Classroom Management Made Easy - 6 Tips to Get You Started

This post shares 6 Tips for Managing Math Workshop

Classroom management is essential throughout the school day, but it is especially important during math workshop. With planning and consistency, your classroom will “run itself “ and your students will be focused and on task even when you are working with a small group across the room.

Here’s how to get there:

1- Determine the procedures and routines that will be effective for your classroom.

The key to classroom management is establishing clear procedures and routines within an organized and structured environment. This is especially true for Math Workshop. 
This post shares 6 Tips for Managing Math Workshop

Before the students arrive you’ll need to think about your classroom layout and your vision for how your workshop will run. I recommend putting your procedures into writing. This will help you be consistent, allow you to tweak your routines, and provide clear expectations to substitute teachers and parent volunteers. 

Offer lots of verbal praise and recognition as students begin to show mastery of the routines. Look for model students and have them help those who are struggling with the procedures. Don’t be afraid to make changes if something is not working well.

2- Establish a signal for alerting students that Math Workshop is about to begin and that they need to transition to the whole group area for your mini-lesson. I use wind chimes in my classroom. They are loud enough that they are heard and the lingering sounds ensure that all students will hear them. Also, they are not intrusive which makes for a calmer transition. Whenever my students hear the wind chimes they know that signal means to come to the rug.

This post shares 6 Tips for Managing Math Workshop
3- Use hand signals in your classroom. I have my students use hand signals when they raise their hand in the group. A pinky signals, “I have a question.” A closed fist means, “I have an answer.” Fingers curled into the shape of the letter C means, “I have a comment.” 

I also have the students use hand signals throughout the day using a number system. For example, one finger means “May I use the bathroom” while three means, “I need my pencil sharpened.” These hand signals are crucial to the workshop because they eliminate the need for students to disrupt my teaching. I can simply nod to acknowledge their request.

4- Assign seats for the whole group meeting area. By creating a seating plan in the meeting area you will...

  • eliminate the rush to get to a choice seat
  • ensure students are sitting next to peers that are positive choices for them
  • place students who may need to leave the room for services in an easy exit location enable you to meet individual needs for attention, behavior, vision, hearing, etc. save precious minutes by not needing students to change seats
  • provide students who need trunk support or a defined space with a chair 
5 - Establish expectations for class discussions. Assign talking partners for “think, pair and share” in the group area when you pose questions. Ideally, this should be a neighboring classmate. Keep these partnerships in mind when assigning seats. 

6 - Teach your students what it means to be an “active listener.” Take some time to read about Whole Brain Teaching and how it can be used for mini lessons.

This post shares 6 Tips for Managing Math Workshop