Posts Tagged ‘math stations’

Last month my Stenhouse editors Philippa Stratton and Toby Gordon took a welcome break from their Maine winter to visit Houston at the start of our spring season! They visited classrooms at Askew Elementary where I’ve been working all year in preparation for filming a video on math work stations in grades 1 and 2 next fall. It was fun watching stations in action, and my editors got their first glance at seeing a Smart Board being used by students, too! After our visit, they had a chance to dine outdoors before heading back to the airport (and the freezing Northeast!). Their visit was a treat for us all!


My math editor, Toby, talks with a pair of 2nd graders at a math station about their work.

My editors, Philippa and Toby check out the Smart Board in Asma's 2nd grade classroom along with Rebecca, our producer.

Philippa, Editorial Director at Stenhouse Publishers, enjoys visiting the classrooms where I am working.



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Math data station

Recently I worked with a second grade teacher who was teaching her students about collecting data and recording it on a variety of graphs. As a class, they collected data about which food was their favorite, and then they made a table, pictograph, and bar graph to represent the information. As I watched the lesson, I thought about how this could be moved into a math station for further investigation and practice.

Together we brainstormed questions kids wanted to use for collecting data in the class. I wrote each question on an index card and added a small illustration to help students who needed support in reading them. These will be placed at a math station along with recording sheets. Students will collect data and record their findings using tables, pictographs, or bar graphs. They may also write questions to use for interpreting the data. I duplicated the cards so that several pairs of children can use these materials at once.

Mrs. Ahmed records data and models how to make a table

We make an anchor chart together about the kinds of graphs

Survey questions were made with the class and will be placed at a math station

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Out of the mouths of babes

Recently, I got this email from a teacher about my upcoming math book. Just had to share it with you all to put a smile on your faces:

Hi Debbie,
It is an IMMENSE RELIEF to hear you only have two chapters remaining in your math book adventure.  This is why.  While reviewing units of measure for our state testing in early March, I asked my 4th graders, “Ok, next one.  How many feet are in a yard?” One of my more creative thinkers replied, “Well, DUH, it depends on how many you invite over!!”  
Isn’t that a good one! Not to worry, I’ve finished writing the chapter about measurement stations! I’m writing about addition and subtraction stations right now. Almost there! 

Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni is such a wonderful book to read aloud to introduce children to measurement.

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Recently I had the privilege of observing and working with fine math teachers at Stehlik Intermediate in Houston. These folks rock at teaching 5th and 6th grade math! Their instruction was clear, consistent, and creative. Here’s a peek of some of the things I saw there.

Sixth grade anchor chart on angles

Sixth graders draw and label different kinds of angles in their original art

Fifth graders use clickers to show their answers

Sixth graders move around the classroom to use sticky notes to find and label different kinds of angles

Buddy talk in 5th grade math

Teacher checks with students during buddy talk

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Loving kindergarten at Lovett

One of the highlights of recent weeks has been working with kindergartners at Lovett Elementary School in Houston. It’s one of the places where I’m studying math work stations. The other day we read my big book, One, Two Buckle My Shoe, from www.reallygoodstuff.com and then acted it out with retelling pieces. It will be at the big book station for children to reread and act out soon.

Reading One, Two Buckle My Shoe in whole group

Kids act out One, Two Buckle My Shoe

I also had so much fun working in kindergarten with Heather Gaines and Kathryn Kraitman. We’ve been studying geometry and the children are learning about 2-D and 3-D shapes. Here are a few pics of kids in action at their math stations. They LOVE stations time!

Partners read a shape big book made by the class


Kids work together to sort 3-D shapes


2-D paper shape sort at a math station

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A new math station for addition and subtraction features bats

Last week, Mary and I examined her 1st grade math stations closely and made decisions about which to switch out. Some of the things we’d put in them the students have mastered by now, and some just needed to be updated based upon new things she’s teaching.

Because her first graders are now learning about addition and subtraction, we’ve just added a new station. Here’s what’s in this tub:

  • laminated math storyboard picturing a tree
  • little bats in a snack-size ziplock bag (for telling stories)
  • differentiated dice (with colored dots on the baggies for different groups of students)
  • cards with pictures of the students and their names
  • a picture book for retelling addition  and subtraction stories

At this station, students can tell stories about bats. They roll the dice and make a story problem using the numbers, such as this one:

Ajya saw 4 bats flying by the tree. Thomas saw 6 more bats. How many bats in all?

Children record their problem and solution with pictures, numbers, and words. Even after Halloween, they will still enjoy working with bats. When they tire of bats, we’ll add new storyboards and characters.

What addition stations are you trying in your classroom?

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It is so good to be back in classrooms again! All summer I worked around the U.S. with teachers, but the kids were off for the summer. Last week our schools were open, so I got to go to a few of my favorite rooms to work with the students (and their teachers). I visited a few math classes and introduced our first math station in one classroom. We taught a game to the whole class (very throroughly), had two students show the rest of the class how to play, and then had all kids play with partners as their first math station. More to follow in the next few weeks.

The secret is to introduce each station well, one at a time, to be sure students understand the routine and can work independently. Take something you’ve taught well, and then have students do it with a partner. The teacher isn’t working with small groups. She is walking around the room, checking in and observing students at work.

Two students model how to play the game, Close to 100, for the rest of the class

Two students model how to play the game, Close to 100, for the rest of the class


Directions written with the class on how to play this game

Directions written with the class on how to play this game

All students play in pairs around the room

All students play in pairs around the room

Jamila checks in with partners as they work at their first math station

Jamila checks in with partners as they work at their first math station

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