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Math Work Stations. March 21, 2012. Agenda at-a-glance:. Math Stations Introduction Where Are You with Stations? Organizing, Managing, & Getting Started! Station Ideas - Exploration. Introduction Activity. Organize yourself in groups of 6 by grade level Introduce yourself to your team

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Math Work Stations

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Math Work Stations

March 21, 2012

Agenda at-a-glance:

  • Math Stations Introduction

  • Where Are You with Stations?

  • Organizing, Managing, & Getting Started!

  • Station Ideas - Exploration

Introduction Activity

  • Organize yourself in groups of 6 by grade level

  • Introduce yourself to your team

  • Come up with a team name

So, where are you with math stations?

Red: What are stations anyway?

Yellow: Not quite, but really interested. I have tried a few.

Green: I have stations established in my room, but need new ideas.

Math Stations

Call it whatever you want--math centers, learning centers, math stations, work stations--all the current research is saying it is a component of effective mathematics instruction. 

Textbook programs, including Investigations, Everyday Math, and Saxon, are all including math stations into their instructional models. 

We know the model works in reading; it can work in math too.

Picture Walk…

  • Chapter 1

    • What a math station IS and what it ISN’T

  • Chapters 2-3

    • A focus on…managing time, materials, and student behaviors

  • Chapters 4-8

    • A focus on…specific skills, strategies, and activities related to NCTM & Common Core State Standards strands

  • Glossary & Appendix

    • Pictured glossary and useful blacklines

Chapter 1:What Is a Math Work Station?


  • What is a math work station?

    • Come up with a definition of what your group believes is a math work station

    • Place definition on chart paper

    • Include team name

    • Be prepared to share with whole group

Laying the foundation

  • Everyone read pages 1-7 using protocol

  • Jigsaw 7-14 (share main ideas)

    • Areas within the classroom

    • Working with partners

    • Using Instructional Materials

    • Variety of Activities

    • Opportunities for Independent Exploration

    • Differentiated Math Instruction

Gradual Release Model

  • I Do…You Watch

    • Teacher models, thinks out loud while using manipulatives

  • I Do…You Help

    • Teacher models, thinks out loud while using manipulatives

    • Children share task as they are guided with their own manipulatives

  • You Do…I Help

    • Teacher provides guidance as children encounter difficulties

  • You Do…I Watch

    • Children independently utilize manipulatives at math work stations

    • Teacher works with small groups or individual students

Differences from Traditional Centers

Using Instructional Materials PREVIOUSLY USED…

Attribute BlocksBalance Scale

Base Ten BlocksUnifix Cubes

CountersJudy Clock

LinksTen Frames

Five FramesStory Boards

To Practice Authentic Mathematical Skills!




Working Alone or with Partners…Be Flexible

Concerned about noise?

Create a management system where your students will work together (especially in the beginning of the year) or alone to reduce the noise.

Math Work Stations

“Best of all, students in work stations are constantly solving problems, reasoning, representing, communicating, and connecting while working with numbers and mathematical concepts. They practice using math vocabulary and interact with a partner to help cement this new learning. At math work stations, children are engaged learners.”

Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller, Stenhouse, 2011.

Common Core – Standards for Mathematical Practice

  • Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them

  • Reason abstractly and quantitatively

  • Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others

  • Model with mathematics

  • Using appropriate tools strategically

  • Attend to precision

  • Look for and make use of structure

  • Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning

Chapter 2:Organizing & Managing Math Materials

An Area Within the Classroom


  • Sort

  • Purge

  • Assign Home

  • Containerize

  • Equalize

    Adapted from Julie Morgenstern author of Organizing from the Inside Out (2004)

How to Organize Your Manipulatives

Step 1: Sort your stuff. Stay put while you sort!

Step 2: Purge the things you don’t use for teaching.

Step 3: Put what you’ll keep in containers (containerize) and place them in storage areas (assign a home).

Step 4: Maintain your storage system. (Equalize every day)

ACTIVITY – Table Graffiti

  • At your table brainstorm manipulatives that could be used for the math topic on your chart paper – 3 minutes

  • Travel to next table

  • Add new ideas to poster

  • Rotate through all topics

Chapter 3:Getting Started with Math Work Stations

When and Where Do I Begin?

  • 1st and 2nd – start to introduce second week of school

  • K – in the first three to four week start with exploration stations – introducing different types of manipulatives through exploration

    Additional ideas on pg. 44

No small group work until your class is ready – Diller suggests at least 4-6 weeks of teacher observation!

Introducing a New Station

  • Gather all materials for new station and place in a labeled container (previously taught materials).

  • Show the materials to the whole class and discuss what students can do at this station.

  • Make an “I can” list together if necessary.

In Our Room Math Work Stations Should…

  • Look Like:

    • Kids are working with math ideas.

    • Kids are taking turns nicely.

    • Kid are talking with their partners about math.

    • Things are put back in their places.

    • Kids are on task.

    • Kids are using materials like the teacher showed.

    • Teacher is not interrupted while working with a group.

In Our Room Math Work Stations Should…

  • Sound Like:

    • Quiet voices so others can learn.

    • Using math talk.

    • Talking with just your partner.

    • Making choices together.

    • “Let’s try this together.”

In Our Room Math Work Stations Should…

  • Feel Like:

    • I can do it!

    • I like to solve problems.

    • Calm

    • I like math!

      See page 45 for sample chart

The Daily Routine


  • A mini-lesson or modeling would take place before you begin your math work station time. It is intended to be brief (3-7 minutes) of teaching/modeling/role playing to provide focus and direction to your work station time.

  • There are 3 different times when a mini-lesson or modeling is helpful

    • When you are first introducing the math station

    • When you are adding something new to a station

    • When you’re reviewing (or re-modeling) a work station activity

Mini-Lesson Ideas How to…

  • use the equipment/materials

  • share materials

  • take turns

  • decide what to do at a station

  • solve a problem

  • put things away

  • switch to the next work station

    See pages 47-54 for additional ideas

Other Mini-Lesson Ideas

  • To create “I can” lists with students for certain stations

  • To create a math talk card for stations

    See pages 47-54 for additional ideas

Brainstorm Additional Ideas

Additional Thoughts…

  • Frequently Asked Questions

  • Management Boards

  • Sharing Time

  • Solving Ongoing Problems at Math Work Stations

  • Scheduling

    Pages 55-66 are a must read by all!

A word from our math work station practitioners.

As a group revisit your original definition of “what is a math work station?” – make any necessary changes


Orientation of Chapters 4-8

  • What you will find – each chapter different topic:

    • Key concepts

    • What the children do at the workstations around the topic

    • Vocabulary – grade level specific

    • Sample station ideas

    • Materials you might use

    • What the teacher needs to model

    • Connections to Problem Solving

    • Literature Links

    • Technology Connections

    • Troubleshooting

    • Differentiating the stations

    • Ideas to keep the stations going

    • How to assess

    • Kindergarten Considerations

Addition and Subtraction – Chapter 5

  • Kindergarten CCSS

    • K.OA.1 - K.OA.5

  • First Grade CCSS

    • 1.OA.1 -1.OA.8

  • Second Grade CCSS

    • 2.OA.1 – 2.OA.4

      See handout

Investigation Time

  • Explore math work stations packet

    • Complete the stations as if students

    • Identify how/if you could use

    • What did you like what didn’t you like?

    • Which common core standards math the activity?

Research/Brainstorm Time

  • Search Math Workstations book

  • Search the internet – using provided resources

  • Come up with additional workstation around addition and subtraction

  • Create to share with whole group




  • - interactive activities - great for whiteboard

  • - outstanding get you started on the math workstations book online!!!! It is by chapter

Discuss and share with your team what steps you plan on taking after the session today. What additional support do you need to implement math work stations in your classroom?

Final Thoughts

Something that squares with my beliefs

Something still circling in my head

3 points to remember

Thank you!


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