The school year is halfway through. If you’re like me, you are thankful for this winter break and are enjoying time with family. You are also using your break to review what is working in your classroom and what needs to be changed.

**Today I will share with you how you can set up and organize a math workshop model that will help you reach every student!** I hope you will take this guide, modify as needed, and use it in your classroom to help you and your students have a successful year!

## In this guide I will cover these topics:

*How to***organize**your students into small groups*How to find***practical and concise**material to differentiate your instruction*How to set up math stations that are***painless**to manage

The goal of this math workshop model is to set up** a system that gives students responsibility.** They will know where to go and what to do. They will know what is expected of them and stay on task. This means you can use every minute to focus your attention on a small group of students.

### STEP #1 – ORGANIZE YOUR STUDENTS

Here is the most important part – organizing your students into groups. It is difficult to do this at the beginning of the year, but by now you know your students better than anyone. Yes, you can look at the data collected by those online assessments, but lets face it – those assessments are sometimes way off. Use whatever data you have as a start, but use your professional judgment to make the final call.

## Sticky notes – a teacher’s best friend 😉

*Write each student name on a sticky note/index card/ect. This will make moving students around a simple task.* I had some extra TABS that I used. Now let’s get started. I typed up a nice little page for you to use as you are brainstorming groups (click to print). It will help you think of the following…

- Who are my
**struggling**students that need*remediation*? - Who is right on target (grade level)?
- Who has
**mastered**the skills & needs*enrichment*? - Which students can NOT be in the same group?
- Which students have STRONG
*teamwork*skills?

Now’s the fun part – start putting the sticky notes in those groups. Notice how there are TWO groups for struggling students. You will meet with these students twice a week in small groups. Below is an example of what your small group planning sheet may look like.

Now that you have your students in groups, it’s time to write this down on the ‘official’ math group page (click to print). Keep in mind when you want to meet with your students. Use the following as a guide:

Now you should have a pretty list that looks something like this. Be sure to print out extra sheets and keep them in the sheet protector, so you can make changes to the groups as needed.

### STEP #2 – USE PRACTICAL AND CONCISE MATERIAL

After you form your groups you need to decide what you’re going to teach and how you’re going to organize it. Finding quality material for each group can easily turn into a time consuming task. After 5 years of teaching 3rd grade, I have come up with a math curriculum series that will **save you time and make planning small groups a breeze**. This will ensure that you use each minute effectively.

## How do I decide what to teach?

You could continue to focus on skills you taught during your whole-group instruction. You could also decide to focus on the concepts that students struggled on during the first part of the school year.

Let’s look at the following..

- Part 1: How to keep
**organized***lesson plans* - Part 2: How to keep track of
**each student’s***level of mastery*

##### Math Binder – Part 1

I’ve typed up a **one page** small group – lesson plan template on excel. This is so convenient, because you can *plan your entire week on one page* and have a clear view of what you are going to teach. This lesson plan template is pretty neat because I’ve included *drop-down menus* to **make lesson planning simple**.

The editable lesson plan templates are available for grades 1-5 and you can choose the following from the **drop down menus**:

- The domain you are focusing on
- The standard being taught/reviewed
- The problem solving strategy you are working on
- *S
*ome*of the templates include standards from the previous and next grade, so you can keep track of remediation & enrichment.

Click on the pictures to download a blank PDF version of the lesson plan template.

##### Math Binder – Part 2

There is also a sheet that you can use for **each student**. Yes, it seems like a lot of work, but if you organize the sheets per group it won’t take more than a few of minutes to check the standards for each student.

To make this section you will need 4 dividers with tabs. Label them Group 1, Group 2, Group 3, and Group 4 (see pictures below). You will need to print a level of mastery sheet for each student.

When organizing the level of mastery sheets, group them together according to what math small group they are in. So, if students #2, 5, 7, 8, and 12 are in group 2, I would put those sheets behind the Group 2 tab in the binder.

Click the images below to download a PDF version of the common core math checklists.

Purchase the Math Tri-Folds and make your small group lesson planning a breeze.

### STEP #3 – SET UP MATH STATIONS

I have always displayed the math rotations on pocket charts, but I’ve decided to do something different. I set up the math rotations display on an easel. The rotation cards are printed on regular sheets of paper and are inside sheet protectors. This allows me to write down what is expected at each station. It also makes changing the dates simple! (Download the rotation cards here.

Students also have a copy of where they go inside their math workshop folder. I also have master in my math binder. (Download the student folder sheets here.)

## What do students do during each rotation?

When finding material for math stations I ask myself the following:

*Are they aligned to the standards?*There are a lot of cute games out there, but we don’t have time for busy work in my class.*Are they simple to assemble/maintain?*I like math stations that I can print/laminate and can store for years to come.*Are they interesting/fun?*Everyone needs a break from boring paperwork, so I want students to learn and have fun during this time.

Now let’s look at each math station.

##### Math Rotation #1 – Teacher

This is when students come to the teacher and have a small group math lesson that is focused on remediation or enrichment. We may complete a math tri-fold during this time or review something the students struggled with during whole-group instruction.

##### Math Rotation #2 – Computer

My school bought a subscription to iXL.com. Students complete standards that I’ve assigned them (on rotations display). You can also assign students math activities using MangaHigh.com.

##### Math Rotation #3 – Independent

This rotation is where I place math board games, task cards, sorts, or interactive notebook activities. I write down what students are to do on the rotations display. Math games are stored inside plastic drawers (extra wide). I place the games that students are going to work on in the colorful drawers. Students take the game with them to their math spot. *I will post about how I organize math games in a future post.*

**Math Board****Games & Task Cards**– I LOVE this packet of math board games and task cards. They are grouped by domain, so it makes finding the right math center an easy task. There are matching games, board games, and task cards for students to complete. (Click to view 3rd grade)*Expect a packet for grades 4 & 5 in the near future.***Math Sorts**– This is my newest product for 3rd grade. You will find math sorts that cover ALL 3rd grade math standards. You can learn more about math sorts here. (2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade)**Interactive Math Vocabulary**– Students love interactive notebooks, and this product focuses on vocabulary. (Click to view 3rd grade)*I will be working on grade 2, 4, and 5 soon.*

##### Math Rotation #4 – iPad

Students can use this time to practice their math facts. Below is a list of free apps.

Another student favorite is the use of QR codes. Students complete task cards, record, and check using the QR codes. You can use the following sheet to plan your rotations for the entire week!

#### Let’s Review!

In order to successfully implement this math workshop model, you will need to…

- Organize you students into 4 groups.
- Use standard specific material during small group meetings
- Set up a math rotations display so student know where to go
- Set up student math folders where they keep their math workshop material
- Set up math stations that are easy to manage
- Review expectations, practice, & review some more!

## 65 Comments

## Joan

January 2, 2016 at 2:57 amThis was very informative and gave me very helpful tips to get small groups going. Thank you for sharing your organization tips and ideas!

## Math Tech Connections

January 2, 2016 at 2:58 amThank you so much for your kind words 🙂 I’m so happy you found some ideas you can use in your classroom!

## Mandy Vehorn

July 23, 2017 at 3:20 pmI wanted to try guided math groups last year but chickened out because I had a very high maintenance group. I teach 4th grade, 2 sections/classes of math per day. This year I will have 23 students in one class and 18 in the other. However I only have 60 -70 minutes max to teach each class. Do you think I can be successful with this? I would greatly appreciate any advice/feedback!

## Kattia Chaves Herrera

March 29, 2017 at 10:45 amThank you so much for sharing these awesome ideas and documents. You are very kind. I will make sure we implement them for our ESOL math groups.

## Kylie

July 18, 2017 at 6:34 pmDo you teach any whole group instruction? Is that was you are doing when they meet with the teacher? And how long do you have them spend at each station?

## Mrs. Santillana

July 19, 2017 at 5:58 amI will write some more posts about this very soon. But for now… yes, I sometimes teach whole instruction. It is usually word problems that I use to explain my thinking aloud – much like when you are teaching students to think while they read (metacognition). It never more than 15 minutes. My goal is to teach the main lesson during small groups. This is where I differentiate how I teach the lesson and where I vary my support. We spend about 20 minutes at each math station. I’m not sure if you’ve read this post: http://mathtechconnections.com/2017/07/09/three-or-four-math-groups/

or this one: http://mathtechconnections.com/2017/06/29/what-you-need-to-know-before-you-start-guided-math/

## Gina

August 5, 2017 at 7:38 pmThank you for taking the time to explain your approach for math stations. I love the forms. I think they will truly help keep all of the details organized so that I can focus on the teaching.

## Java

January 3, 2016 at 12:28 pmThank you so much! This is very helpful. This is the closest I have come to being able to organize centers in my class. I was trying to do six groups but I will narrow it down to four groups. Thank you again!

## Math Tech Connections

January 3, 2016 at 12:43 pmI am SO happy to help 🙂 Let me know if you have any questions!

## Lolita

January 4, 2016 at 11:46 pmall of this is wonderful and Ive started implementing today. How can I download the math workshop lesson plan template that includes the dropdown box menus? That would be so helpful.

Thank you

## Math Tech Connections

January 5, 2016 at 12:54 amPlease go here 🙂 here

## Kimberly Baumgarten

February 14, 2016 at 5:48 pmWhat is the approximate date that you will have the 1sr grade math tri-folds completed?

## Math Tech Connections

February 15, 2016 at 10:46 amI am working on them, i’m going to try and contact you on the email you left. I taught 1st grade 5 years ago, but want to get an opinion of a current 1st grade teacher.

## Autumn

February 14, 2016 at 10:23 pmGreat article with lots of food for thought!

## Melissa

February 15, 2016 at 10:56 amThank you for all the free downloads. This will help me to get super organized.

## Math Tech Connections

February 15, 2016 at 10:59 amI am happy to help 🙂 Once you get a schedule going, math workshop doesn’t seem an impossible task. Good luck! I’d love to know how it goes 🙂

## Nelmi Santiago

February 17, 2016 at 9:49 amThis is wonderfull!! I don’t have ipads or computers or laptops, but I think I could do it with manipulatives only. What domyou think?

## Math Tech Connections

February 17, 2016 at 12:55 pmOh course! You could do a manipulative station. There are TONS of great activities made on TPT that will save you time 🙂

## Melody

February 28, 2016 at 6:08 pmYou are absolutely amazing!!!!

## Melody

February 28, 2016 at 6:08 pmYou are absolutely amazing!!!! I love your work and reading your blogs!

## Math Tech Connections

February 28, 2016 at 6:58 pmThank you so much 🙂 I am SO happy you found this helpful 😀

## Cindy

March 6, 2016 at 4:23 pmWhat a wonderful resource! Will you be uploading materials for Kindergarten?

## Diana

June 5, 2016 at 5:39 amI would also love materials for kindergarten.

## Kris Mertens

March 13, 2016 at 5:22 pmJust found your site. I am looking at several things as I start looking at changes for next year. Just a few questions if you have a moment. What do you do with the tri-folds after completing? Is that something I can have them glue into interactive notebook ?

## Math Tech Connections

March 13, 2016 at 5:30 pmHey! Usually tri-folds 1 and 2 are completed during small group instruction. They then whole punch them and put them in a binder (binders are kept in their cubbies). It’s great because students have a collection divided by tabs for each strand. The 3rd tri-fold is graded and sent home in their Thursday folder 🙂

You could glue them in a notebook, but you would have to glue the side with the name of the tri-fold. If you have anymore questions, feel free to send me an email @ mathtechconnections@gmail.com

## Nicole

April 23, 2016 at 12:43 pmThis is amazing, but again I love everything you do! Similar to your blog post on reading workshop…what does your math workshop look like? How long do you meet with each group? I try to meet with everyone every day and it can be very overwhelming. If I could make this work and convince my principal…I think I would feel way less overwhelmed.

## Math Tech Connections

April 23, 2016 at 1:05 pmHey, thanks! I’ve switched it so many times…even during each year it changes. I start with just meeting with one group per day when I start introducing centers. We then gradually increase the time of math workshop and the number of groups I see. Sometimes I meet with one group in the morning and then 2 groups in the afternoon. Sometimes I meet with two groups on one day and then the other two the next day. It really has to do with your schedule. I don’t see why your principal would say no. Teaching in small group really is the way to go. You can help students at their level and really help them as soon as they need it. I’ve found that when you teach whole group those that don’t understand get very behind… and those who get it, get so bored. Good luck, let me know if you want me to help you brainstorm a schedule. You can email me at mathtechconnections@gmail.com 🙂

Mariela

## Michelle Carr

May 14, 2016 at 4:36 pmThank you so much! I’m a teacher in Australia so Common Core isn’t applicable to us here but the concepts and ideas are! I run my maths group rotations similar to the way you do so these resources are fabulous! Thank you so much…Michelle from Sydney Aust

## Sara

May 26, 2016 at 8:41 pmI love the idea of math stations. I am a middle school math intervention teacher and wanted to do stations but was they never got past the planning stage. Do you have any material for 6-8th grade?

## Belinda

May 30, 2016 at 7:04 pmThe information, especially the templates, are so helpful! Thank you for your incredible post!

## Sarah

June 7, 2016 at 8:45 pmAny chance you plan to create this for kindergarten? I am in love with this set up!

## Jamie Kitlen

June 15, 2016 at 12:57 pmThis is awesome! I’m ready to get back to school to try this. I was wondering how long they stay at their station?

## D Kimmel

June 21, 2016 at 11:38 pmI was so happy to find this pin. You’ve outlined exactly what I’ve been hoping to incorporate next year. I will be purchasing your TpT products very soon. Thank you for sharing your hard work.

## Kimberly

June 27, 2016 at 12:28 amThis is amazing!!! I was the ELA fourth grade teacher last year and will be the Math/Science fourth grade teacher for the upcoming school year. I was not happy about this and not sure where to begin and what to do. I have been searching for ideas and stations and your information came up. I was super excited to see everything that you have done and willingly shared. I would like to say a great BIG THANK YOU for doing this. I was not comfortable with what to do and you have laid it all out for me. You are truly amazing! I saw in your post that you mentioned that you had fourth grade centers coming soon. Are they available now? How long do students stay in their centers?

## Stacy

June 29, 2016 at 5:49 pmThank you so much for this! I have always struggled with small groups in math. We do Engage New York for whole group instruction. If you have time, how do you implement this while doing while group instruction? Thank you 🙂

## Cindy

July 7, 2016 at 11:43 amHi.

Can you clarify how his Day A to Day C works both within a typical day and a 5 day week. Are you doing any whole group math instruction on new standards or are all new concepts taught in this format? I can’t figure out if there’s some whole group lesson time daily or if perhaps that’s done 1-2 days a week and then the workstations days A to C are the other 3 days of a typical 5 day week. Are the workstations your whole math teaching block or just a par of it?

Also, your answer on 4/23 about how you teach the workstations confuses me as it mentions seeing 1 group in the am and 2 groups in the PM which equals 3 groups a day and it looks like the workshop is set up for 2 groups a day??

Can you explain more about the QR codes? You said”Another student favorite is the use of QR codes. Students complete task cards, record, and check using the QR codes. You can use the following sheet to plan your rotations for the entire week!” Thank you . A friend referred me to your site.

## Lauren Barnes

July 8, 2016 at 2:50 pmI think you are great and I love your ideas! I cannot wait to buy the 4th grade center bundle and interactive vocabulary set! When will you be selling those?

## Diane

July 11, 2016 at 1:36 pmThank you! I am starting a position teaching division 2 opportunity ( basically grade 4,5,6 at grade 1,2,3, or more levels). I have been fretting about how I can get organized, especially as I can not do to much planning until I meet the kids and find out where they are at. I am just starting to read your website but think you will be a tremendous help. Thanks again.

## Tamala Wells

July 19, 2016 at 12:01 pmIs it possible to create this for 6th grade?

## Ayanna Zimmermon

July 22, 2016 at 7:07 pmYES!!! YOU ARE A JEWEL!!!! THANK YOU FOR THIS!!!!

## Lisa Stubblebine

July 22, 2016 at 9:30 pmLove everything I just read here. Question for you. Do you know where I can get this in sixth grade checklist and other forms? Thanks.

## Tina Dittrich

July 25, 2016 at 10:39 amI am going to begin a Blended Learning Rotation Model within my 5th grade classroom this year. Your organization is OUTSTANDING and I will be using it to help me with the process of bringing in workshops.

## Bethaney Jones

August 4, 2016 at 12:35 pmThank you so much for this post. I am a first-year 3rd grade math and science teacher. This post and information along with the handouts has helped me get my small group planning organized.

## Stephanie Moberly

August 8, 2016 at 1:51 pmI love the drop down options! Is there anyway you have one for 6th grade?!?

## Kari Keck

August 11, 2016 at 10:23 amI am getting ready to begin implementing Guided Math and your forms are really helping me with planning. Thanks so much!

## Goals for the First 5 Days of Math Workshop - Math Tech Connections

August 12, 2016 at 2:58 am[…] been thinking about my math block A LOT. I am SO thankful that I wrote this detailed blog post of how I ran my math work block. I just reread it and printed the sheets to get myself started […]

## Jackie

August 20, 2016 at 8:52 pmHow do you use the trifolds? What does whole group consist of? How long is your whole group? Do you use a specific curriculum, and do students complete independent work in a book? Thanks! 🙂

## Kindra

August 24, 2016 at 10:04 pmAre Day A,B, and C all separate days? If yes, do you take 3 days to teach one standard? I love this idea and would like to try it, just trying to wrap my head around only 2 stations a day. Thanks!

## Janet Garrett

September 11, 2016 at 5:34 pmThis post was so helpful , since I’m teaching Math for the first time in many years. Plus, I’m trying to set up rotations in my own room. However, even though I signed up for your blog quite some time ago, it wouldn’t allow me to download your templates or your Math Intervention Guide. I even tried signing up again, but it didn’t make a difference. Suggestions? jgteach2reach@yahoo.com. Thank you so much!!

## Lynne

September 23, 2016 at 7:40 pmI just purchased your 3rd grade tri-fold product and it is great however on one of your previews it shows the learning goals on the product but when downloaded the learning goals are not on there. Was this a mistake? I hope I was not seeing things. lol 🙂

## Math Tech Connections

October 28, 2016 at 6:49 pmPlease re-download them. They should be there – email me if they are not 🙂

## kelly schumeyer

October 29, 2016 at 10:03 amHello! I love your system here! I’m curious if you do whole group and if so how long? How do you use the trifolds? Also in a 5 day week can you explain a bit more how that works? Is it Monday- A, Tuesday B, Wednesday- C, Thursday (Start over on day A) etc? Please get back to me as soon as possible. Thank you!! 🙂

## Scarleth

November 8, 2016 at 9:55 pmHello! Thank you so much for all your helpful information! It’s my first year teaching and I’m beyond overwhelmed. After reading your post I feel more confident in beginning the implementation of DI. Do you happen to have resources for 1st grade?

## Brewington

February 1, 2017 at 11:57 pmYou have taken tons of stress off of me. I have been struggling with doing math centers and now it is crunch time. Thank you so much this is going to work for me.

## Christine

June 12, 2017 at 10:08 amAmazing!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this. You’ve put so much work into it and it’s very much appreciated!

## Carmen Cotton

June 19, 2017 at 9:45 amHi! This resource is awesome!! I teach 4th grade and this resource for my specific grade level would be a tremendous help for the start of the year. I know you are probably trying to enjoy your summer can you provide a tentative timeline of completion for grade four? Oh where are my manners. THANKS for all the amazing downloads!

## Patti

July 7, 2017 at 9:24 pmWow! This is soooo helpful! I’m revamping my math centers this summer and I know this is going to help me set them up when I start the new year. One question…. Do you really only have 18 students in your class? If so, you are truly blessed and so are your kiddos!

## Mrs. Santillana

July 8, 2017 at 7:30 amHey! Organizing for the next year was one of my favorite things to do during the summer 🙂 Yes, in Florida the maximum number of students is 18 (grades K-3). I actually had 16 students one year – it was amazing! Next year, however, I will be a full-time curriculum designer for my store, Math Tech Connections. I have mixed feelings for sure. Good luck organizing, and let me know if you have any questions.

## Kristi

July 14, 2017 at 2:15 pmI teach 3rd grade and I came across your blog. It’s awesome and I LOVE how informative and thorough it is! I am looking to change my math rotations for next year. The structures of math workshop I tried were just too overwhelming in that it was really a challenge to meet with all students every day. I plan to have 4 groups next year and I appreciate seeing that there are 2 rotations for each group each day. I definitely plan on trying this structure next year, and I look forward to trying this out with my 3rd graders. Thank you so much for all of the information and the freebies! 🙂

## Kimberly Baldwin

July 16, 2017 at 3:39 pmOh my goodness! You are an angel, this is wonderful information you have generously shared. A million thank yous!!

## Mrs. Santillana

July 19, 2017 at 5:53 amYou’re so welcome! If you can take any of this information and put it to use in your classroom, then I am one happy teacher! I KNOW that guided math is the way to go to reach every student 🙂

## Mrs. Bequer

July 19, 2017 at 5:51 amI came across your post on pinterest, and I loved it! I tried stations last year and had some success, I am looking for more… Thank you for the step by step instructions. I can’t wait to implemented in my class.

## Mrs. Santillana

July 19, 2017 at 5:58 amYou are so very welcome! Please make sure you read my three latest blog posts:

http://mathtechconnections.com/2017/06/25/5-reasons-why-math-centers-dont-work/

http://mathtechconnections.com/2017/06/29/what-you-need-to-know-before-you-start-guided-math/

http://mathtechconnections.com/2017/07/09/three-or-four-math-groups/

## Jenine

July 22, 2017 at 11:18 pmThanks for sharing all of this great information. It’s very useful for those who are trying to figure out how to get started!

## Paige

August 3, 2017 at 3:56 pmThis is so great! I want to start Math Rotations this year and this information will really help me get started. Thank you!