These are my responses to the "blog party" for Debbie Diller's Book "Math Work Stations" located at: http://learningwithmrsparker.blogspot.com/
What should your math work stations, look like, sound like and feel like?
I normally have 29-32 students in my class. The past 2 years I have divided my class into 4 groups. When I taught a 1st/2nd grade split last year, I had 4 groups (2 1st and 2 2nd). This past year I taught 1st grade where I had a high, medium high, medium low, and low groups. These were flexible, as I would regroup them at the end of each unit. I would do calendar during morning meeting whole group, and any read alouds whole group. I would also give directions whole group. Depending on the game/activity, I might teach it whole group, or in small guided math groups.
At the beginning of the year, I did allow some exploration time for students to explore the materials in the math center. I find that it cuts down on the off-task behavior in the future. I think that making anchor charts for math work stations are very important. I also have students model appropriate and inappropriate behavior for the class.
Math time looks like: me teaching a group of children, other children working around the room on various math related activities. I am working on teaching math with the "to, with, and by" method. Students are helping one another, and conversing with one another about math. It sounds like whispering (although I will be the first to admit that we would have issues with this on some days). It feels like students are engaged in what they are doing (for the most part).
What does your management board look like?
As of right now, I do not have a management board because of the way that I have done it the past 2 years. Students have a home math location where they start every day, and then circle around the room. With 29-32 students, and a room that is not huge, I am trying to figure out how I could have pairs around the room.
How do you support math vocabulary (math talk cards) in your stations?
I have to say that this is an area that I really need to work on in my classroom.
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