There are many benefits for your students when it comes to guided math and math stations. Math Stations (or math centers) are simple tasks that your students complete independently or with a group while you work with students at the teacher table. These tasks might include games, interactive notebooks, task cards, technology, and so much more.
Let’s talk about 5 reasons why your students should be doing math stations.
You all know that your kiddos can only handle so much content being thrown at them before they begin to get antsy! Since their attention span is only so big, it is necessary to give them the much needed physical movement every so often.
Math stations allow your students to move around the classroom every 15-20 minutes by standing up and rotating to the next activity.
This movement allows their brains to refocus and recharge to help stay on task! Brain breaks are also something that I implement and highly suggest to use with your students.
I always include 2 brain breaks during my math instruction that are usually 2-3 minutes each!
- The first one is right after my whole group instruction before we break off and begin stations
- The second one is always between the 2nd and 3rd station activities
Similar to adults needing teamwork skills, it is also important for students to learn how to work together!
One of the most important things you can do is to take time during your routines and procedures. You must model how to work with a partner or team. Situations such as how to play together, how not to play together, how to clean up as a team are all great examples that can be modeled to teach students!
Have you ever had students who do not follow appropriate behaviors during stations? I know it can be an annoyance to have to stop the entire class, but at this point, redirection is necessary!
Decide to come to a quick stop, call your students to the carpet, and once again model what appropriate teamwork looks like!
Before you know it, your students will use your modeled instruction guidelines and be begging for more teamwork activities!
We have all had those students who want others to do all the work for them. Math stations allows independence by creating that accountability for each student!
Second grade has always been my favorite because you really see their independence shift from the beginning of the school year to the end!
Independence during math stations allows students to problem solve and figure out they need to do on their own without you holding their hand every step of the way!
Review. Review. Review. Just how are you supposed to teach new concepts while still reviewing previous knowledge?
Include it in your math stations!
Your math center time is the perfect opportunity for your students to review previously taught skills all year long. AFTER a skill is taught, I add it to your station rotations.
The only skill that always stays the same is math facts. These are foundational skills students need to progress in their learning. Don’t be afraid to keep reviewing them throughout the entire year!
My favorite thing about math stations is that it allows you to set up stations based on your student’s needs.
We all know that students learn at various speeds so differentiation allows you to do the same activity, but focus on different skills!
Let me give you a specific example to show you exactly what I mean: Let’s use place value.
In your station, you are going to have a regular set of task cards. On each card there is a set of base ten blocks. Students will be required to draw the card and then answer a question about it.
- Below level students will be counting the base 10 blocks and finding the value.
- Your middle students will be finding the value and writing the number 4 different ways (expanded form, word form, etc).
- Above average students will come up with different ways to recreate that number. For example, the card shows the number 100 and students will come up with 5 different ways to show or recreate that number.
So as you can see, it is all one set of task cards, but the various tasks the students complete are all different! Differentiation is meeting all your students on their level, and allows you to give each of your students the opportunity they need to succeed!
If you are struggling with trying to keep your differentiation strategies organized, check out this blog post. I share how I used a 3 different color strategy to differentiate instruction and stay organized.
If you’re looking for more, check out this Facebook Live I did where I talk about these five things more in depth.
If you’re looking for more tips when it comes to Guided Math, you can check out this blog series. The first post shares How to Set Up Your Math Block.
Have a blessed one,