Saturday, March 30, 2013

How do you fit it all in? ~Math Stations

I get asked this question a LOT! How do you find the time to fit it all in? So, I thought I’d create a few posts to share parts of our day. I love my firsties and am quite positive I have developed the attention span of a 6/7 year old over the past 4 years, so our activities are attention-grabbing, fun, appropriately paced, and engaging!

We begin math each day with music and movement. Usually, its a song that fits the skill we’re working on or a song to practice counting or skip counting patterns. Jack Hartmann and Ron Brown are our class’ faves!

BUT, then……after our whole group lesson is completed, we move to enrichment or math station time. This is another part of the day that they absolutely crave! During this time, they work in small groups to practice various skills that have been previously taught. I really enjoy being able to bounce from group to group and work more closely with students too.


Math stations are housed on their own little shelf. This is a little different from how I housed them last year. And you’ll also notice, I’m kind of obsessed with color coding. I love myself some ROY G. BIV!

The bucket numbers coincide with our table numbers. We have 6 table groups. 6 stations. The number 3 is taped to the shelf because it is for the computer station, which does not need a bucket. Each week {for computers}, or through each station rotation, students are given a particular website on their 'I CAN…' list to choose a math game from. In each bin is a bucket that contains all the supplies they will need to complete the activity to minimize movement throughout the room.

My I Can lists are formatted to the size of a page, to fit inside the bucket and cover the activity. I also hate clutter and quite frankly, it hides everything out of sight so I don’t have to see it!


We use stations for just a little over two weeks at a time, depending on our schedule. I usually change them out on Tuesdays. Starting the rotation on Tuesday allows for them to work through the activities one at a time each day (2 on Friday), Tuesday through the following Monday (and me time to spend with my family on weekends). It allows me to prep new ones over the weekend and prepare them on Monday. The first week, students only do the activity and discuss it. The second week, they do the same activities with accompanying reflection sheets. When/if an activity is completed before its time to clean up and prepare for lunch, there are books available in each bin for students to read.


Each station has a specific place in the room for students to work that is marked by a simple red number that matches the buckets. Again….I love color coding! =)


We began using this little activity this week to review shapes and Whooooa, Nelly!!! We quickly figured out this was too many cards to use at one time so we changed it up to look a little more like this….


….and after a review in whole group of attributes, we took out the word cards and used just the pictures during our second week in order to reflect, draw, and label. Their drawings were so cute!


We are definitely not tied to desks in our classroom!


And we love to make connections by incorporating story problems and writing too!

The little numbers that you see inside each bin is the table group that visits that station for the day. As part of our clean up routine, one student stands holding up the table number. I grab it and rotate it to the next bucket. The stations are in order from 1 to 6 in what is basically a big circle around the 4 walls of our classroom.

You can find the activities we had so much fun with this week in my TPT store. AND, just for this weekend they {and a few other spring things} will be on sale……so go grab ‘em! Have a great weekend and Happy Easter!  

THAT’s how we fit it all in for Math! How do you use Math stations in your classroom? Do you do math stations? =)



  1. Great Post!

    I love how you organize your math stations

  2. Before I am done, I am going to pick your brain for as much information as I can. However, at this moment, I must return to my homework. It's good to see you incorporate movement especially with math. I've learned movement is important in learning, and besides the added benefit, who wants to sit down all day!!!

  3. I love math centers! Also - starting every math lesson with music is GREAT!! Quick question: how long is your Math block?

    1. Gotta get those brains turned on and wiggles out first, lol! My math block lasts for just over an hour...=)

  4. This is a great post! I love seeing how others have their centers set up!

    1. Thanks, Liz! I love stations! BEST time of the day! =)

  5. I am going to try and incorporate math stations this year. How much time do you spend at the beginning of the year teaching the how to's of math stations? If you have any specific strategies that you use to train your students I would love to hear them.

  6. Hi Tanya, I love the way you work your math centers. I'm currently looking to see how to have my firsties use math centers. I had seen this post before and you had a link for your red chevron math centers labels as a freebie. Now I went back on to print them out and I can't find it. Was it taken down? Any chance you could put it back up?



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