Last year, I had the opportunity to work and learn collaboratively with a wonderful group of bloggers and many of you about Math Work Stations. It has been about a year since implementing Math Work Stations. Since then, I have seen a difference in my approach towards teaching math and how I implement math concepts in the classroom.
I love that Math Work Stations give every learner a chance to work with a partner to explore math concepts. In my classroom, Math Work Stations take place 3 to 5 times a week depending on our schedule for at least 15 to 20 minutes. In the past, math centers would have been an extra time filler. Not now. It is a component of our math program.
Many of the stations are games which I have purchased, made or found through the internet. Although there are many great items via the web, I tried to only use the ones which reflected the needs of my students. Some great sites are: KidsCount1234, Math Wire and Teachers Notebook.
Calendar and Math Routines
Components include: patterns, days of the week, months, counting by 1s, 5s, 10s, money, time, 10 Frame work, place value based on the date
Whole group instruction
Components include: teaching required math concepts from workbook, teaching a game, spiral review
Math Work Stations
Components include: 10-12 independent math centers. Currently, includes addition, subtraction, counting, place value, time, money (pennies), Hundreds Chart work
Organization is key to a successful math program. Here is how I do it.
We use this simple pocket chart for our Math Work Stations. Index cards are placed by the numbers and pairs work their way down the stations. On average, it takes about 2 weeks to complete the stations. I modify or help some groups based on ability. Students are paired based on need and sometimes personality. New partners are given about once a month. I love that many times, I am able to walk around and observe the children. I learn so much about their thinking during this time. It helps me as I plan for future lessons.
The shelf holds most of our math manipulatives. Most of these items are used during Whole Group Instruction. It also hold a few extra Math Works Stations. If needed, I can adapt a Math Work Station quickly.
We do not have space to house our Math Work Stations on a shelf. Instead our stations lay on the floor. The numbers above help the students put the station back in the correct place. At first, it took some time to retrieve and put back stations. Now, we do this quickly and easily. I use Sterlite containers that I found at Target. They are not too bulky and most items fit easily.
Room For Improvement:
Next year I hope to incorporate more I Can Talk Cards. Some of my shyer and limited English speakers, really do have a hard time talking about math. I hope that this would help them. I would also like to work towards the Common Core. Math is the first to be assessed, so I know that it is crucial that I work with the Common Core in mind.
Did you try Math Work Stations? If so, what worked for you? I would love to hear from you. If enough people are interested, I could make this a Math Work Stations linky party. Let me know.
Happy Teaching and Learning!