Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Math Stations: Logistics

You may recall last year when I walked you through my math block in a mini-series. Well, this year I have math set up much differently than before. I use a station rotation system (like Guided Math) to deliver my instruction. Part 1: Logistics.

Math is split into two blocks this year (instead of one big chunk of time), we have added a supplemental program called Excel Math to our daily activities, and I have a TOTALLY different bunch of kids. Different bunch of kids = Different bunch of problems. :/

This year, I have math from 11:05-12:20 and 1:05-2:10. The second part of math includes of a restroom break, Excel Math, and calendar time, and also includes a computer class once a week. So, basically, all of the great instruction/important stuff needs to occur in the first block.

During this time, we do math videos, ten-frame games, or hundreds chart activities usually taken from this book:

I pull some of our ten-frame activities from this unit:

And here are some of our favorite videos to use as a warm-up:

 This is the beginning part of our core lesson, directed to all students. This lesson is meant to get the students ready to focus on the day's skill that will be taught. This can include a story, game, video, hands-on exploration, or simply just a discussion.

After the focus lesson, we begin rotations/math stations. I then continue the core lesson with small groups of students, which is much more effective than delivering the lesson whole group.

Our stations are:


Ahem. Excuse the mess of the buckets...... ;)

If you love the labels, grab them below for FREE!

After the focus lesson, we are ready to use this handy-dandy rotation board: 
If you can't tell, this is displayed on my Promethean board using ActivInspire. This is the EASIEST rotation board I have EVER had: 
  • The students' names are at the top inside the shapes, which are my five groups (it usually doesn't say "name", hahaha. I did that to protect my students' privacy!). I have divided them into 5 similar-ability groups. I do this so that I am able to target specific needs of my students. I can meet the low ones where they are at and challenge my high ones as appropriate. Don't have a cow--the groups are fluid, so a student may move groups several times throughout the year based on his/her needs. ;)

  • The numbers going down the sides represent the round number. Each group (shape) looks below the group's shape to see their rotation order. I tried to make it super easy for students to understand. :)

  • The stars in each group represent the person who will be using the iPad during Math with Technology. The rest of that group will use the classroom computers. The only thing I have to change daily is the little star--I move it to the next person so everyone will have a chance to use the iPad during the week.

Rotations are like so:

As you can see, each block is 10 or 15 minutes long. The timing may be shorter/longer depending on how long/short my "Math with Teacher" group is. I typically am able to get through all stations in one day. If time becomes an issue, I combine my last two teacher groups into one and deliver the lesson to both at once (9 students is still better than the whole group!).

Our math block concludes with calendar time, followed by another fun and favorite math video to close us out (usually an up-on-your-feet video).

Stay tuned for the next post, which will explain/show the station activities and, of course, include more freebies! :)


  1. OH MY GOSH. This post was exactly what I needed. I've been doing whole group math, and while the students do their independent work, I pull a group of strugglers to the table to review... It stinks, and I've been trying to devise a way to do math rotations (I do daily 5, so this looks like a super idea for me!) I cannot wait until your next post... You're in inspiration!

    Mr. First Grade

    1. THANKS, Andrew!!!! :D :D :D

      I do Daily 5 as well and it is nice to carry over those same expectations we establish for our rounds of Daily 5. :)

  2. This is a fantastic post and so well supported by your pictures! I love that you have so much time dedicated to math. I too have been using a lot of You Tube videos this year!

    The Math Maniac

    1. Thanks, Tara! YouTube is such a great teaching tool!

  3. Thank you for such a detailed post! I have been wanting to revamp my math schedule and I love how you have organized yours!

    P.S. I nominated you for the Sunshine Blogger Award. All the info is in an email I sent you. :)
    Searching for Teacher Balance

  4. Thanks so much for sharing this! I am wanting to do something with my math block to make it more efficient but I'm very restricted with my schedule. Will have to do some thinking over the summer.
    Mrs. Landry's Land of Learning

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. wow! I want to bring my baby cousin on that place, I love it, Thanks for sharing....
    logistics management

  7. How can I get your promethean board sign up? That is exactly what I have been needing!!!