Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Transformation Tuesday: Getting Started with Math Stations- What Structure to Use

The next aspect of implementing math stations to consider is what structure to use. This decision is related to how you decide to set-up 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 4-station rotation, I include a Teacher Station, a Math Facts and Computations Station, a Hands-on 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 fill-in 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 (hands-on), 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, check-out my Math Stations Board on Pinterest.

Sound Off! How do you structure your math stations? 

Up Next: What Resources to Include?


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