Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I will be implementing math work stations for the first time next year, but the students did partner reading last year and I envision the preparation to be similar. We discussed what should happen at partner reading time and modeled what was expected. If there was a particular problem or I observed inappropriate behavior then we'd get together to model some more. I like the idea of an anchor chart to reinforce expectations so I will work on creating this using pictures and simple text.

One of the concepts I stressed and modeled with my students was how to be a helper and not a teller. I want to do this with math work stations as well. I think the "I Can" cards and the anchor/resource charts will be helpful with this. I hang all my anchor/resource charts from arm extensions on a pocket chart stand where a student is welcome to use them when needed. If we are focusing on a particular concept, the chart may be hanging around the room for a reference. This year I will add math vocabulary cards to use as a resource, too.

I got a document camera in January and LOVE it! In addition to modeling expectations together at large group time, I will use the document camera as another way to model.  Repetition (in all its forms) is GREAT!!! Also, the document camera is a wonderful tool for sharing and reflecting. The children absolutely love to share their learning and ideas using this camera. I noticed that it inspired students to stay on task and do their best so they would get an opportunity to share with their froggy friends.

I really liked the Work Stations Chart from Really Good Stuff, but I didn't really like the price. I love using pocket charts and have one I can use for this purpose. I'm thinking a numbered stations system will work for me instead of picture task cards. I'm going to use the 3 drawer sterilite containers. I'm planning on having 12 math work stations.

Last year I had an equal amount of boys and girls so I partnered a boy with a girl for partner reading time. I switched partners each week. This worked out great! The children started figuring out who they would be partnered with next week, 2 weeks later and so on... If someone was absent and didn't have a partner - no problem, Tad (our class mascot) was their partner for the day. As far as who went first, we'd take turns between the boys and girls, but without knowing next year's class roster I like the suggestion from Heidi Samuelson using high/low numbers for the day. This will work for me because I number my students alphabetically by first name. I also pick numbered sticks on occasion.

Since I'm using the 3 drawer containers for my math work stations I will not have a lid to attach "I Can" charts to sooooo I thought maybe I would make "I Can" cards that would be held together with a metal ring.  Also, this might be a good way to differentiate the stations and as we brainstorm ideas, we could add more cards.  Here are some "I Can" cards, blank sorting mats and labels for sorting I put together real quick.  Let me know what you think?

Hop on over to Mrs. Parker's blog for more tips and ideas.


  1. I'm planning on using the 3 drawer containers too and I had wondered where to put an I Can chart. So are you just going to put a ring in each drawer with the different options for that station?

  2. Yes! I think that makes the math work stations more open-ended. We can add or take away options (whatever is needed) that's why I'll have some blank cards available. I want the children to have some input, but I will give them a head start with a few ideas. I'm thinking this will make the stations easier to differentiate. What do you think?

  3. Thanks for joining the discussion. I like your thought of using drawers. You may just want to place the I can cards in the drawer so students have access to it. As needed, you could change the card depending on what the focus of the work station is. I love using the class mascot as a partner. I have an uneven number of students. This would be the perfect solution.

    BTW- Love your blog design!

  4. I guess I wasn't too clear on the placement of the "I Can" cards, but I plan on putting the cards in the appropriate math work stations...that's why I'm so excited about the cards on the ring! I think it will make it easier to change the focus/differentiate.

    Thanks for complimenting my blog. I'm really new at this blogging stuff and am learning as I go. If you have any tips, please send them my way. :)

  5. I love your downloads- thanks for sharing. Where did you find your clipart of the geometric shapes. I've been searching for some

  6. Thank you for the idea of the class mascot. I usually have an odd number of kids too, so that wll work out great. The I can cards look good. Cant wait to see what other cards you come up with.

  7. Thanks! Keep checking back...I've got more ideas!!!

  8. The geometric shapes are from Microsoft Word. I did have to make the sphere and cone. To make the sphere just add a shadow effect to the circle. For the cone I used a triangle and circle. Hope this helps! I'm glad you liked the downloads. Check back for more!

  9. I'm interested in finding out how Math Work Stations are going in your room once your year gets going!
    Whyte Water