Math Workshop has been focused primarily on setting the tone for routines, and establishing habits of learning for the school year. During our first classes each student was invited to explore the math manipulatives the teachers would be introducing during upcoming math classes. Starting a new math program, Investigations, calls for careful planning, particularly because it requires children to use materials in an open ended manner and, through this experience, to discover the possibilities and potential of different math supplies.
Following the materials experience, the students were introduced to math workshop routines. Each student was given a small math notebook and a special Math Folder in which to store completed work. Initially the children engaged in different math activities as a class, again to become more familiar with the routines related to developing mathematical thinking and knowledge. Slowly, the teacher presented math centers to the child. As they completed these centers they were taught to document their work, either in their math notebook or on teacher-designed worksheets.
As the children continue their work in Math Workshop they are encountering a variety of math concepts. They are making math connections about numbers and quantity, up to ten and twenty, depending on the activity. They are also learning to break quantities up into smaller parts and then putting them back together again. This is setting the stage for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division. By focusing on quantities, the students are building an understanding of the relationship between 10’s and 1’s, parts and whole, and reciprocals. They are also thinking in base-ten units. Students are grouping numbers in a variety of ways, as they think about the patterns and logical sequences.