## Tuesday, January 24, 2012

### 4 Stations!?!

Happy Tuesday! :)

After half of a school year of math workshop, we decided that our students still struggle with basic facts.  Now that we have introduced multiplication and division, we wanted a fourth station for students to practice all four operations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division.

So--we spent our last professional work day creating a fourth station: Fact Practice.

After observing a math workshop at another school in the district and brainstorming how best to make this change, we came up with:

We changed our groups to colors: Red=Low, Yellow=Low-Medium, Green=High-Medium, Blue=High. (Groups still change weekly based on pre-assessments, of course) The colored groups make differentiating worksheets much easier. Groups pick the colored sheet or colored game pieces that match their group color.

The bottom part of the board shows how our rotation schedule works.  The dots show where each group starts.  Students rotate in a clockwise circle to the next station around the room.  The low group starts out at the teacher station, while the high group will come to the teacher station last.  The white board space allows for activities to be written in so that each student knows what task to complete.

We came up with the norms together, and the students refer to those norms to self-evaluate at the end of each math workshop.

<--Along with adding a fourth station, we also decided to add a Math Station Sheet (Thank you, to a math coach in our district!).

This Math Station Sheet cuts down on copies and holds students accountable for the work completed at each station.

At the start of math workshop, we display the teacher's copy of the sheet on the document camera (ELMO).  We fill in the titles for each station together.  Students also decide on the appropriate voice level for each station and write it in the boxes.

As students go to each station, they record information from that station.  For example, today at Fact Practice, students played Bingo Facts.  As they drew cards out of the basket, they recorded the answers on their Math Station Sheet under the Fact Practice station.

To encourage us as teachers to always have a closure , we included it on the sheet as well. :)  The closure today in Chloe's class was: "I have 6 vertices, and all of my sides are equal in length.  What am I?" In Tabitha's class, students were told to write two attributes of a hexagon.

For the magic rectangle in the top-left corner, students rate their behavior according to the math workshop norms.  They write a 1-5 (1=many improvements needed, 5=keep it up!).

To keep grading simple, we assign a point for each box on the sheet=10 points (1 for the name!)

1. Wonderful idea! Maybe I overlooked this, but what grade is this for?

1. Kim,

Tabitha & Chloe

2. The organization here is great! I have a couple of questions...
1. How long is your math block?
2. Do students visit each station everyday?
3. How long are students at each station?

1. Theresa,

1. How long is your math block?
Our math block is scheduled for an hour, but it lasts up to an hour and fifteen at times.
2. Do students visit each station everyday?
Yes, every student goes to all four stations each day.
3. How long are students at each station?
At the beginning, a timer was used, and students were rotated every 12 or every 15 minutes. Now, it just depends on the need of the groups. For instance, the students might need more time at the independent station, so we adapt to fit their needs.

Let us know if you have any other questions.

-Tabitha and Chloe

3. I'm a second grade teacher & want to do math stations but don't know where 2 start? Help please

1. Hi Nicole! This blog entry really lays out what we did to get started. Here's a quick summary, but refer to the blog for more details.

1) Map out the year by placing the state standards in an order that makes sense (i.e. with the curriculum, by considering which skills are foundational to others).
2) Figure out how many stations that you will have. We have 4: fact, game, independent, and teacher.
3) Consider your room arrangement for easy and smooth management and transitions. We rotate in a circle in our rooms.
4) Plan how to organize materials--color-coding papers by groups, storing game materials in a filing cabinet, etc.
5) Begin planning the first week.

Take it one week at a time. For our first year, once we mapped out the entire year, we then only planned the detailed lessons one week in advance. Or else--we would have gone crazy!

Be prepared to put the time into getting started. However, once you have math workshop up and running, the amount of prep time lessens.

Hope that helps! Let us know if you have any other questions! Thanks for your comment!

Chloe & Tabitha

4. I like your organization and I especially appreciate the Math Station Sheet. It helps to hold the students accountable for each station and it's all on one page. I'll have to think over that one. I'd like to incorporate something similar in my class next year. THANKS for sharing!

1. Thanks, Mrs. Yazzie! :)

We would love to hear how math works for you during the 2012-2013 school year. Keep us posted!

Tabitha & Chloe

5. I teach middle school and copies do not come easy. They are very costly and are rarely given so this is just an idea. Have your students bring a spiral or I saw on pinterst where a teacher had Home Depot cut composition books in half (2 books for the price of one). And they can set up the page in their "workshop book" to look like the copy. Like I said just an idea..

1. Yes! We plan to use math notebooks this year for many of our paper-pencil tasks. We'll be sure to blog about how we set them up and use them throughout the year! Let us know what ideas you come up with!

6. Thank you ladies for sharing your wonderful ideas. I'm being promoted to 3rd grade and want to use guided math in my classroom. Your blog has given me a great starting point.

1. Great, Caroline!

7. Hello, thanks for the ideas! I have been doing Math workshop for several years now. Unfortunately, my schedule is different every day, so I can only do it 3 days per week. I was thinking that if someone were starting out, this might be a good way for them to "get their feet wet" so to speak! I do whole group lessons on the other days. I am hoping my schedule is more standard this year so that I can do MWS more often!

1. Laura, Keep us posted on what you decide to do. We assume that other teachers have similar scheduling challenges. Thanks for your comment!

Chloe & Tabitha

8. Oh, aren't teachers the most generous of all creatures?! I am facing many new challenges this year - I am moving to third grade math/science after having taught one-half year in second grade and completing my student teaching in second grade. This will be my "official" induction year, so I don't want to get too overwhelmed. I am also a "mature" student, having just completed college at the ripe old age of 47. So, this old dog really can learn new tricks!

I've spend my entire summer researching math games/staions/centers and your is the absolute best by far. Please keep posting any little thing that you all create . . . some of us out here are depending on your expertise! Again, many thanks.

1. Thanks! :) We will keep posting once we start wrapping our minds around changes for math this year. Good luck with math workshop! Keep us posted!

9. I am so glad I found your website! This is exactly what I have been wanting to try in my classroom. It seems very doable and perfect for what I am looking for. I may have overlooked it, I do have one question. I see how you mapped out the week. However, for the three days that the students are at the stations, is the game/activity the same for every day? For instance, when they practice the skill on Tuesday, do they repeat the same game on Wednesday and Thursday, or have you created a different game/activity to practice the skill for each day? Thanks again, I'm excited about trying this!

1. Sometimes the game is the same because the students like it or so that we do not have to spend the mini-lesson time always teaching a new game. We rotate games throughout the year.

10. I'm curious, can you explain what each of your voice levels stand for exactly? Thanks much!!

1. 1) Solo (silent)
2) Pair (whisper)
3) Team (soft voice)
4) Classroom (moderate voice)
5) Disruptive (loud voice)

11. In that 60 minute block do you ever teach concepts whole group before rotating to the stations? I like this idea but we have a math program with a workbook. We tend to introduce a lesson whole group and then do independent work or games as a whole group. Just wondering how you introduce the concepts. thanks!!

1. We teach whole-group on Mondays then we rotate through stations Tuesday-Friday.

12. I am also interested in how you actually plan the activities in each station. do they change daily? Do you do a whole group lesson each day and then break into groups or do you teach it as the kids come to the station named "teacher"?

1. The Fact and Game stations tend to rotate through the same games. We have a whole-group lesson each Monday. Sometimes, our mini-lesson time will review what was taught on Monday. The teacher station just expounds on Monday's whole-class lesson.

13. Hi! I am working in 4th grade in a 3rd world country and resources are few and far between. I am trying to incorporate stations and I think this could work for me! However I need a little clarification on your Fact station. Is it something they play in groups? Is it always a game?
Thanks!!

1. Fact station is done independently most of the time. Here is what we tend to do at that station:
1) Fact Bingo
2) Fact triangles (write the fact families)
3) Fact triangles (quiz your partner)
4) Multiplication Train with dominoes

14. I am so glad to have found your blog. I am just testing the guided math waters and this seems to be so helpful so far! I am doing this on my own initiative (as I am sure most do) and I do not know of anyone in our district or friends that are currently doing this. I am taking an out of the box approach (for myself) this year. I really think the kids will enjoy this. Thank you for all your ideas!

1. No problem! We love it and are excited with the amount of teachers who have implemented some sort of small group math this year just in our building!

15. I see you have 6 kids at each station. For the game station, do all six kids play the same game? If you had a 2 player game would you have 3 of the same game or 3 different games so all six kids could play at the same time? I am just trying to understand how I would do a file folder game or another two player game if I didn't have one for the whole group to play.

1. Great question! This has varied depending on a few factors: 1) the group of students (how talkative and/or agreeable they are), 2) the particular game (how many players are needed), 3) the specific skill.

This year our games have tended to be 2-player games. We have done this to keep the noise level at a whisper (on most days!). We spread out the materials so all three groups are separated from the others. We love the 2-player games! :)

16. Just reposted this blog entry on my teacher-page FB wall - I love your blog and all of the different resources and visuals you have posted. Do you also have a FB page associated with the blog? I'd love to follow to get your updates!

-Kate @ The Wise Owl

1. Kate, Sorry, but we don't currently have a Facebook page!

--Chloe & Tabitha

Why have I just found your blog!!!!
anyway Thanks for the help, always tweaking my Math time!!!

18. You guys are awesome - your site is my favorite of favorite "pins" thus far! I have been teaching 1st and moved up to 3rd this year - thank you thank you for all your amazing ideas! Your district and kiddos are lucky to have you. I'm venturing off into the "guided math/centers" waters and love your ideas. Thanks for sharing FREELY all your wonderful ideas! In your math "teacher" group, do you teach the Monday "whole group" lesson all week (T-F)? If so, is your Monday whole group lesson comprised of many different (but related) math concepts? Thanks again!

1. Monday's whole class lesson introduces the objective of the week. We then focus on that skill at the teacher station on a daily basis for the rest of the week.

Thank you!

19. just curious but what about when you want to teach new material

1. We teach new material every Monday during the whole class lesson. Throughout the week we notice that some students are ready for new skills so we differentiate at the teacher station for them.

Thank you!

20. Question!
Has your state adopted Commn Core? We began this year using Envision Math. We are digital 1:1 this year, too. Feeling like since we teach deeper for longer, not all kids need the depth and are more ready for the next level. 60 minute block and I feel like we do a lot of whole group and run out if time for any kind if independent practice. The program comes with daily games we don't ever have time for. I want to do a version of what you are doing so much. Do you have a math program as a springboard?

1. DebbiW,

We are moving towards adopting Common Core and are integrating our state standards and Common Core together right now. We use Everyday Math in our district. We also use other resources for Workshop though. Brainpop, SuperTeacher Worksheets, Pinterest, etc. are all great resources we look at to incorporate with our curriculum and fit into our math block.

Tabitha

21. Do the students go through each station everyday or do they switch throughout the week? Do they work with you in a small group everyday?

Thank you

1. On Monday we do a whole class lesson to introduce the skill. Tuesday-Friday students go to all 4 stations everday. One of the those stations is the teacher station so all of the students meet with us on a daily basis in a small group.

Tabitha

I love the idea of going to 4 stations every day...lots of movement! My question is, how to do the kids always have something to "write" in their block for every station? Like for example, what do you have them write for the game station, etc.? Thanks!

1. Dorothy,

We love doing math workshop! We do like to hold the students accountable at all stations. At the game station, many times they are required to solve a problem. It could be an addition or multiplication problem, complete a pattern, or find matches. Students must write their answer on the station sheet as well as show their work. If there is nothing for them to solve or show their work on then they may keep score on their math station sheet.

Tabitha

23. Thank you so much for your site! I love all of your ideas! I know we are all on our 2013 Summer Break, but I am trying to get ahead this year with some of your great ideas. I understand that every Monday you teach a new concept to the entire group. However, I was wondering what level of skills are being mastered in the stations? I am especially referring to the first nine weeks of school when every objective is starting to be introduced. I am a 4th grade teacher, so does that mean I put 3rd grade level material in my stations during the first nine weeks? Also I have other questions as follows:

1. How do you get the 10 points from the Math sheet again? I kept counting and could not come up with 10pts even with the name.
2. Where are the majority of our grades coming from? Are they from the independent workstation only or do you grade work at the teacher workstation also?
3. You mentioned Tuesday through Friday were workstation days? Are your assessments of the end of the unit included in one of these stations or do you forego workstations and give the test whole group on that day?
4. Do you have ideas for a word problem station since solving multi-step word problems seem to always present a challenge with my students?
5. Are any of your stations on a computer to integrate math and technology? If so, will you please share your ideas on what sites and skills and how their work is monitored?
6. Do you have a timer or do you announce the end of the rotation?

As you can see, I am very excited to implement many of your ideas. I just want to make sure I am organized and that transition goes smoothly as well as meet my campus requirements for grading and technology integration.

Thank you so much,
Kalebrya

1. Kalebrya,

Thank you for reading our blog! You have many great questions. In regards to your first question we give students a pre-test the week before each skill and we differentiate the skill based on those results. So some students may be completing problems at a lower level or higher level.

1. The 10 points come from: name, date, independent station, game station, fact station, and then 5 points for the magic square at the top for behavior.

2. The majority of our grades come from nightly homework. We take a grade on one math station sheet a week. We also do weekly quizzes that contribute towards their grade.

3. We do stations Tuesday-Friday and then give a 5 or 10 question quiz as closure on Fridays. It does take a little longer but the stations do not last quite as long on Fridays.

4. I would recommend doing word problems at the game station so they have a partner to work with. Also, try to incorporate word problems into the teacher station and the skill of the week so that gives you a chance to model for the students.

5. The teacher station uses the SmartBoard and online games. We use a lot of stuff from Smart Exchange and then sometimes find neat games by just looking on Google.

6. We announce the end of each station since each rotation takes different amounts of time. Many times I spend longer with the lower group at the teacher station and independent station than I do with the higher groups.

Please keep in touch with how your year goes with implementing math workshop. And if you have any questions do not hesitate to contact us.

Tabitha

2. I wouold like to say I've learned so much here and thanks for sharing. I like to keep the teacher station as an instructional conversation with a small group of students. I let the students talk, argue, demonstrate,and teach each other while I lead the dirction of the topic by questioning the students. This station almost always has a word problem to solve that is on the topic of the week.

It looks like you haven't been here for a while, but I'm hoping you'll be able to answer a few more questions? How do you select your groups? Do you base it on ability, and if so, how do you assess. If not, are they random? Are they flexible? And lastly, I'd love an update on how you are addressing CCSS in your world. It's a challenge! :)
Thanks!

1. Tracy,
Thank you for reading our blog! You are right, we need to update!
We give a pre-test each week that helps us select our groups. This pre-test is a 5 question quiz on the skill for the week. We group them based on how they did on the quiz. So we have a high, high-medium, medium-low, and low group. The past two years we have implemented the CCSS. You are correct that it is presenting a new challenge. This coming year our district has adopted a new curriculum that focuses on the CCSS. So I are excited to share my learning through this new process!
Tabitha

2. Thanks for your response! It's exciting stuff :)
Our district is piloting Engage NY, so I am going to give it a go in the rotation model... I'd love to hear how it is going with you!

3. Tracy,
That sounds exciting about your new curriculum. We would love to hear how it goes for you this year as well!
Tabitha

25. Love the idea of math rotations, and am looking for people who are doing that utilizing CCSS and Engage NY.

1. Thanks for reading! Have a great year!

Tabitha