Are you ready to get MATH STATIONS rolling in your room, but still a little nervous? Or maybe you are just ready to change things up a bit to be more organized. This post has some great tips and tricks for you!
First of all, when you first get started with math stations, you may want to consider not differentiating. (GASP!) I know. I said it. This is not a must- if you feel your kids can handle it right away, go for it! But in my math workshop, I think getting my routine down and helping kids understand how to access stations, how to work well with others, and how to clean up needs to happen first!
Organization is KEY. Making sure everything is together and ready for them at each station will keep them from roaming the room or worse, INTERRUPTING you when you are with your small group! If you have been a follower of mine, you know I LOVE my 10-drawer rainbow cart.
It doesn’t take up a lot of room and all of the stations fit in it nicely. The kids can just take out the entire drawer and take it to the place where they will work, or they can take out what they need from the drawer. It’s your decision! Also make sure your manipulatives are organized in a way that is easy for the students to get to- base-ten blocks, for instance, are not going to fit in the drawers- use a Rubbermaid tub that is easy for students to open and close.
Another must-have for organization is Ziploc bags! If there is a game or an activity where students work as partners or in a group, put everything they will need in the bag.
For your own sanity (and the students’ too), QUIET DICE are a must!! I have two tricks for you:
You can read this post about using felt for dice- it keeps the dice from clacking all over the desk tops. Another option is foam dice! A lot of the manipulative kits are coming with these now. The only drawback is they are usually only found as 6-sided, and I LOVE 10-sided dice!
Of course, having students sit on carpeted floor for dice games is a great option, too!
LAMINATE EVERYTHING! It will keep the paper police happy, and keep you from visiting the copier as much. Students can use dry erase markers or vis-a-vis markers and then wipe it off. Stations can then be used more than once through the year, and you don’t have to really prep anything!
I also love this because “we’re done” is not allowed. Oh you finished that game? Wipe it clean and start over! The great thing about games with dice and cards is they aren’t ever really playing the “same” game since the numbers change every time!
Anticipate what they might need… this can be tricky sometimes so make sure students know where manipulatives are that they can access any time. But, for example, if you know your lower students struggle with multiplication facts, provide some tiles they can use to make groups in a multiplication game.
This will not only MAKE them practice (which is the whole point of stations), but it will prevent them from just guessing until their partner tells them they are right.
I hope these tips help your Math Workshop go smoothly! Check out my Guide to Launching Math Workshop for more tips, as well as some starter stations! Need more stations and games for your classroom? Check out all of my math units in my TPT store!
Follow my Math Workshop Pinterest Board for even more great ideas!