Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Transformation Tuesday: Getting Started with Math Stations- Where Do Stations Fit in the Learning Cycle?

One of the questions I hear most often when I talk about using math stations is, "Where do they fit in your day-to-day math program?" One of the best qualities of math stations is their versatility. They can be used in a variety of ways to meet many different goals. For example, they can replace an old, dated math review. Or, they can be used to provide a variety of practice opportunities for a specific skill. In addition, they can give new life to an intervention or tutoring session. 

The table below identifies three instructional uses for math stations-- as a formative, summative, or responsive tool. Use the illustration to explore ways stations rotations can be used to support classroom assessment and provide essential information that can be used to support instructional decisions.

Another question that I receive is about grading. I am frequently asked whether or not I grade station tasks. The simple answer is no. I view station rotations as opportunities for review and do not use the tasks as opportunities to get additional grades for the gradebook. Believe it or not, this philosophy actually makes stations the most enjoyable instructional activity that we do for the students. The students know that the stations are about learning and nothing more. 

However, if I need some data to support instructional decisions, I use one of the strategies above. I either create a skill-based question to support the work done after each station task is complete or I create a short assessment to be completed by the class after the station rotation is finished. In both of these cases, the second case more so than the first, I may assign a grade for informative purposes and to allow the student, the students' family, and me to be on the same page with the students' strengths and areas for growth.  

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! What burning questions do you have about station rotations?

Up Next: Why Use Math Stations?


  1. This is just what I need! Dumb question: I only see an intro page, at the bottom you say "as you read through this series"...is there a link to the series?
    Thank you!

    1. Hi Katie! I'm so glad that you found the post useful. To answer your question, you can filter the post to see just that series by using the labels on the right sidebar of my blog. Clicking the "Transformation Tuesday" or "Math Stations" links will get you to the series. I included the link for your convenience below. Happy Reading! http://www.therouttymathteacher.com/search/label/Math%20Stations