On to the next center of focus in math workshop! And the winner is....HOMEWORK!
After my students finish their rotation at the teacher center, they go directly to the homework center. This time is a critically important time for my kids! This is where they get to practice what they have just learned by themselves. In past years, I have sometimes let them work with a partner, but this year I have kept the homework center as an individual work time. My students have other times to work together and I think it is important for them to try these problems on their own! Students have the choice of working at their seat or finding a spot by themselves around the room.
One downside to math workshop is that one group always needs to start at the homework center without meeting with the teacher first. It turns out this really isn't too much of a problem. I have one of my more advanced groups being with homework. Before we break into rotations, I usually give the whole class a quick mini-lesson on whatever concept we are learning (maybe 5 minutes tops!). That is usually enough for this group to get started on their own.
Finally, one extra note about homework that has been too effective not to mention! After the 4-5 weeks of the school year, my sixth graders as a whole weren't the greatest at getting homework completed on time. We decided to start implementing a new system at my school that has been extremely effective (check out the graph below!). Students who aren't finished with their work go to work on finishing it at lunch on that day. They grab their lunch and bring their math stuff to a separate room where they can get some help finishing up that day's assignment! If you find where the graph changes from teal to green, that is right when we started implementing this new system - talk about results!
I'd love to hear any questions about how I am using homework or ideas you have about what works in your classroom in the comments section below!