Math Work Stations One Year Later

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.  

What's Working:
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.

Our Schedule:
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!


  1. I posted about this just the other day and use the same containers- Great minds think alike. Today I attended a training that focused on this book. I was so excited to be able to go. Another school in my district is involved in EISS, but let me tag along. Tomorrow we will be building stations. It was great to be able to share what I've done and see stations put together by a trainer.

    Time 4 Kindergarten
    Time 4 Organization

  2. Looks great. Thanks for sharing. Renee

  3. We used Investigation for the first time this year, and I need to work on incorporating the work stations along with the Investigations activities. I love the concept, but this summer I need to revisit the book study from last summer now that I know how my math program works. I want to be better organized next fall. I appreciate all I've learned from you.

  4. I followed all of these posts last summer and implemented work stations this past school year. I used dishpans from Walmart for each station and a pocket chart to assign stations. The kids loved work stations and were very sad if we couldn't do them for some reason. This year I want to focus on my small group math lessons.

  5. Awesome! I did do Math stations last year, but didn't read Diller's book...I just kinda ran with it. I only had 4 stations (I also only had 16 kids!!!). Kids went to their stations 4x/week. It worked out really well. I have everything organized to try it again this year. I'd love to read the book but I am going to focus on Daily 5 and Cafe this year.

    Thanks for sharing how your year went!!

  6. Thanks for this post! This is my area that I most need to improve upon.
    I just got this book! I wish there was another book study this summer. :-( I need to go back and read your archives now!
    Strive to Sparkle

    1. Athena,
      I plan to repost each chapter as well as add new reflections. You can find out more by looking at the page dedicated to math stations at the top of my blog.

  7. Thanks for this post. I just did a post on Math Work Stations too, only I will be trying them out for the 1st time this year. I can hardly wait! I will be collecting ideas and posting about math activities throughout the summer, so stop by and hopefully I can share an idea or 2 with you.

  8. Ok so I am back to let you know that I added a link to this post so my readers can read your great suggestions. Thanks!

  9. I started math stations last year, too, and I won't ever go back :)

    Thanks for sharing your insights. I'm also going to try to focus on the Common Core this summer to make it work even better!

    Fun in Room 4B

  10. I bought this book at the beginning of this past school year and was able to implement some of the ideas. Thanks for sharing your thoughts! You inspired me to continue my quest to use more math work stations.


    Stories from Room 114

  11. I was lucky enough to see Debbie Diller talk about Math Stations last fall. I did a great job of starting out with all of it. My team and I decided to take 3 weeks off at the beginning of the year to just back up and do a lot of number-sense building games and activities. We also practiced HOW to play games,take turns, win gracefully and lose without tears. It paid off HUGELY! Unfortunately, I lost a little steam in the latter part of the year. This summer, I want to have it all in place for the whole year so I have no excuses. But the kids LOVED them!

  12. So glad I found this post! I'm off to read your posts from last year. I really want to start Math Workstations, but I haven't read 'the book' yet. I need to order it soon, but hopefully I can get started training my students on working together so I can start. Thanks!


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