Here is my math work station chart. We are not actually using the chart yet. The number cards represent the six different work stations I will eventually have. When we start to use the chart I will keep the student's pictures in the same place and move the number cards with each work station rotation. The students are partnered up in this chart. When I paired students to play and practice the first game that is going to go into a station they worked with their partner from the chart. I am using this time to see who works well together and if I need to adjust any of the pairs. Be sure to take individual pictures in case you need to adjust groups or in case someone moves away. It is much easier to make changes with individual pictures.
Here are my math tubs. They are empty right now because we are practicing our first station, but have not actually moved any materials into a tub yet. I numbered the tubs so that I can make them whatever concept I need them to be. Sometimes I may need to have 4 number sense stations and 2 geometry stations, while other times I may need 6 number sense stations. By numbering them you can set them up to meet the needs of your students rather than always having to have a certain number of number sense stations, a certain number of geometry stations, a certain number of pattern stations, etc.
We started the week by brainstorming a list of things we thought we should always do during math work stations. With each thought I wrote on the chart I had the students demonstrate the idea so that I could take a picture to add to the chart as a visual reminder for what to do. I went back and typed the chart and added the pictures afterward.
I have the numbers 1-6 hanging over various open floor areas around my classroom. Brain research suggests that a shift in location keeps the brain focused. This is why I have students work in different areas around the room rather than simply rotating the numbered tubs from one table to another.
This week we have worked in pairs and practiced a take turns counting game from Kim Adsit's Let's Take Turns Unit. I chose this simple partner path game because we are working on recognizing the numbers 0-5, counting, and one-to-one correspondence. For the first couple of days this week I modeled how to play the game with another student and then I had the entire class partner up and play the game while I walked around to make sure everyone understood how to play, how to decide who would start, etc. After the first few days I stopped the modeling and just add the students play for a few minutes to practice. Next week I plan to use the same steps to introduce a domino counting game.
Things I still need to do:
1) Teach, model, and practice how to get the tubs off the shelf and put them away when finished.
2) Encourage, teach, and model the use of math language.
For the first several weeks of school I am keeping things simple by placing the same game or activity in multiple tubs. As I add more games and activities to the station tubs I will increase the amount of time we spend in work stations. In the beginning we will stick to one game, fewer materials, and smaller amounts of time.