Sunday, March 9, 2014

Math Stations

Hello all! Well, I'm back to work after my maternity leave and I finally feel like I'm getting back into the groove after two weeks. It is go-go-go all day but I'm getting much better at managing my time so I can spend as much time as possible with my family and still have engaging lessons for the kids! This week I introduced the new math stations for March. The kids really love the math stations. I put out 12 stations to be used for the entire month. The stations are open-ended so they can be completed more than once, but the practice is always different for the student. I use a lot of spinners, number cards, and dice. Before I let the kids use the stations on their own I have a "game day" where I put out the stations that I think will be the hardest to understand. I let the kids move through about 5 stations very quickly while I'm walking around asking if there are any questions. This gives me time to show the kids how to complete the station. It also gives me time to see if the station will work or if it needs any more supplies. I just started "game day" this year and I'm SO glad I did this. The kids have a much better understanding of the expectation & their practice becomes so much better during station time.
I put the directions in the lid of the stations box. All the stations are in plastic containers with latch lids (I got them from Wal-Mart). Putting the directions in the lid helps it stay organized and the kids always know where to find them.
If there are any manipulatives such as money or shapes  in the station I try to put them in small containers inside the station box so they stay organized. The little plastic containers with twist on lids are great for money

I try to include a lot of games that practice a skill. The kids are always more engaged in games which means they're more likely to choose it. My students have a checklist and a math station buddy (someone from their math group). They check off the station when they go to it and then they get a new checklist the following week.
I am able to meet with four math groups per day (for 15 minutes each). The first rotation is always a mixed practice math sheet and number of the day. When a student is finished he/she chooses a math station from the shelf. It took a lot of practice, but they all know they must talk about math and complete the activity while at stations. I think it has really benefited them. As I rotate through the math groups the children take different stations.
How do you have your math stations organized?