Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Books I Can't Plan Without: Debbie Diller Math Work Stations

I talked a little bit last week about books that I just cannot plan without. My 2 picks from last week were the Daily 5 and Café. Click here to go to that post. Today, I wanted to dive a little more into math. One of the books that I cannot plan or teach without is Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller.
I started with Debbie a couple years ago and loved her thoughts and philosophy on teaching math. This last year I tried something new and ended up going back to Debbie halfway through the year. Her math station ideas are so thoughtful.  I love that her math work stations give kiddos time to practice and review taught skills. Plus, the stations are easy for teachers to manage. I have enjoyed having the time to meet with groups and really hone on what kiddos need to be successful. If you haven't picked up this gem of a book, I highly recommend it. I unfortunately didn't take pictures of my centers (I will be taking them like crazy this year) but I can show you how I organized my groups with Work Stations.

How Do I Keep Track of Who Goes Where?
I made this Smart Notebook document that I would put on my screen when it was time to Math Stations. This saved wall space and was very easy to change and manipulate. Debbie recommends that you have no more than 3 kids at a stations at a time. Since I was blessed to only have 19 kiddos this last year, I had 9 stations. In the past, I have had up to 14 stations. Each day, I would start with the kiddos that have the star by their names, rotate them to the next station, and then move everyone one by one to the right. I added the star as well so I could remember when everyone had been though the stations once. My star kiddos originally started at the number one position.
How Do the Kids Go to Workstations?
Before my kiddos could start their workstations, they had to complete some type of seat work. My current curriculum is Everyday Math so before stations, my kids had to finish their math boxes. I always asked that they leave their workbooks open on the table so I could see them.  This gives me time to check work and offer one-on-one help. I also pull small groups and work on specific skills during this time.
How Did I Group Kids?
Our school is using Kagan to engage our students with cooperative learning structures. In Kagan, they talk about how to group and seat kids so that they are working with peers that help them grow and meet their intellectual needs. For example: putting the highest math student and the lowest math student will not help either child grow. It is better to put a high student with a mid to mid-low student and a low student with a mid to mid-high student. Obviously, you need to consider every subject as well because every kiddo has their forte and their area of growth.
What Do I Put in Stations?
I always start with manipulatives in stations. Kids are going to play the first couple times they are introduced to a new tool so let them! Then, later you can build in the math. I like to make a poster of how we used the mainpulatives and then talk about and star the ides that a mathematician would do. After I have introduced the mainpulatives, I start adding stations slowly that correlate with our whole group lessons. For example: After we did a 3-d shape sorting lesson(whole class) with cards and mainpulatives; I put those materials in a stations with some shape books and a labeling page. Easy! Don't over think it!
How Do I Plan for my Math Units?
Here are some tools that I use to help me plan out units and themes for the whole year. I especially use the blank calendar and the unit template to plan my math. You can click here to see the original post or you can click here to go to my Teachers Pay Teachers Page for a preview.
Thanks for stopping by and tell me about math books that you plan with or how you have used math work stations. There are so many resources out there.

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