us exactly what they did to solve the problem, and then we use star-star-wish to give them feedback.  The star is, "I like how you..." And the wish is "I wish you would have..."  2 stars. 1 wish.  In the beginning, this is more teacher led.  For example, I had kinders that said, "I like your flowers you drew."  And I would add, "Oh, you like how she drew a picture to show how she counted! Yes! I love that too!"

When we are finished sharing, I read them the story problem with the 2nd set of numbers (I erase the first set inside of the problem and write the new set in with pencil. With my first graders I don't have to fill in the blanks with numbers, they can look at the sets and usually do that mentally.  But my kinders need extra support.)  

Then, we go through the exact same routines again.  Launch the problem.  Send kids back quietly with music.  Return to the carpet when the finish solving.  Share time.  We only do two sets of numbers in this phase.  I just X through the bottom boxes before I copy it.

Kinder Word Problems: Phase 2


That was a lot of info for phase 1!

But it's all so necessary to set up important routines for math problem solving.  With our littles, there is no such thing as practicing routines too much, right?

When my kinders have the hang of the phase 1 routine, we go on to phase 2.

The routine is the same for phase 2 in that we...
  • Launch the problem
  • Unpack the problem (who is it about, what is it about, what do I know/don't know?)
  • Work independently
  • Share time
But this time, when the kids finish, they raise their hand.  I quickly glance at their strategy and if they have the correct answer, and I can see how they got it, I just tap their hand and say, "You can do level 2."  Sometimes I reread the problem quickly with the 2nd set of numbers since we only launch the problem with the first set. ("Okay, for level 2, Cooper bought 6 pencils and then bought 4 more...)

Then, that kid moves on to level 2.  If they miscounted or I don't see how they got their answer, I conference with them about that and have them redo/add to their level 1 work.  Then, they can raise their hand again for me to recheck.

When they finish, level 2, they go to the carpet and sit quietly while watching the instrumental music video--just like in phase 1.  Again, once most kids are to the carpet, we share.  We hang out in phase 2 just long enough for kids to get fluent with the routine.

Kinder Word Problems: Phase 3

Phase 3 is very much like phase 2.  The only difference is that I read both sets of numbers in the story problem when we launch and they can move on to level 2 on their own without raising their hand.  This just adds more independence.  

Once they finish both levels, they go to the carpet and wait...just as before.  As I see kids on the carpet, I look over both of their number set levels and call them back if I need to conference with them.  If not, they can stay on the carpet until it's share time.

So, if that's the only difference, why can we just add that in with phase 2?  Because, the key to establishing a successful routine with word problems in kindergarten is taking baby steps.  Phase 2 is training them do 2 levels without needing a share time in between.

The purpose of phase 3 is to encourage them to self-check their work and decide independently when they are ready to move on to the 2nd set of numbers.  It also helps them handle talking about two different sets of numbers.

Kinder Word Problems: Phase 4

Phase 4 is where we land and it's where my kinders really start LOVING math mystery time!

The difference in this step is adding more challenging number sets so they are solving 4 number sets each time. 

I set up our challenge numbers as something super exciting, and make it where they WANT the hard numbers.  When we launch the problem and I read through the first two number sets, I then write on the board what the two challenge numbers will be.  They LOVE watching me write the challenge sets and setting goals for which color sets they want to get! :)

I color code the challenge sets with two different colors.  One color set (like pink in the photo below) is harder than the other color.   

How do I choose the 2 challenge number sets?  The first regular set of numbers are within 10 (the kinder standard).  The second set of numbers are within 20 or within 10 still depending on my kids.  So for the challenge sets I think about two "groups" of my kinders who might typically be my early finishers.  Usually I have on grade level or just above grade level kids that are early finishers and then a group of kids well above grade level.

So based on that, I would make a blue set of numbers (like in the example below) for those on or just above kids and a red set for my well above kids.  When they are on the carpet, and I know to check their work, I also use their work as information to know which number sets they should do.

As time goes on, you may find you need to add a third set of numbers that are just more on-grade level number sets for kids that commonly miscount.

Word Problem Templates

These are the templates I use for the word problems.  I used the same ones in 1st grade as well.  All I do is add names into the story and write in number sets in the top two boxes.  

In kinder, I leave the bottom two boxes blank.  Those are for the challenge sets we use in phase 4! :)  Once they are ready for a challenge set, I have them "Do the blue sets in the bottom boxes."

You can find the free sample plus a year long bundle here.  
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