So the start to this school year has been a little insane with scheduling! Between whole class assessments and individual testing, it doesn't feel like I've had much time to really sit down with my students to get our math workshop going the way I would have liked to during September. Needless to say, we have restarted "The First 14 Days of Math Workshop" because my teaching partners and I decided to start switching for the subject of math. I love this because it gives me a new, fresh set of minds in which to explore math (and another chance to introduce math workshop!)

Today we actually meshed sessions 7 and 8 of "The First 14 Days of Math Workshop" together and it worked out very well. Over the weekend, I divided my students into partnerships and then combined two partnerships together to create groups of 4. I ended up having 6 groups in total. This way students will have one person to work with during their partner math activities and a whole group to come to when we are completing assignments that have a limited number of tools or those which will require a group presentation at the end.

I prepped for the characteristics of a strong math partner lesson by printing out the enlarged completed puzzles onto cardstock, cutting out the pictures along their borders, and then further dividing them into 11-13 pieces.

I then numbered the backs of each set of puzzle pieces (I ended up with 12 sets) and placed completed sets in their matching envelopes. This prep made starting the partner math activity super easy and quick.

I shortened the actual mini-lesson (session 8) from the unit a little by simply asking for suggestions of ways to be a strong math partner without writing down these suggestions. I then used my computer and projector (thank you technology!) to display the poster of the Characteristics of a Strong Math Partner for everyone as we went through each row.

Before I sent students off, I did open one of the sets and showed them some of the pieces to build excitement for the puzzles they were about to work with in partnerships!

Due to scheduling conflicts, we only had 40 minutes for our lesson, so I had to forfeit individual math conferring. I simply walked around to partnerships and narrated the characteristics of a strong math partner that I witnessed. I also had to let go of the independent math portion because I felt that the carpet summary of what a strong math partner looks and sounds like was more important for the beginning days of math workshop.

Overall, it was a very effective, fun, and quick lesson. We will continue to use these bookmarks and the poster to reinforce these characteristics.

How are you building strong math partnerships in your classroom?