## Essentials for Math Workshop

In thinking about tonight’s #talkmath chat re: math workshop, I wanted to share what I think are two essential components of math workshop and how we’ve used digital tools to support them.

**LANGUAGE**

Students either love math or hate math. Some even say math is boring. But math isn’t boring, it’s just a language that is still foreign to them. The terms, symbols, and even written language is different than what we read or hear at home. I find that a math workshop should not be a silent one. I want to hear math chatter, kids going back and forth arguing over a problem, questioning each other, typing away, speaking in “math”. The goal is for our students to become literate mathematicians. How can we do this?

- Have math activities or games that forces students to work together and engage in conversations
- Use sentence stems and repeat them in mini-lessons, small groups, wherever you can. Create the math culture one line at a time!
- Instead of a worksheet, provide only 3 problems and have students write out how their thinking process. Then, share.
- Use exemplars or open-ended problems

*How Technology Helps:*

Technology offers so many possibilities for students to read, write, and talk about math! Here are just a few suggestions:

- Put math problems in a basket and let students draw them one at a time. With their math partner (or independently), students use any
**video-making**app to show their work and talk out loud to explain every step of their thinking process. Export videos to Dropbox, Googledocs, or even a digital board like Padlet or Linoit.

http://www.educreations.com/lesson/view/divide-by-a-two-digit-number/18893483/?s=UpPqVP&ref=app

- Post two or three math problems on a digital board (Padlet, Lino, Popplet) or a social learning network (Kidblog, Edmodo, Pinterest, etc..). Students type out their strategies for solving the problem by
**writing it as a post**or commenting under the math problem. In doing so, they are able to read strategies tried by classmates. Maybe someone else’s strategy was more efficient!

- Use Book Creator to create
**iNotebooks**as a center. Let students create pages to show their understanding of a mini-lesson. They can create videos, audios, visuals, or just write. They are using language to create personalized notebooks.

**AUTHENTICITY**

Math has a purpose only when we give it a purpose. Practice worksheets are not a purpose. Yes, it’s hard to always relate it to the real world but as much as possible, make math real. Make math part of life.

- Write 2-3 word problems that really relate to issues students their age deal with. One good word problem is worth ten bad math problems. It will stick in their minds.
- Design real-life math activities rather than isolated problems. For example, fractions and baking for class party, estimation and purchasing a dog Christmas basket, perimeter/area and building a class bookshelf. Often times, it will spiral in other math concepts.

*How Technology Helps*:

- Type out 3-4 math problems that require students to gather information from real-life apps we use everyday. Not only will students find purpose for math, they are learning useful skills and useful life tools. Here’s a list of some apps and math concept ideas. You probably will come up with even better ideas!

ESPN Scorecenter – decimals

Weather Channel – temperature, mean, median, mode, range, graphing

Google Maps – elapsed time, measurement

Amazon – rounding, decimals, percents

Clock/Timer – statistics, graphing, elapsed time

Zillow/Realtor – place value, comparing large numbers

All Recipes – fractions, ratios

Stubhub – decimals, multiplying decimals

Yelp – average (ratings), decimals (distance)

McDonald’s App (has nutritional facts) – any numbers & operations, metric conversions, percents, comparing numbers, round

Living Social – ratios, percents, multiplication

Great post! Thanks for all the resources and ideas!

My pleasure, Mary!

I love the focus on authenticity. When we make it real, students not only respond in a more engaged manner but also practice for real life! Thanks for the reminder and the practical strategies!

You’re welcome and thanks for adding your thoughts, Dahlia. 🙂

You have shared two big ideas here – they are really two posts! I love the thinking about math as it’s own language. The use of technology could be very helpful in making student’s thinking visible. I wonder if it might be a good first step to show how easy it is to share their thinking and support writing their thinking. I love the reoccurring message about doing less math practice. Less is more. Your ideas for visiting apps for numbers to work with has some real possibilities. You’ve given me lots to think about.