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September 3, 2014

Simplifying Workshop

This year seems like it's almost been too easy (knock on wood).  The second week of school the honeymoon felt like it had ended.  Now that it's the 4th week of school, we are in a definite routine, and I absolutely positively love my class.
Jivey mentioned linking up our workshop ideas with her blog, so I wanted to share how I've simplified workshop time this year.  Make sure to pop on over to her blog to see other ideas too!  

First up - in past years I always did workshop directly during or after the specific subject.  I did the math rotations during math time, the ELA ones afterward, and this year I thought it would happen that same way.  Then I started working with the new math curriculum and got our new schedule (PE, music, library, computer lab 2x a week, ELD pull out, etc...) and it just wasn't going to work with kids constantly being gone (and we didn't have 3 hours to spend on math...  I also am blessed with 7 parent volunteers and an 8th grade TA three afternoons a week.  So I had to rework the schedule, and I'm so glad I did.

I always had Social Studies and Science at the end of the day, but now that time is for workshop while my TA is around to help monitor the stations.  Social Studies and Science have turned into my "nonfiction" reading time before lunch, and so far it's working perfectly!  Each rotation is for 15 minutes, there are 2 Math rotations and 2 ELD.  I have been able to conference with students during that hour time period and pull for intervention.  Yesterday I tackled fluency testing and almost got through the entire class.      

In past years I used 4 colored pockets charts to keep track of it all...I had student numbers/names on the charts and I would rotate them around on the board.  This year I simplified and made up 4 groups of kids (8 in each group).  I just stuck colored stickers on their name tags to show the groups (green, red, yellow, and blue).  It's simple, but it's working.  I'm planning on changing out the groups every month or so.      

For task card stations, I am using 4 empty pencil boxes to store the cards.  2 groups meet on the floor, 1 group meets at the table, and 1 sits at their desks.  At one time I have all the pencil boxes going at a time, and being in a pencil box the students have to put them all away.  Things larger than a pencil box are put in larger baskets.

The students also love using our Listening Center.  I have their ear buds in the baskets on the ground (8 per tub), and the groups rotate through the 8 mp3 players.  The mp3's only have our Open Court stories on them, so they are able to listen to our story of the week, or past stories.  So far, so good! 

Do you have workshop in your classroom?  How have you simplified it?  I'm always looking for suggestions!

Hope you had a great day!  

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