The next aspect
of implementing math stations to consider is what structure to use. This
decision is related to how you decide to setup your stations. For me, the most
difficult decision is how to structure my station rotations. However, there are
a couple of questions that I need to ask myself when I am deciding what
structure to use. I've included a short list below:
* How many
students do I want to be in a group?
* How many
tasks do I want to use?
* How much time
is needed to complete each task?
* How much time
do I have to devote to the station rotation, i.e one day, multiple days, etc?
Once I have
determined the answer to these questions, I select a structure. The table below
includes some examples of structures that I have used over the years.
After I have decided on a structure, I determine how I want to theme the stations. In order to meet a variety of learning styles and to help me stay organized, I use the same types of stations each week. For example, for the 4station rotation, I include a Teacher Station, a Math Facts and Computations Station, a Handson Activities Station, and an Individual Practice Station (the picture below shows an example).

Note: While this picture is titled "Math Workshop," I did not use a workshop model; it was just what I titled it for the students. 
Organizing the station rotation this way allows me the opportunity to just fillin the blanks on my station planning sheet. Each week, I know I need an activity to fit each station type.This saves planning time because I know I need a game (handson), independent practice (like a menu or a VersaTiles activity), and a computational fluency task (like an applet on the computer). How easy is that!
Please join me next week for the continuation of this post to read about what tasks and activities to include and what methods to use to stay organized.
Here's a challenge for you: As you read through this series, think about a time when a station rotation can be used to replace something that you are planning to do in an upcoming unit. In the meantime, checkout my Math Stations Board on Pinterest.