Math Workstations PART 1: The WHY - Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Math Workstations PART 1: The WHY

Ever wonder why I started this here blog?!?  Back three and a half years ago when I first started, it was all about reflection for me.  I have always been one who thinks better when I write.  

My blog makes me a better teacher.

I have a confession.  I let workstations slide over the last month or so.  

No good reason.  

Except that it is easier to stay whole group. OUCH! That is hard to admit.  But it is true.  This year I have worked SO hard on shaping my ELA and Writer's Workshop just the way that I want it that sometimes by math time I am exhausted and don't give it the effort that it and my kids deserve.  

Well that is changing RIGHT now. 

I planned out my week so that we could take our measurement test yesterday and review routines and rituals for Math Workstations today so we could get those bad boys ROCKIN' and ROLLIN' again.  No more excuses.

Need convincing in order to join me on this journey?

Here are my top 5 reasons why you should try work stations.

1. Number sense, number sense, number sense.
I really don't think you need numbers 2-5 after you think about this one.  I don't know a math teacher that doesn't wish their kids had better number sense.  It is the basis for everything.  Our kids rely on the PROCESS way too much.  When they really GET numbers, they shouldn't have to memorize routines.

2.Every kid is accountable.
My kids work in pairs.  There is no lally-gogging, bumps on a log, daydreaming, whatever you want to call it.  EVERYone works.  I do not, repeat do not, put my high kid with my low kids to help them out.  In my opinion this is a huge no-no.  Here's my reasoning, all too often the low kids just copy or the high kids do it for them.  I stick low with low, high with high.  This way the low kids are not intimidated and if need be I can tailor the work just for them.  The high kids challenge each other to try out new ideas or improve their automaticity. 

3. Small group reteach or acceleration.
I have worked it out so that the four kids that come to me during each station have relatively the same needs (I will explain this better next post, I promise).  This way I can tailor my instruction to exactly what they need.  This means that two pairs of kids come to me at a time.  That means that there are 8 other activities are going on around the room *quietly*.

4. Work Stations are fun.
What kid doesn't like games?!?!  Now- I intentionally don't call them centers.  They are WORK stations because the kids WORK the whole time, but they are still fun and kids learn through play.

5.  We need to reach them ALL.

I promise you.  If you are only teaching whole group, there are kids who are hiding.  I've seen it this month.  The kids who follow along well but don't REALLY get it.  We owe them the chance to explore with numbers. We owe them the chance to ask questions in small group.  We owe them the chance to REALLY get it.

Did I convince you?

Are you saying okay, okay, now what?

I've got you. :) Well at least soon I do. 

I decided to break this post into several different sections because--well it's Friday and we are all tired. No really.  It would be way too long for one post!  I will be back soon with a post on organization with tons of pictures!

For now, here are links to some(?) of my Math Work Station packets on TPT:

your photo name


  1. Preach!!! Can't wait for the rest of your posts on math work stations...I must admit Spring fever is taking hold and I've been a little L. A. Z. Y. As far as math stations go. Thanks for the inspiration!!!

  2. I don't always do math centers, but I used them a lot during my numbers to 100 unit. The kids loved it, and we got a lot covered during them! I think I'm going to plan a bunch of them this summer for next year :)

  3. I can't wait to read all about your math stations. I could really teach math all day if they let me. :)

  4. Thank you for this post! Your comment about working with partners and matching levels makes so much sense! Plus you still meet each kid based on skill in a small group setting-wow! I also agree 110% on number sense-I think I may a comment in regards to that during every math lesson. Can't wait to read part 2!

  5. Thank you for your post! I can't wait to read more about the math work stations. I am also very interested and would love to hear how you have laid out your ELA and writer's workshop that you mentioned. Like you, I am constantly investigating my practices and revamping what I am doing in order to help the students in the best possible manner! Thanks again for all your hard work!

  6. Your post is just the push I needed to get myself motivated to continue implementing math centers. The kids love it when we get to them.

  7. This has been a year of change for me...I am really trying to do this type of instruction. has had issues and I need to improve it. I am looking forward to more posts on this.

  8. Thanks for sharing this post. I too have been wiped out and lazy by the time we get to our Math station time. Although I have been sending my kiddos to stations, I just haven't been pulling small groups. Instead I just kind of circle the room 'observing' or taking care of all the odd things that have accumulated on my desk throughout the day. I've been feeling lots of guilt over it too and needed some motivation to get back on track. Thanks!

  9. Love this...bookmarked so I can keep coming back to re-read! Amen to the grouping idea...the highest kids should not have to serve as 'teachers' for the others! Cannot wait to read the rest of the series!

  10. I love this. I too have been teaching TOO much whole group to "save time". Going back to more work stations! Looking forward to your next installment....
    LOVE your blog!

  11. I love this. I too have been teaching TOO much whole group to "save time". Going back to more work stations! Looking forward to your next installment....
    LOVE your blog!

  12. Oh Boy! I guess we are all in the same boat. I have never done "guided math", but this post is so inspiring, that we may just end the year with it. My team mate and I are piloting the Bridges program and it is filled with work stations. I have NO excuse.

  13. I agree that number 1 is absolutely the most important but they are all good reasons to do math work stations. I always say to teachers that if you do not find time to do small group instruction then you are not meeting the needs of all students. Without an extra teacher or two in the room, work stations are the best way to get this!

    The Math Maniac

  14. I can't wait for your next post.

  15. I feel like this post was written just for me! Yesterday I got Debbie Diller's Math Station book in the mail. I teach 2nd grade, but the Accelerated (3rd Grade) math class. I have always wanted to do math stations but was clueless! I am looking forward to reading your other posts! I also need help with WRITING! I'll have to search your blog for posts about your Writers Workshop :)

    p.s. I'm doing a giveaway on my blog and would love for you to check it out :)

  16. I am so glad you are doing follow up posts. I have some questions that hopefully you can address in your posts. When do you teach a new concept? How much time do you spend on new concepts vs. workstations? Is your small group part of the workstation rotation? What do you work on in small group, the new concept or what they struggling in? How long is your math block? This is the big one: How do you know the students are doing the correct work at each station? Do you check 8 stations worth of work at the end of math or at the end of the day?

  17. Great post! It sounds like we have a similar system for work stations, and I also had let them slide a bit after winter break. But we got back on track a few weeks ago and I am loving math time again! Can't wait to read your follow up posts!
    Still Teaching After All These Years

  18. I never put my his and lows together either! we do a lot of the same things! :) and I totally love that "Sum Fall Fun" title :)

  19. Great post Katie! Your students are so lucky to have you as their teacher!
    Fun In First

  20. So glad I saw this post!! I started Math Rotations/Work Stations last week in my class and my kids LOVE them! Most of the time, they don't even realize they are practicing math concepts we've learned! I can't wait to read more of your advice/techniques for your Math Work Stations!

  21. I know you posted a while ago, but what math stations do you do every week? Do you keep the skills the same and rotate the activities? I know you said you would update your post so I'll look forward to reading more. :) Thanks!


  22. I am so glad that you linked back to this post! Now that the summer is here and my stress level is down, I realize I fell into this routine too. I was so busy with my Phonics, and language arts lessons trying to get my little readers reading, I let my math slide into easy. It is easier to teach "the lesson" from the curriculum guide as whole group. But it is not fair to your class. The brighter kids are bored, the low kids are bored and the middles are doing rote learning...Not a lot of learning going on. Thank you for reminding me to bring back my Math...uh, Work Stations. Pauline at First Grade by the Sea

  23. Thanks for explaining how you group your kiddos! Makes so much sense hearing it from someone else. Off to read post 2!

    For the Love of First Grade

  24. Would you mind sharing what procedures you taught and for how long? Did you use a chart system for rotations? How long did you use your math activities? Love what I see!

  25. Would you mind sharing what procedures you taught and for how long? Did you use a chart system for rotations? How long did you use your math activities? Love what I see!

  26. Its been vitally established under some good provisions and principles and hopefully these will further bring around more respective math assistance in future. why do you want to be a teacher

  27. Presently we are going to cover a couple steps that can really make getting an awful credit cruiser advance only that much less demanding. When you are done understanding this, you will have the capacity to go out and get a bike that you have constantly needed! check cashing

  28. When vigilant for an auto renegotiating administration, make a diagram for yourself of the considerable number of loan specialists and their rates in your close region. Likewise observe the terms that accompany those auto credits, since they may influence your rates. cash advance chicago

  29. With lethal mischances on the ascent, it is basic that you purchase bike protection that spreads numerous perspectives, for example, flame, robbery and even outsider protection in the event that you can bear the cost of it since you never know with engine cycles. On the off chance that you happened to purchase your bicycle with the guide of an advance, you will be even in more need of cruiser protection in any event until you have ponied up all required funds. Cash Advance

  30. A man who purchases an utilized truck can spare cash, however in the event that he buys it in a private arrangement, he is less inclined to comprehend what he is getting. Anybody taking a gander at the truck can for the most part see the state of the body. cash advance san-diego


  31. شركة نقل عفش
    اهم شركات مكافحة حشرات بالخبر كذلك معرض اهم شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام والخبر والجبيل والخبر والاحساء والقطيف كذلك شركة رش حشرات بالدمام ومكافحة الحشرات بالخبر
    شركة مكافحة حشرات بالدمام
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة الجوهرة من افضل شركات تنظيف الخزانات بجدة حيث ان تنظيف خزانات بجدة يحتاج الى مهارة فى كيفية غسيل وتنظيف الخزانات الكبيرة والصغيرة بجدة على ايدى متخصصين فى تنظيف الخزانات بجدة
    شركة تنظيف خزانات بجدة
    شركة كشف تسربات المياه بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش واثاث


  32. شركة نقل عفش بالرياض وجدة والدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
    شركة نقل عفش بجدة
    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام


Back to Top