Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Math Games for Math Workshop

Do you do math workshop?

What IS math workshop?

Well, it looks very similar to reading and writing workshop, but you're teaching math!  ;O)

I learned several years ago that my students learn math better in small group.  When I was teaching whole group, I would lose my kiddos that struggle in math or didn't like math.  There's just too much to learn in a short time for me to "lose" any of them!  Plus, I could really watch what they were doing well and where they were making mistakes and give them immediate feedback when we were in small groups.

They always say that you don't want students to practice math wrong because that's what will be ingrained in their brain. I took that to heart, so I teach most of my math lessons in small group.  Granted, there are some lessons better taught whole group (introductions to new units, review, and unit culminations) but really, for the most part, I teach small group math.

So what are the students doing while I'm teaching in small group, you might ask?

Weeeeeeeeelllllllll, a few different things.

I give them a packet (I know, I know....a packet!!  It sounds horrible but there is a method to my madness!)

The packet has an exemplar in it (a word problem that requires multi-steps and writing to show how they worked the problem and why they worked it that way).  And, the packet has a review sheet that has a multitude of skills that we have previously learned (so hopefully they don't forget everything!).

They have all week to complete the packet.  For some, it takes a day or two.  Most of them are done by Wednesday.  Once they have finished, they partner up and work on math games together.

As we learn skills, I teach them new games to add to the game tub.  Some weeks I'll give them specific games to play.  Other weeks, I will allow them to play any of the games that they've learned so far.  It just depends on the amount of practice they need.

Long story short- I wanted to share a few games with you that I use during math workshop.  They are nothing major and require very little prep time.  The main materials needed are decks of cards and dice (or number cubes if you aren't allowed to call them dice- because, you know, we don't want to promote gambling...)  ;O)

The first game I teach at the beginning of the year is a favorite of my students.  When I am first getting them acclimated to math workshop (what to do and what not to do while I'm working with groups and HOW to work with a partner QUIETLY) I use this simple game to just practice, but they love it.

It's called Oh No 99!! (I did not make this up- I learned it at a staff development.)

(Note- for cards- you can use a deck of cards or ten-frame cards, but for some games, it's better to take the face cards out)

Materials- a deck of cards

A few other games that Stacia and I have made up over the year:

Click HERE for a printable of these game posters.

Sometimes, they play games and they fill in a sheet for their games.  I rarely grade those sheets, but sometimes I will have them turn it in just so I can see if they are actually doing what they are supposed to be doing while playing games.  We will share more of those games when I have a little more time to get that all organized and ready to share!

Mostly, I just use the games for practice.  Because, ultimately, I call it a game, but it's practice.  But, they think it's SO FUN and they don't care that they are just rolling dice or flipping cards and still doing the practice.  It beats a worksheet any day!!  :O)

What are some math games that you use?  Check out the linky at Ideas by Jivey to find new ideas or to link up your ideas!!  If you don't link up, but have a game, please leave us a comment because we'd love to add new games!  :O)

We will be back later this week to announce our winners of the giveaways!!  I promise!!


  1. Thanks for linking up!! I love the game posters! :o)
    ideas by jivey

  2. Thanks for the great game ideas and posters!

  3. Thanks for this post! One of my summer projects will be looking into ways to implement Math Workshop/Stations. Pinning for later reference as well :)


  4. I'm intrigued by your packet -- do you have an example to share? I want to move toward this for math; thinking of trying out some ideas after our state test in April.

    Math is Elementary

  5. I LOVE how you described your math instruction and am thinking I need to move more away from whole group instruction. We do centers in the morning after they finish "morning work" which is a math meeting on the smart board and a random DMP (daily math practice worksheet). The lesson is whole group but I like your way! Thank you so much for the freebie posters. These are great!

  6. I definitely agree that small group instruction is SO valuable! I love your game ideas - especially the ones involving "number cubes" - I got a chuckle out of the gambling comment :)

    Thanks for the poster freebies - they are too cute!

    Joy in the Journey

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