First Grade Math Workshop

As I’m learning all about a new grade, one thing I wanted to accomplish was a math workshop.  Another goal of mine this year, is to work SMARTER, not harder.  I’m working on that
balance issue.  It is hard to have balance when you are learning a new grade level, but it’s a great opportunity for me to have a fresh start. 

So, here is what I’ve come up with for my math block. 

  • 15 minutes: calendar journals (I AM working on a first grade calendar, but I really want to test and tweak it this year before I offer it to you.  I NEED to know that it works for first grade!)
  • 15-20 minutes: Math warm up, number talks, and whole group math lesson
  • 15-20 minutes: math rotations
    • Meet with the teacher
    • Math with technology
    • Fluency practice
    • Math boxes
    • Partner games


We do ONE rotation a day.  I WISH I could do more, there just isn’t time in the day!  However, with this management system, I really only need to change the activities ONCE a month. *insert cheers of joy here*

So let’s break it down – each student will visit each center once per week.  I would love to incorporate more rotations (ala Daily 5), but I just don’t have the 90 minute block to fit it in.

1. Meet with the teacher: aka – MOI.  During this time, I will meet with a small group of students to work on what THEY need or to reinforce what we have taught whole group.  Sometimes it will be center type activities, sometimes it will be partner games, and sometimes it will be a mix of activities!

2.  Math with Technology: we will use our ipads or laptaps (more on this later!)

3. Partner Games:  We use the Everyday Math curriculum, and new games are introduced every few units.  It’s important that the kids play these games because they build on them through the grades.  AND, the kids LOVE playing them.


4. Fluency Games:  the blue basket houses our fluency games. Right now, we are practicing basic addition facts. Some of these are played with a partner, and others are played independently.

5. Math Boxes:  these are what are MOST familiar to me! I had so much fun creating these centers based on what the children need, the common core, and what our math curriculum is working on.

Here is what I have in the drawers for October:

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Everything is housed in the green drawers.  I love these drawers.  I purchased them from Ikea about 3 years ago.  The children just grab a drawer and find a quiet workspace in the room.  Only one person at a time will work in the drawers.  I am letting them manage these on their own.  The activities are SO fun, that I know they’ll want to try all of them.

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I don’t have every activity in the drawers right now, some I will use during my small group time. 

If you’re interested in grabbing these centers, you can find them in my TpT shop.


What questions do you have?  Post them below!


  1. We use Everyday Math too. I've found it hard to incorporate math workshop and to complete all the parts of everyday math. you've inspired me to try again! Thanks for the post (and the centers...bought those too!)

  2. I love doing math workshop/centers. I started it months into school last year and once I did, there was no turning back! I love how it makes the afternoon go so quickly, and each child is really focused and working hard the whole time. I do about a 10 minute warm up to introduce the lesson then students go to four centers: Seat, Computer, Carpet Games, Teacher. My high level starts on the math work at their seat, while I work with my low group on it at the Teacher Center. Groups rotate from Seat to Computer to Carpet Games to Me every 15 minutes. We fit in all four rotations each day. Since my high group completes the math sheet at their seat, we are usually able to check it quick when they come to me and then I can work with them on more challenging material. I love that I am able to work with each child in small group every day. Like I said I love your post, but I would want to work with every student each day instead of once a month.

    1. Love your idea :) I would meet with each group once a week - however, I will still be working with them during the whole group/math journal portion, so I can differentiate them as needed. Because I incorporate calendar, and a whole group lesson, I need to add about 30 minutes for that. I don't have another 60 minutes in my day to allow for 4 rotations- I sure wish I did though, it sounds like it works pretty slick for you!!

  3. I LOVE that these centers align with Everyday Math. I am in a new school using the same curriculum for firsties and am having trouble finding center activities to match what we're working on. LOVE it!

  4. Awesomeness abounds in your classroom! I love teaching Math. When I implemented Math centres and groups for the 1st time last year, I couldn't believe how long I had gone without them. I felt like I did the kiddos in the prior years a disservice! But I vowed to continue to do groups and centres each year, no matter the circumstances. Btw, how do you like 1st grade so far? I've taught each primary grade except 1st. It seems like it's a LOT of work (just like Kindergarten).