Thursday, November 8, 2012

Math Work Stations

I have always had a love-hate relationship with math, particularly, math centers. Granted, I haven't been teaching long at all, but at student teaching and my practicum, I have never liked teaching math at all. Maybe it's because I don't really like math all that much (shhhh, don't tell my students). Math was never a problem for me until the 7th grade, and it's been downhill ever since. 
And my dislike of math transferred to teaching math, especially when I had a terrible teacher for my math methods class.

In student teaching, we had four centers - two that were teacher lead and two that were "independent" aka not at all. And I hated it. So much. Maybe it was the drag of always having to remind kids to do their jobs, keep their voices down, not throw cubes at each other, etc. or maybe it was because it was at the end of the day...not sure.

So I started the year off with similar centers - I had five centers and it just didn't work. Kids were  being annoying not doing the center correctly, talking too much, or not being on task.

Enter Debbie Dillar's Math Workstations. Seriously, this book was completely changed the way I organize my math centers. Now I don't use it perfectly, but I took the general structure and fit it into my classroom. I have a bunch of different centers and only two students are at each one (with the exception of computers since I have four student computers and meeting with me). 

Now I still have students who get off task. And what does Debbie say about that? She says just have the offender come and sit right by you. So that is just what I do. And it works. And it makes me happy!! 

Some of my stations are from Debbie's book, others are ones from TPT, and others are from student teaching.

Roll and Record. Students roll two dice - one with dots and one with numbers, which helps them learn counting on. They then color in a square above the number. Whichever number gets to the top first is the "winner".

Collections. Students count their collections by ones, twos, fives, and/or tens. They can also sort by color, shape, size, or however they can group them.

Hundreds Chart. I found this gem in my room. It's a hundreds chart that has little tiles which each have one number on it. The students can then fill in the tiles. When they do so, they count forwards and backwards.

More Than/ Less Than/ Same As. I found this activity somewhere in Blogland (if it's yours or you know who created it, please let me know so I can give them credit!). There are a variety of cards with equations on them. There are three cards - one says Greater than 9, one says Less than 9, and one says Same as 9. The students then have to figure out where each card belongs and place it underneath the correct category.

Buttons in a Cup. Students start off with some buttons. One student hides some buttons under the cup. The other student has to figure out how many are hiding based on how many they see. Then they switch jobs.

Skyscrapers. Students roll two dice (again one with numbers and one with dots) to determine how cubes will be in their tower. They take turns until all the black dots are filled. Then they count all their cubes to determine who had more cubes.

Computers. A hit stations among students. Here, students can pick from a few websites that have math games.

Card Games. Students can pick to Go Fish or War. 

Meeting with me at the rainbow table! Here, we usually do number sense activities, CGI problems, or I re-teach concepts from large group to students who might need some extra time. This kiddos are working on CGI division and how they could divide 15 pieces of candy between the five of us.

What do you do for math centers/work stations??


  1. I don't do math centers!! I know!! I've been meaning to incorporate them but just haven't had a chance!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Sweet Times in First

  2. I don't do math centers either:( I'm am just like you were. I hate math always have. It just was never easy for me as a kid. The good news is that almost always my kiddos love it. NOt sure why but I won't fight them on it. I really like the rolling 2 die one number and one dots. I never would have thought of that. Keep up the great work your kiddos look like they are really enjoying themselves:)

    The Busy Busy Hive

    1. I get cheers when I say it's time for math centers and shocked/sad voices when there isn't time for it that day. They love their math centers!

  3. We do Everyday Math which doesn't leave much time for centers. EM has its merits and challenges, though. Debbie Diller rocks! Glad it's helped you! I'm your newest follower!
    Growing Firsties is having a Pete the Cat Giveaway that also donates to Hurricane Sandy Relief!

  4. Hi! I just found your blog and I'm a new follower! I used to LOVE math stations when I taught kindergarten!


  5. What fun math centers! Thanks for sharing! I'm really enjoying your blog and would like to nominate you for a Liebster award. Check it out here: