Saturday, March 23, 2013

My Math Block Mini-Series {Part 6}

So this is the final part in this not-so-mini-series! If you missed any of the posts, click below to go back:

So... have learned about Number of the Day...

...Mystery Number, and calendar time.

I know what you're wondering--what else are you doing?? Well, I will tell you, my friends!

Math Lesson/Stations
At the conclusion of calendar time, half of my class goes to stations and the other half goes to the mat with me for the day's lesson.

My class is, literally, half and half in the area of academics, so I have them split high and low (yeah, yeah, I know all the arguments about ability grouping, but I have tried it several different ways and this works best for us).

Almost all of my lessons are taught in these small groups, though some days are whole group if the lesson warrants. My district has adopted CSCOPE (woohoo!--no, really, I like it) so each lesson is loosely based on the activities described in the CSCOPE exemplar lessons (if you have ever used CSCOPE you know that tweaking and supplemental materials is a necessity!). Lesson time is great in small groups! I am really able to zero in on struggles the students may have OR provide extensions for those doing well. In fact, my groups may be on different lessons on the same day if one group has trouble understanding.

For lesson/station time, I have 50 minutes, so I spend 25 minutes with each group. My lesson typically starts with a review of some sort in the form of a discussion or short game. After that, we dive right in! During the lesson, we use manipulatives, play games, have discussions, do partner work, and maybe even complete a recording sheet or worksheet. I obtain grades from the worksheets or with a checklist of skills they need to master. We end the lesson with a little reflection time, either as a discussion or write it on a sticky and put it on a chart.

My kids love station time and (for the most part) do a great job of staying focused and completing work.

(Don't judge her numbers, that pic is from much earlier in the year!!)

The station activities don't really follow a set pattern (they vary by the day or week) and we do not do rotations. Instead, the students simply follow the sequence of the activities I have laid out for them. Here is an example from last week:

They know to work in order from left to right. I typically give 3-4 activities because they will be at stations for about 25 minutes. All of the activities are able to be completed within the timeframe, though I sometimes will choose an activity that takes more than one day to complete, such as my friend, Mr. Moneybags McGee here!:

On the above pictured day's stations, the students first completed a worksheet on time (I also will use station activities for grades). After that, they did a coin sort:

Then animal plate fact families (wayyyyyy fun!):

If they finish all of that then they work on the number boards until it is time to switch. 
I purchased two sets from Really Good Stuff for really cheap! The kids love them and I love how they are an easy time filler.

During station time and for the station group, I assign an "Ask Me" person to assist those who have questions while I am working with the small group. That person also gets to wear this ever-so-coveted tag:

I do this because the small group time goes by so fast, so it is important that it remains uninterrupted. I also want to ensure that the station kids are taken care of and aren't wasting time by doing the wrong thing (since I am not directly supervising the activities they are involved in).  If the "Ask Me" person cannot answer a question, then he/she may come and ask me (better to have 1 ask than 15 others; even then, I rarely have to answer questions).

Grab a copy of the tag, if you need one, by clicking below!

I store mostly all of the station activities I have in these drawers:

Baggie games ready to go.

The drawers are sorted by concept or "big idea" (number sense, place value, money, time, addition/subtraction, etc.). I also have some supplies stored in these drawers.

We usually conclude the day's math work with Lone Star Math on the Promethean board.

Whew--well, this series is now finished! Thanks for checking it out! Feel free to comment or email with any questions!  :)

And remember the little giveaway I have going right now! The winners will be announced this evening. Here is what is at stake:



Happy Saturday!


  1. Wow! I just found your blog and I can't wait to go back and read your posts. I am so interested in how other teachers structure math time so they can work with a small group. I will be your newest blog subscriber!

    The Math Maniac

  2. This is great! I just found you so I get to go through your series. It looks great!
    First Grade Frame of Mind

  3. Hi! I love your ideas! I teach special ed and have a 4th grader who your math stations and calendar time will be great for! I was wondering if you have explained those stations anywhere on your blog? I am interested in the Animal Plate Fact Family, Coin Sorts, Let's make 10. I found the Poppin Patterns on your TPT store. Thanks!