Do you want the kiddos in your class to complete 25 to 30 activities a week, independently, clean up their own mess and you are able to see and assess all of the work. Well if you do, look at Workshop.
What is Workshop? It is the learning and working time in my classroom. I’ve called it Workshop for 36 years of teaching. Some teachers call it learning stations, centers, learning centers. Workshop is different, it’s very specific and systematic.
- It is visual
- Covers all skills
- Differentiates student ability
- Provides a daily assessment
- Teacher contact
- Children work independently
- Positive Response
Workshop is six activities which the students work alone or interact with others. It introduces a variety of activities, reinforce, and/or extend hands on learning independently, it is visual, and it provides teacher contact with all activities. It is not contained to one area of the room, but encompasses the whole classroom.
What is needed to begin Workshop in your classroom?
1.A bulletin board to introduce and provide a “visual” for each Job (activity)A specific area where there are trays, tubs to contain each activity. It is also numbered to match the job.
2.I get my trays from Lakeshore Learning because an 8 ½ x 11 paper fits in them perfectly.
3.Task cards to display each job
4.Large storage bags to contain task cards for the six jobs.
5.A ticket to mark off each job completed.
Work shop Details
All jobs are explained, and demonstrated before Workshop begins. All kiddos start on Job One. All jobs are checked by the teacher and a student ticket is marked.
Job 1– A game
Partner game or a group table game. If it’s a partner game, it’s played three to four days in a row with different partners at their table. I usually play a partner game with the side by side neighbor, across the table neighbor, and kitty corner neighbor
Sometimes I will have a writing activity put in the Job 1 position. I want the kids to work on it for 10 minutes, and do their best work. I put a 10 minute timer on to let the kiddos know how long they must work on the writing activity without getting up to do something else.
Job 2 – An activity that separates the kiddos.
This Job can be illustrating a poem, handwriting, alphabet cards, anything that separates the kids from finishing this job all at the same time.
Job 3- Reading or Math Activity
Job 3 is always math or a reading game. I use many areas in my classroom for workshop. I use manipulatives for many jobs so not many activities are at the student table. Some areas are on the floor and counters.
Job 4– Reading or Math Activity
Job 4 is the same, but it will be opposite of Job 3. The first four jobs are always the most important of the day to finish. They are the skills I need the kiddos to accomplish.
Job 5– Unit or Theme activity
It can be an Art Project,or anything that pertains to the unit I am teaching.
Job 6– Never Ending activity – Manipulatives
This job never ends. No one can come up and say they are done. It can be creating patterns with pattern blocks, reading books from book boxes, etc.
I’ve even put Free Play as Job 5 or 6. I never miss Free Play in the classroom and sometimes it work great in this spot.
I repeat activities in Workshop if I feel the kiddos need more practice. They do not have to be 6 new jobs each day. When we have played many different “Partner” games(Job 1) I will put them in plastic containers and set them on a shelf in the classroom and the kids can replay them for Job 6.
Finally, when the kiddos complete a job they are expected to clean up their own work area before they move on to the next job.
Each student is responsible for a ticket. I have a basket on each table and the tickets for that table go in there. The student brings the completed job to the teacher along with the ticket. The teacher checks the completed work and marks the ticket. The Job is then either brought home or kept as school. The ticket is 30 activities/jobs. I hope the kids finish 4 or 5 Jobs a day. When the kids do finish a ticket of 30 jobs there is an incentive. They can go to the prize box and pick out a prize. (I ask parents to send books or McDonald toys, or trinkets they no longer want at home, and they are my prizes, or I give 10 minutes of time on the i-pad.) You really don’t have to give anything, but the incentives do motivate.
Workshop Visual Task Cards and Storage
The Workshop Visual Task Cards are a part of each unit. I like the task cards because they show the visual skills for each job from the unit.
- They are easy to store
- Categorize in my storage box
4. They show the kids the materials they need for the job.
5. A photo box with a cover is my storage box for my task cards.
I never miss a day of Workshop,even on special holidays. My holiday crafts and activities work great in Workshop.
Give Workshop a try in your classroom, you will be happy with the results. Look for my Workshop Set-Up in my TPT store, it’s free.