Friday, June 17, 2011

Math Work Stations

Ch. 5-Adding and Subtracting

Well, this is one of my MAIN focuses in 1st grade. To get the kiddos to internalize this skill! This year I plan on using manipulatives a LOT more. Some things I really liked about this chapter:
  • adding name cards
  • using linking cubes for story mats... just choose the right color to include for the theme (pink for pigs, black for bats, etc.--although I do LOVE thematic manipulatives, this is easy and inexpensive)
  • I also have to work on getting my I CAN and TALK cards together--Love, love, love those ideas
  • differentiate the activities in each box by color dots or some other system
  • I LOVED the board game station and using them for fact practice
I created these very simple fact sort cards--free if you'd like them:

Ch. 4-Numeracy

I read another Stenhouse book called Number Sense Routines and it is available to read online as well as Debbie's book! It has some very useful information.

I do a lot with my calendar routine, but will be adding more this year. Some years I've let my calendar routine slip...(it CAN get monotonous can't it) but it is Soooo important for the kiddos to get that repetition. I plan on doing more with the 100 chart this year too, as well as the section pieces of it (frames with a number given and student must fill in 10 less above, 10 more below, 1 more to right, 1 less to left, etc.)

Getting Ready for Math Stations

I am so excited about starting math work stations this year. I devoured this book (entire text online for a short time here). I love Debbie's philosophy and ideas. But, I have a LOT to do.

  1. go through all my math materials and sort & purge
  2. reorganize into bins or drawered carts (like that idea)
  3. map out my units and work stations
  4. fit it into 60 minutes (ahhh)

I have done guided math groups before, but I think this is more my style and I am going to model it after the way I do my literacy work stations--I think it will help the kids catch on quicker and know my expectations. :)

Here are some of my ideas for organizing my math station time. 
  • 2 students per station
  • Numbered Stations set up in order around perimeter of room (my literacy stations are "set up", but math stations drawers/tubs will be taken to the location)
  • 2 stations per day, visit all 10 by end of week
Schedule: (5 min. buffer for moving, etc.)
  • 10 minutes: Calendar and Daily Routine
    • Money Mondays
    • Tally Mark Tuesdays (number study)
    • Word Problem Wednesdays
    • Time Thursdays
    • Fun Math Fridays (misc. skills)
  • 10 minutes: whole class mini lesson
  • 2 15-min. rotations (while I monitor or pull students to work with)
  • 5 minute share time
In the past, I felt I was just teaching them how to do the worksheet for the day and not internalize the skills they needed to learn. Even when I did guided math, I felt rushed and like I didn't get to give some groups the time they needed. With this framework, my math stations are meaningful extensions of our core skills.

I feel with repetition, variety, and the enjoyment of "stations" my kids will catch on and think more mathematically.

How do I plan on grouping my students? I'm glad you asked.
I found a marvelous site with an assessment piece and directions for administering it and grouping students along a math continuum. Exactly what I was looking for. All materials are available with a minimal amount of gathering items (all listed in the materials list). This site has awesome games, practice ideas, and resources for everything.

I do NOT plan on having a set rotation schedule where I meet with groups like I've done in the past. After I assess my kids, I will mark where they are on the continuum. I plan on monitoring stations, conferring with students, and pulling groups up as needed to reteach, give additional support and/or challenge.

(Update) Yes, I will meet with my groups with this schedule:

Oh, would you like the link?? Here it is:

 One last thought: I've used a BIN before (Burning Issues and Needs) where students write comments (I liked..., I didn't like..., I don't understand..., Would you help me with...) on post-its and stick on the poster. I have NOT used it with math, but think it will work very well. Students don't have to put name/# on it unless they are asking for more help (so I know who to help). We'll see how it goes.


  1. Have you heard of Hooda Math Games yet? at, Check out their featured math games at

  2. Discovered your blog through the Math Work Stations Blog Party and I'm SO HAPPY to have done so! THANK YOU for the wealth of resources and realistic ideas!



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