Monday, June 6, 2011

Math Work Stations Chapter 3

Debbie Diller does a great job in chapter three of outlining ways to manage math work station time. I envision in my room it looking very similar to Daily 5. I believe it will be very important at the beginning of the year to teach the kids what work station time will look like, sound like, and feel like as well as write I can charts together. I will use a T chart similar to what I use for Daily 5 in which we brainstorm together things students will do and things the teacher will be doing during work station time.
At this point I'm thinking the beginning of the year will be exploration as kids begin to build stamina for length of time working quietly in pairs in one place in the room using only one tub. As I begin teaching new concepts, activities I have used to teach will be added to the workstations. I think it is incredibly important to teach the activity before placing it in the workstations and will do so in regular lessons as well as remind kids how to play during mini lessons.
In the past my math schedule has been calendar math followed by three math rotations in which groups of students take turns coming to the teacher, doing practice work, and doing independent work. This next year that schedule will change.
I spend about an hour and 15 minutes on math. I will have three math rotations again of 20 minutes a piece but in between each rotation we will have a math mini lesson. I will teach each of three groups while the other two groups rotate through workstations. The key is going to be the time spent at the beginning modeling, modeling, modeling.
In the past I have not had a board showing kids where to go for their next station. For literacy and the daily 5 I had a table made up that I marked off each kid's choice each day to keep track of where they chose to go and make sure they had made various choices within a week's time.
I think I'll have to do something a little more concrete for math. I kind of like the idea of rotation circle posted by Jayne at KindergartenRhode. I might go with that. Or if someone comes up with something I like more, perhaps I'll change my mind. I'm not sold on any one management board at this point.
I do like the idea of working with a partner at math workstations. I have never had my students work this way before but think it will work well to assign partners for students to work with to give students the opportunity to use Math Talk to talk about what they are working on and learning. I don't see much difference between doing stations this way and teaching students what it looks like, sounds like, and feels like to do read with a partner. I think it will just be important to really train well those first few weeks before starting meeting with small groups.
The thing that I'm really wrestling with is that if I don't start teaching small groups for math right away at the beginning of the year but wait a month much like I do for Daily 5 and reading then how will I ever get through all the concepts I need to cover for math during the year. For reading working in small groups using the Daily 5 I have seen all of my kids grow as readers very quickly many of them moving up by 2 or 3 grade levels within the year at an instructional level using the IRI and I have the freedom at my school not to stick to the curriculum so its no big deal if we don't finish everything. For math I more often stick to the curriculum with what I'm teaching but teach at different speeds to each group depending on their needs. Because of this I feel more pressure to get moving with the material to make sure I make it through all the concepts first graders should learn. The question I'm kind of asking myself is will this not starting right away teaching small groups work the same way it works for reading. And if not how do I need to make up for that in whole group instruction before I am able to start small groups.
I will be using math talk cards and I can posters but am not going to post any here tonight. I've seen a few people already create their own for this linky party and I think I'll go with what someone else has made on this one rather than reinventing the wheel. When we get to some chapters where all our creative juices can be put to use to create new games to work within a concept area, then I'll put more into what I can share with you all. But for now, it's been a long day of listening to a speaker at a workshop, reading blogs, and spending time with friends.


  1. Thank you for joining the discussion. From your post, it appears that you have had some very thoughtful reflections about the best practices in your classroom to set up and teach using math work stations.
    I can't wait to see the items you share in future posts.

  2. I'm your newest follower! :) I agree that it will look similar to the Daily 5- and I am also struggling with reverting back to the start of the year & teaching routines all over again. I love it when it all "clicks" though!
    Teaching Happily Ever After

  3. Ash,
    I don't mind the training so much -- it is great when it all "clicks" and you start seeing the behavior you want to see. And then months down the road you see the skills click because you've set up your classroom in such as way that the kids can get the most out of their learning. It's just that pressure I feel to get through material. Thanks by the way for becoming my 21st follower. It was kind of fun when I came on this morning 2121 page views and 21 followers.

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