Guided Math Workshop: How to Plan Teacher Tips

How I Plan Guided Math Workshop as a Second Grade Teacher

Being a K-2 teacher, it can be hard to know where exactly to start when it comes to planning a guided math workshop. That’s why I want to show you exactly how I plan for an entire month of guided math workshop. 

Planning Guided Math Workshop Will Set You Up for Success

I’m a firm believer that when you have an organized math workshop plan, you’re setting everyone up for success. Keep reading for a complete walk-through of daily math rotations, how to plan a month in advance, and how to organize student rotations.

The Basics

Keep math workshop down to three daily rotations. I find that 3 rotations at 20 minutes each are doable and consistent. Plus, students catch onto this routine very quickly.

Three recommended rotations are: teacher table, independent work, and math centers

Students complete each of these rotations every single day. 

Planning My Month of Guided Math Workshop

When looking ahead, it’s best to plan a month in advance. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you have everything taken care of, but you can at least have a big picture of what skills and standards you’ll be covering.

First look at your pacing guide and decide what you need to be teaching. These skills and standards will be what you focus your whole group mini-lessons on and your teacher table lessons on. Because I have a district-mandated curriculum to follow, I usually organize those lessons and activities. If I don’t love what you’re finding in the curriculum, you can hopefully choose to supplement with activities and lessons of your choice!

Next, plan out your math centers for the month. Try to use 4-5 centers each week. Most of the math centers I use are review. Never include math centers that cover skills you haven’t learned yet. That’s just asking for trouble!

Image shows a monthly planning sheet for math centers

This planning sheet will help you get everything organized! It helps you know which centers you need to pull out each week, and you can use it as a checklist to know whether or not it’s prepped and ready to go!

The third rotation you can have planned is for independent work time. Right after the teacher table, the students who were with me go directly to independent work. Most days I will give students their independent work during the last few minutes at the teacher table. If needed, you can review with students how to complete the work, and sometimes you’ll do a few problems together. Then, when it’s time for their independent work rotation, they know exactly what to do! 

Image shows a weekly planning sheet for guided math lessons.

Organizing Student Rotations

I’ve tried many different ways of communicating with my students which rotation they are supposed to be at and when, but I finally found my favorite solution… Individual student rotation charts! You will love them too!

Read more about using individual rotation charts in this post!

Image shows a guided math workshop student rotation sheet

Because I have 3 math rotations, I split my class into 3 groups for rotations. Three rotations to manage is key for you too! Each group has their own specific order for the three rotations. Create 3 different rotation charts, and print one-off for each student to keep in a sheet protector. Students love having their own chart to follow, and you can always keep the master charts in your math binder.

Classroom Tested Resources

For math centers, I prefer to use specific standards-based activities rather than seasonal math centers. These first-grade math centers and 2nd-grade math centers will help you find exactly what you need since there are 3-4 math centers for each standard.

Image shows a first grade math center called "Addition Surgery"

I also cannot live without the editable rotation charts for math! It’s a must-have for you! I mentioned earlier how helpful they were for my students to follow, and they’re definitely something you should use every year!

Want to Know More?

While I tried to quickly go through how I plan and run math workshop, you might still want to know more. That’s why I’ve created this FREE Small Group Workbook for you! It goes into even more detail about math and reading small groups! You can download a copy for yourself right here!

Image links to a free teacher's guide to small groups to help with guided math workshop

You might also like this post: Getting Started with Guided Math!

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