Incorporating the Workshop Model in Math (K-2)

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Overview and Purpose

Welcome to Incorporating the Workshop Model in Math (K-2)! This course is intended to teach educators how to apply the workshop model with mathematics and specific independent or collaborative learning activities that follow a mini-lesson. At the end of this course you will be able to…

  • Structure math block with the workshop model
  • Apply the current curriculum within a mini-lesson
  • Utilize a variety of math activities and games through math work stations
  • Lead productive small groups

Needs Assessment

What is the Instructional Problem?

EdChoice recently conducted a survey focusing on teacher reflections and take aways of the 2020-2021 school year and next steps moving into the 2021-2022 school year. Survey findings highlighted a major challenge teachers are now facing this school year after teaching online last year. The “nationally representative sample of 1,001 teachers” found that “Less than one out of every five teachers said their students were progressing “very well” academically, emotionally, or socially, which is consistent with results from our March survey”. Furthermore, the national polling report indicated, “less than a third of teachers thought 81-100 percent of their students were prepared to join the next grade.” In fact, “One out of every five teachers indicated less than 40 percent of their students were ready.” (Kristof, 2021). Overall, teachers have expressed that their 2020-2021 students showed less growth than a typical school year and lacked essential skills for the next school year. This poses an instructional problem when returning to face to face instruction this school year as teachers are expected to teach grade level curriculum, yet a majority of students may be lacking or missed out on skills and knowledge from the previous school year.

Who are the Learners?

The learners will be elementary teachers who have conducted diagnostic assessments (pre-assessment) in mathematics and have found a wide range of learners in their class. Learners (teachers) may be looking for solutions to the instructional problem stated above while still teaching grade level curriculum and standards. Learners should have some familiarity with differentiated and inclusionary practices. Finally, content from this course will be delivered virtually so learners must have access to a computer and internet.

What will be Learned?

This course will guide Kindergarten to 2nd Grade educators in learning ways to implement the workshop model within their current mathematics curriculum to facilitate learning experiences for a wide range of student learners. Teachers will explore a variety of math games/activities and learn to implement materials “that are aimed at a level that is challenging and yet attainable” for their students (Larson & Lockee, 2020, p. 199).

What are the Learner Goals?

The main goal for learners is to prepare teachers with strategies to instruct current curriculum and grade level standards while also providing opportunities for differentiation within their classroom.

Performance Objectives

  • Learners will identify the benefits of the workshop model.
  • Learners will be able to structure their math block using the workshop model approach.
  • Learners will be able to analyze diagnostic data to create small groups.
  • Learners will be able to utilize embedded training of computer skills in virtual games.
  • Learners will be able to incorporate appropriate hands on math games within their math block.

Task Analysis and Course Units

Unit 1: What is the workshop model? Why should it be used in math?

Prerequisites: Learners must have some familiarity with differentiated and inclusionary practices.

At the end of this unit learners will be able to…

  • Define the workshop model
  • Identify the benefits of the model
  • Create a basic structure of a math block using the workshop model


Unit 2: How to create Small Groups

Prerequisites: Learners must complete Unit 1 and have a strong understanding of the workshop model.

At the end of this unit learners will be able to…

  • Assess and analyze pre-assessments
  • Create small groups based on student needs


Unit 3: What virtual games and resources can be used during math work stations?

Prerequisites: Learners must complete Unit 1-2.

At the end of this unit learners will be able to…

  • Facilitate work stations or small groups utilizing virtual games
  • Structure math work stations utilizing pre-taught virtual games
  • Utilize embedded training of computer skills in virtual games


Unit 4: What hands-on games and activities can be used during math work stations?

Prerequisites: Learners must complete Unit 1-3.

At the end of this unit learners will be able to…

  • Facilitate work stations or small groups utilizing hands on games and activities
  • Structure math work stations utilizing pre-taught hands on games and activities
  • Create a lesson plan outline using the workshop model

References and Resources

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Diller, D. (2003). Literacy Work Stations: Making centers work. Portland, ME: Stenhouse.

Diller, D. (2011). Math Work Stations: Independent Learning You Can Count On, K-2. Stenhouse Publishers.

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Fruin, C. [Carrie Fruin]. (2018, May 22). The Workshop Model and Collaborative Teaching and Learning [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8jAMljcDSu0

Heinemann. (2021). Overview - what is the classroom workshop model. Lucy Calkins and Colleagues Units of Study. Retrieved from https://www.unitsofstudy.com/introduction.

IXL. (2021). IXL: Math, Language Arts, science, Social Studies, and Spanish. IXL Learning.

Kristof, J. (2021). Public Opinion Tracker: Teacher Survey Top Takeaways Q2 2021. EdChoice . https://www.edchoice.org/engage/public-opinion-tracker-teacher-survey-top-takeaways-q2-2021/

Larson, M.B. & Lockee, B.B. (2020). Streamlined ID: A Practical Guide to Instructional Design (2nd edition). New York, NY: Routledge.

Mayer, R.E. and Alexander, P.A. (Eds.) (2017). Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction. Taylor and Francis.

[Mr. Inquiry]. (2021, Apr. 9). Play Prodigy Math Game! Getting Started S1E1 [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfEMTbYZqRU

Nayo, L. [Laureen (Laureen-Nadirah) Nayo]. (2018, Feb 6). Math Workshop in Action [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WBLdv7T1NqU

Patell, E. A., Cooper, H., and Robinson J.C. (2008). The Effects of Choice and Intrinsic Motivation and Related Outcomes: A Meta-Analysis of Research Findings. Psychological Bulletin 134 (2): 270-300.

Pearson, P.D., and Gallagher, M.C. (1983). The Instruction of Reading Comprehension . Contemporary Educational Psychology 8: 317-344.

[Prodigy Education]. (2020, Oct. 16). Prodigy Teachers | How to create a teacher account [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iUOvVFcxkIY

Research Research | Prodigy Education. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.prodigygame.com/main-en/research/.

UChicago STEM Education. (2021). Everyday Mathematics Virtual Learning Community. Retrieved from https://vlc.uchicago.e