Number Talks are a powerful way to develop both number sense and computational fluency. There is no prep involved for the teacher, making it a perfect math warm-up for a busy math block. This post will share universal procedures and practices for getting the most out of number talks for math warm-ups pre-K-5. A Number […]
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]]>Number Talks are a powerful way to develop both number sense and computational fluency. There is no prep involved for the teacher, making it a perfect math warm-up for a busy math block. This post will share universal procedures and practices for getting the most out of number talks for math warm-ups pre-K-5.
A Number Talk is a five- to fifteen-minute discussion in which students verbally share their mathematical thinking as the teacher records the process on the board for everyone to see. They provide structured practice for mental math and promote the value in using mental math to compute. Number Talks teach the importance of being flexible with numbers and using a variety of strategies for computation.
-Sherry Parrish Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies K-5
First, let’s discuss some universal procedures for engaging in a number talk no matter the grade level of students. Students are gathered together in front of the board or screen to view a visual prompt.
The teacher displays the prompt, and students begin thinking about how to solve it. They come to an answer, but they also know they had a procedure for getting there or used a strategy to compute mentally. During this time, the class is quietly processing, and students utilize the universal hand signals for math talks.
Once most of the students have the signal against their chest showing they have an answer or multiple strategies for an answer, the teacher begins the discussion.
First, the teacher will take answers for the problem from all students. All answers are considered probable at this point. If there is more than one answer shared, the teacher lists them on the board to refer back to for checking thinking.
Next, the teacher will call on students to share the problem-solving strategy. While the students are sharing, the teacher records the solution method on the board or screen. Even if the strategy is incorrect, it is a valuable part of the process and is recorded.
As the class continues this process, students agree, add to, and revise their thinking in the meaningful and safe learning environment established through this routine.
Below are resources ranging from pre-K to fifth grade for number talks. Each focuses on being flexible with numbers and having a variety of strategies for computation. Even though a certain grade level band is highlighted, it is okay to explore what would best fit your students’ needs, even if out of the indicated grade levels.
First, we begin with number representations for 0-10. This allows students to build meaning and understanding around a number and a value. It also opens the door to seeing number relationships. First, an example is provided, followed by some of the different slides students would interact with.
Number Talks Same or Different expands to a greater range of numbers, skills, and concepts. Students will identify what they know about each representation and then share how they are the same or different.
Moving into grades 2-3, Number Talks Strategies for Solving continues the learning through even more opportunities for open-ended math discussions.
Continuing our complexity of concepts, Number Talks Strategies for Solving Grades 3-5, students focus on multiplication and division concepts, models, and problem-solving. From there, things expand into place value, decimals, area, perimeter, volume, fractions, lines and angles, geometry, and algebraic reasoning. This set of number talks has 165 slides of learning!
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]]>Differentiation is one of the leading concerns and needs for classrooms today. Teachers understand that teaching one math lesson directly to a roomful of students in one sitting does not meet all of the varied learning needs present. But what should differentiation look like day to day that is sustainable for a busy teacher? What […]
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]]>Differentiation is one of the leading concerns and needs for classrooms today. Teachers understand that teaching one math lesson directly to a roomful of students in one sitting does not meet all of the varied learning needs present. But what should differentiation look like day to day that is sustainable for a busy teacher? What are the best ways to seamlessly integrate differentiation and meet the needs of students with diverse abilities? This post shares five ways to differentiate during math stations.
We all experience the great dilemma during whole group instruction in math. We teach a lesson, and we are torn on whether to push forward, knowing some students need more instruction and practice on the content while also wanting to stall and reteach, knowing some students need to advance to more challenging content immediately. Guided Math mini-lessons and workstations allow for the best of both worlds. We can keep on track with our general math mini-lessons but provide much-needed differentiated instruction and student practice during small group workstations. Let’s break it all down!
Before diving into five ways to differentiate, it’s important to know our goals for differentiation. Let’s refresh our understanding of the tiers of intervention. I do this because educators tend to think of Response to Intervention (RTI) and Tier 3 learners when the word differentiation is mentioned. While we come by this thinking honestly, it’s been on our plates for over a decade, we will address all levels of students through these five ways to differentiate during math workstations. All students have strengths and gaps in learning. Targeting all students’ needs through the same differentiation techniques is rewarding, and the entire class benefits.
When planning our guided math student groups or math workstation groups, we want to consider differentiation strategically. In our Guided Math PD, we discuss different ways to group students for math workstations highlighting the pros and cons of each. No matter how we may group students for their workstations, we want to create a homogenous group at the teacher-led small group table. Not only is it important to strategically group students for their time out at math stations away from the teacher, but we must also consider how we will meet with students in targeted instructional groups during math workstations.
While mixed ability grouping is a positive in cooperative learning situations, we don’t want to pair students from absolute opposite ends of ability level. Research shows students do best even in mixed groupings when their groups consist of developmental and ability levels that are not extremely distant from their own. While we hope our high achievers will scaffold and support our students still approaching learning targets, research shows that it happens more frequently when students have more academic common ground. This doesn’t mean I wouldn’t create mixed-ability groups containing tier three and tier one students. However, I would do so while also considering how their personalities will work together in a math activity. The goal is to group students who work well in academic situations and can function independently of direct instruction from a teacher or aide during a math center.
Designing the student experience is one of my favorite teacher roles. What do I want students to do during their math station time? We already know we will spend time meeting with students in a teacher-led small group station, but what else will students experience during their math workstations? The research on math workstations is clear. Math workstations provide practice of previously learned skills and concepts. New skills are not present in workstations other than the teacher-led small group. Students should be able to recognize and understand the math skill being asked and apply that math skill. The purpose of this time is to provide refinement of skills through repeated practice in many formats.
Not only do we want to provide practice to students during math stations, but we also want to vary that practice to hit on different formats and modalities. This means students visit a variety of different age-appropriate workstations. Below, I share my math STACK system for workstations. While you don’t need five workstations, these can provide ideas for creating a well-rounded math experience for students. No matter where students fall in the RTI tiers, a well-rounded math experience will allow varied practice for all levels of learners.
The STACK stations are (teacher-led) Small Group, Technology, Application Station, Create or Communicate Math Understanding, and Kinesthetic Hands-on Math.
The descriptions for each station are ideas and would not all be happening at once. Here’s how simple you can have your setup. I sometimes use buckets, bins, or in this example, a simple three-drawer system. The teacher-led small group is happening with me, so I keep my Guided Math Small Group lessons (not pictured) at my teacher table. The technology round is Digital Guided Math eLessons so those are not pictured either. I just push those out to the students in Google or on SeeSaw. The only thing I have to have out for students are the three stations you see below: Apply, Create, and Kinesthetic.
Let’s take a look inside the drawers.
The apply station is independent practice. It follows the new learning closely but not today’s lesson because some students will visit this before seeing me in a small group lesson.
The create station is the math journal entry. Students work in their math journals for this round.
The kinesthetic drawer holds math center games. These are hands-on math activities.
At the end of this post, there will be grade-level links to math STACK stations if you are interested.
Having a variety of workstations is step one of differentiation, but providing more targeted activities within those workstations is where we reach our Tier 2 and Tier 3 students. A simple assignment of a color level to your groups will allow you to serve better their math learning needs out at stations. While I may have five groups, I only have three color levels of activities out at workstations. These three color assignments align with general above-level, on-level, and approaching-level labels. This means I may have more than one group pulling from the same color level out at their stations.
Manipulatives and math tools are very helpful in leveling the playing field for all ability levels during workstations. Math manipulatives provide hands-on learning and skill understanding. Providing manipulatives can make a more difficult activity accessible to a less experienced learner.
Below, these three math third grade math center activities on fractions are made much more concrete using fraction pieces, blocks, and models. Using manipulatives allows students with limited fraction understanding to create models and understand the values of different fractions.
Determine the missing numerator
Compare fractions using the comparison symbols
Math workstation is from Stations by Standard
Create equivalent fractions
Likewise, math tools and mats can provide problem-solving help or information for reference when working mathematically. First introduced in the teacher-led small group, students learn the procedures and types of tools to reference while working mathematically. Then when out at workstations, students have their own community set of math tools they can grab when working.
Vocabulary and Strategy Cards from Intervention Solution and Standard Practice
This example shows the part-part-whole mat students can use at any grade level to solve for missing addends or subtrahends.
Math is all about the process of solving. How do we take a problem and find a solution? What steps will we take to solve? Sometimes students are overwhelmed just by knowing what process to take to solve. This is where strategies swoop in to save the day. In day-to-day math instruction, strategies are introduced and taught explicitly. These strategies are then prominently displayed so students can easily refer to them for problem-solving. We ask students to name the strategy and steps for solving as part of our math warm-ups and small group instruction. Tier One students (everyone) will be taught the basic math strategies that we use most frequently for the skills and concepts of our grade level. But in the teacher-led small group, I can scaffold the math strategies to fit the needs of the students in front of me as students work through their problems.
Math Word Wall Vocabulary by Grade Levels
Since we used fractions as our example earlier in this post, here are three examples of strategies cards pulled from our grades 3rd-5th math strategies visuals. Students get comfortable naming the strategy and then showing it as they work. This post shows more resources for math strategies instruction.
Below, these math strategies were pulled from the standard practice resource. Their small size makes them easy to use on a focus board.
For most of our students, the above differentiation provides effective math instruction and practice to bring students to confident mastery. For those few students who struggle to respond to differentiation and targeted instruction within the regular guided math day, or they have all of their skills down and need enrichment, it is time for more intense targets and learning goals. Enter the intervention solution! This math intervention program allows teachers to effectively provide differentiated intervention, with progress monitoring built right in. Whether you have built-in time for intervention or you want to allow students extra time and practice, this resource provides differentiated tools to support both teachers and students. You find the lesson probes aligned to the standards. Likewise, you’ll have the tracking and progress monitoring tools built right in for you.
If you are ready to provide a differentiated experience for students in grades K-5, we are here to help! Our resources are vertically aligned and standards-based, which makes differentiating easy. We can provide a lower- or higher-level skill with ease of mind. To search all math activities by grade level, simply click your grade below.
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]]>Every teacher struggles with independence during workstations to some degree during the school year. Although fostering independence is a universal pain point for running math workstations, most teachers take this struggle as a frustrating failure. Let’s shake off that teacher guilt right now! Rather than dwelling on the lack of independence, we can analyze what […]
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]]>Every teacher struggles with independence during workstations to some degree during the school year. Although fostering independence is a universal pain point for running math workstations, most teachers take this struggle as a frustrating failure. Let’s shake off that teacher guilt right now! Rather than dwelling on the lack of independence, we can analyze what is happening and put solutions in the place where the chaos appears. This post will focus on how to foster independence during math stations.
There are many factors involved in why students may be off task or “lost” during math centers, but through all of the grade levels and reasons, we can identify some common threads and then attach solutions. Before we dive into those problems and solutions, I want to start by being vulnerable and share that even after 18 years of teaching math with the guided math structure, I expect to address the same problems I share in this post. You are not alone in dealing with this issue. It’s an ongoing part of running workstations. The great news is that students benefit greatly from these solutions in all areas of the school day because we train them to be autonomous problem-solvers.
Even after we carve out some time to teach the stations, some students or groups may ask, “what do we do here?” immediately, our blood pressure rises, and our hair begins to stand up on end. When students are not immediately settling into a station, we can identify this as a Station Start-Up Problem. Identifying the problem helps us categorize it and provide a solution.
Just as we sometimes feel anxious when we release students to go off to stations, they also may be anxious about handling the responsibility of being more independent and working with others around the room. Without clear strategies for Station Start-Up, we will likely see some floundering about during these moments before students ultimately settle in and get that productive hum going. The following are ways to fix the station start-up problem.
Below is just one example from our fifth grade decimals stations showing how we use a photo to demonstrate the expectations of the station further.
To search all math activities by grade level, simply click your grade below.
Students may know the procedures of a station, but the content stops them in their tracks. We immediately see that they have tried to start working knowing what is expected, but then are trying to get help from you or others around them and are generally frustrated and off task or just quietly staring but not engaged in the task. We can identify this as the Skill Standstill.
This problem can be fixed by running back to the research on math workstations. When we put out content at our math stations, we want to build a well-rounded math experience but at the top of that experience is refining skills previously taught. This means that we are not putting out new content at stations but rather allowing students to practice and apply skills they are already familiar with. It takes hundreds of repetitions for students to gain automaticity, accuracy, and flexibility with math concepts.
This task is one that we sense as it slowly builds through the station round or time. Our “spidey sense” as teachers kicks in, and we sense a level of restlessness is beginning to brew among our stations. If left unaddressed, we find ourselves as the new Mayor of Math Mayhem. Below are three ways to address the problem.
Fast finishers are inevitable when we task students independently. Every class has students who work not only quickly, but with high-quality work. This is to be expected when we have a couple of students who require more during math stations. When just under half the class finishes early, and mayhem ensues, we need to look at more diagnostic solutions. We will lovingly identify this problem as Fast Finisher Fiasco.
We all know that we have a range of developmental abilities present in every class every year. So, we all likely have a couple of students who cannot pace to most of the class or to the tasks and rounds we assign during workstations. I lovingly call this problem the Molasses Mathematicians. This refers to students who are giving their best and trying hard but cannot pace. I notice these students because they are stuck at the same station consistently far after the timer rings to rotate. We most definitely need to address this problem because we want every student to experience math workstations to their fullest in a positive manner.
To search all math activities by grade level, simply click your grade below.
Even as we implement solutions, we will experience highs and lows during different cycles of content and weeks of learning. This is perfectly normal when we are running a classroom. Our classrooms have around twenty young mathematicians with different developmental and ability levels. Routines might be a part of some students’ daily home life, but not all of our students have structure and expectations outside the classroom. Grace for any level of student effort and our efforts should be heavily dosed. Ultimately, we keep our eyes focused on the goal of an autonomous productive workstation time.
This autonomy allows us to meet with students in teacher-led small groups to address the important skills and concepts for our grade level. By doing this, we ensure students have the highest potential for acquiring the skills needed to be successfully empowered mathematicians throughout their school careers. It won’t happen immediately, but we continually set students up for future success by providing solutions to make students independent during math workstations.
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]]>Math fact fluency is the quick and effortless recall of basic math facts. When students achieve automaticity with these facts, they have attained a level of mastery that enables them to retrieve them from long-term memory without conscious effort. There are a lot of opinions from teachers on fact fluency, and rightly so! With differing levels of learners, […]
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]]>Math fact fluency is the quick and effortless recall of basic math facts. When students achieve automaticity with these facts, they have attained a level of mastery that enables them to retrieve them from long-term memory without conscious effort. There are a lot of opinions from teachers on fact fluency, and rightly so! With differing levels of learners, it is always hard to expect one criterion across the board. Math Fact Fluency Practice is something we infuse into our daily routines for math.
We know that accuracy and fluency are not just about speed. The goal is not to memorize, pass, and forget, but many times with incentivized programs, that is precisely what happens.
Principles and Standards for School Mathematics states, “Computational fluency refers to having efficient and accurate methods for computing. Students exhibit computational fluency when they demonstrate flexibility in the computational methods they choose, understand and can explain these methods, and produce accurate answers efficiently.”
This post will provide ways for students to gain computational fluency as a mathematician and not just pass a test in a stress-filled moment. These are math fact fluency practices infused into every day.
Our students need ample time to practice the skill to become efficient and accurate with computing. Flashcards are the long-standing go-to for this, with good reason, but real understanding comes from working with numbers in everyday and repetitive mathematical situations. How do we provide this type of practice? This happens during our Guided Math block or Math Workshop classroom.
Students begin the math block with a meeting of the mathematicians, where they are given a prompt to problem-solve. After some time to process and think, students share their reasoning, strategies, steps for problem-solving, and ultimately the answer. Different mathematicians weigh in, sharing their similarities and differences in solving and with the answers. Doing this as a Math Warm-Up each day provides a way for students to understand and explain methods of mathematical thinking.
During the teacher-led small groups, groups of students work on a skill using the number range and strategies that benefit them most. This is a powerful time for students to relax and take in the information in a risk-free learning situation. Providing students with plenty of practice, paired with teaching different problem-solving methods, ensures our students get the targeted practice they need to gain the most authentic computational fluency.
Perhaps the most powerful way to provide math fact fluency practice is during student workstations. Setting up student workstations means providing students with math practice in many modalities, formats, and skills. Students are true mathematicians encountering different situations in which to apply their skills. We want to create a well-rounded math learning experience through our workstation choices. Students find themselves repeatedly solving, in many different ways, the entire time they are at workstations each day. These math minutes efficiently allow students the time and experiences to become more accurate, flexible, and skilled with their computational fluency.
Below I have linked fluency resources that can be used for all stages of the Guided Math Block or math workshop classroom. Used as warm-ups, during small groups, in workstations, or even as independent work, these resources provide students with math fact fluency practice and testing.
The following posts can illuminate even more math practices for student success.
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]]>It’s been a while since I have shared pumpkin-themed learning on the blog. This post will share ready-to-go ideas to make the month of October engaging and memorable. I can smell the coziness of a pumpkin pie in the oven already… PUMPKIN-THEMED LEARNING To begin, we will gather books and videos to immerse students in […]
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]]>It’s been a while since I have shared pumpkin-themed learning on the blog. This post will share ready-to-go ideas to make the month of October engaging and memorable. I can smell the coziness of a pumpkin pie in the oven already…
To begin, we will gather books and videos to immerse students in our theme. These make terrific lesson starters as well as provide the ongoing information from which we will build each day.
These books provide the “scoop” on all things pumpkin. Two of the titles below technically aren’t non-fiction, but the information is on track for more of a learning approach to the topic. These are likely in the school library, but I have also linked them in case you are building up your classroom library.
I have gathered some helpful learning videos on the topic of pumpkins. Please preview these videos before showing them to your class. I am not responsible for these public links. These videos can prompt plump and prolific pumpkin explorations. I love to use them as lesson starters, but they are also terrific for wrapping up the learning by providing a culmination of the information.
One way we integrate science with writing is to create a keepsake Pumpkin Science Book. This adorable booklet holds all of our pumpkin-themed learning. Typically, I do this booklet over two weeks. We add one activity a day either during science, writing, or as a writing station once students know how the books and activities work.
The activities included in our Pumpkin Science explorations are the following:
Here are some action shots of my scientists as we explored Pumpkin Science
Do Pumpkins Sink or Float?
How Tall is Our Pumpkin?
We dive into the October Lit Kit to plump up all things ELAR. The pumpkin-themed learning can be found in the K-2 Lit Kits for October.
The October Lit Kit has I CANS, literacy stations, comprehension pages, grammar, and phonics. It’s perfect for all aspects of the reading block. You can read about it in THIS POST.
While October proudly pushes so many fun themes for learning and writing, one of them is our beloved pumpkin. Here’s a look at one of the
Below are some snippets from our Fall Math and Literacy Stations. They provide 12 math and 12 literacy stations for the fall season.
Kindergarten Fall Math and Literacy Stations
First Grade Fall Math and Literacy Stations
Second Grade Fall Math and Literacy Stations
If your speed is more scientific journal rather than pumpkin foldable, we also have science journal entries that pair well with October.
Last year we created
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]]>Elementary teachers know the impact of a classroom theme. Engagement soars when learning is aligned with a theme. Incorporating all of the subjects multiplies the opportunities for giddy bright-eyed learners to buy into the content. Let’s look at some ‘un bee leaf apple’ apple ideas across the curriculum. Apple Ideas for Days The second half […]
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]]>Elementary teachers know the impact of a classroom theme. Engagement soars when learning is aligned with a theme. Incorporating all of the subjects multiplies the opportunities for giddy bright-eyed learners to buy into the content. Let’s look at some ‘un bee leaf apple’ apple ideas across the curriculum.
The second half of September lends itself to an apple theme easily. While most of the country is still hovering in warmer temperatures, the promise of fall and cooler temps is within range. We can capitalize on the season change with an apple theme to bring in a new level of engagement. Students have been reviewing procedures ad nauseam and are ready to put the procedures to the test and be the boss of the applesauce.
While some apple ideas are solely one subject area, such as math or literacy stations, others seamlessly carry over multiple subjects incorporating science, writing, and more. Before we unpeel the apple-themed learning, we want to gather apple books, videos, and an assortment of all sizes, shapes, and types of apples too!
I also set up different containers of manipulatives that pull in the theme. Just gathering the colors of apples makes students excited to get their hands on learning.
Apple Attributes Observation Area
Next to your observation area, students can write what they notice and what they wonder. This also makes a simple writing center activity.
Take the time to answer the wonderings of students- Do apples sink or float?
Apple Tasting: Which color apple tastes best to you?
We closed our eyes to focus on our sense of taste.
Can you find the star in an apple?
Borrow some simple magnifying glasses from your upper-grade science pals or grab some on amazon to increase the attention to observations.
As a culminating activity, it is always fun to taste many different apple foods!
Our apple explorations and discoveries tie into our math, science, reading, and writing. We keep those discoveries and experiences in our apple books. Here we work on one activity per day. There are ten different apple explorations included. This booklet can span over two weeks or be modified in a shorter amount of time.
Our September writing lessons do not all center around apples, but we have an informational writing piece on Johnny Appleseed, so I thought it was worth mentioning for those who need some ready-to-go writing mini-lessons.
Our September Lit Kits are full of seasonal fun, which of course, includes apples! The activities vary, as do the grade levels, but apples are a part of the September volumes in all three primary grades.
Kindergarten September Lit Kit
Second Grade September Lit Kit
We love putting comprehension/evaluation questions on apples in September! A great way to encourage thoughtful discussions during Guided Reading small group. You can find these already made in the Lit Kit for each grade level above.
Our Fall Math and Literacy make a big impact on student stamina during workstations. Students love the interest and tend to stay on task for a longer, more productive station experience. Below I have shared a couple of stations over the K-2 grade levels.
Kindergarten Fall Math + Lit Centers
First Grade Fall Math + Lit Centers
Second Grade Fall Math + Lit Centers
Below I am highlighting a couple of fall blog posts to help keep the themed learning going strong through the next two months! You can click the pictures to read about the topics shown.
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]]>When it comes to math workstations, there are quite a few options out there. Over my 25 years in education, the trends have come in waves, bringing ideas for student engagement and effective math application. Sifting through all of the trends to find the best practices is one of my favorite reflections. Ultimately, the goal […]
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]]>When it comes to math workstations, there are quite a few options out there. Over my 25 years in education, the trends have come in waves, bringing ideas for student engagement and effective math application. Sifting through all of the trends to find the best practices is one of my favorite reflections. Ultimately, the goal for math workstations is student application of skills in many formats– a well-rounded math experience. This post shares resources for math workstations K-5.
Before sending students to workstations, let’s discuss the two main ways to manage math workstations. Making math workstations beneficial for everyone in the room means teaching students the procedures for this part of the math block. To keep it concise, I will briefly describe the two main ways to manage workstations.
First, we have the self-selected system. This system allows students to self-pace through a set number of stations you have for them for the week. When I began, I did this over two weeks. There is no set right amount of time, but frequent check-ins work best for keeping students on track. To read all about this system of management, click the picture below.
The second system for Guided Math or math workstations is a rotation system. This is a structured approach where students have timed daily rounds and stations to visit. Rather than choosing the order and length of time to stay at a station, they follow a given time and schedule. You can click the picture below to read about this management system. If you are not one to get technical with a projected system of rounds, you can also just make a wall display of the number of rounds and keep a timer on your phone. Managing math workstations should fit your level of comfort and match the way you successfully manage your classroom.
The purpose of math workstations is to apply or practice math skills in many formats. During this time, students work in different collaborative structures (partners, groups, and independently) to complete math activities put out by the teacher. Over the years, I have tried many options for running this time as well as what I put out for students. Through this experience and the continued research on best practices, I created math STACK as a system for math workstations. This model creates a well-rounded math experience while allowing for accountability for taking grades and tracking acquisition of skills.
A key factor in the success of math workstations is putting out spiral review math tasks. This means my math content is not new in stations/centers. Students should be able to do the math within the station without any new teaching required. The game format might be new, but the actual math content being applied is a review of previous learning.
STACK is an acronym management system for running the guided math workshop class model. Using STACK, students can practice and apply math concepts in many modalities and formats using the foundation of mathematical practice standards.
Most importantly, STACK gives structure to the Guided Math classroom, providing students and teachers with an effective system for building a well-rounded math experience. Each letter in the word STACK is a component of the Guided Math workshop.
For each STACK station, I will link the grade level resources K-5. I will also direct you to other blog posts for further information on the station if I have it!
Plain and simple, teacher-led small group math instruction is when students take a new skill and directly apply it in close proximity to the teacher. This happens daily or as close to daily in a guided math classroom as possible. We conduct math mini-lessons in a whole group format and follow that up with meeting with students in small groups where they directly apply the math learning in a developmentally appropriate way to their specific needs. Students are at the center of the learning rather than being passive observers of someone else doing math. How we carry out math differs from group to group based on the skill and the range of abilities. Below, I have linked the guided math bundles for each grade level. These give you both the whole group mini-lessons and teacher-led small group instruction with materials needed.
If you would like to spend more time understanding what goes on in the small group setting, you can find that information in the post below, Small Group Math Instruction.
Math on technology can mean many things! Math websites and apps have come a long way in recent years and are a highly engaging and effective way to have students apply their learning in many formats. Providing a variety of vocabulary, skills practice, and interactive activities is always best.
Digital Guided Math is available K-3 for every math standard. The digital guided math resource marries perfectly if you already use the Guided Math Curriculum. It’s wonderful as the technology component of the program or as a full stand-alone resource for remote or at-home learning. Most importantly, digital guided math is written for the guided math structure. We wanted to create the same well-rounded student-centered instruction in a digital format. While it began as a distance learning tool, it is the perfect technology component for workstations.
For our technology rotation and as a way to push out standards-based activities tied to the standards taught in the Guided Math Curriculum for extra work at home or otherwise, we now have Digital Guided Math. These are device-based interactive lessons for every standard for the year.
The application station is the independent practice time for students. Whether you do independent practice as part of your workstations or as homework, skill pages are always helpful to allow students the application of skills. The most abstract and independent version of math practice skill pages are used after the concepts are taught and practiced. This station follows the new learning but still lags behind in order to allow all students to have time to understand the new skills before going to work on them independently.
This station is completed in a math journal or numbers notebook. The station revolves around allowing students to have a record of math learning throughout the year while creating and communicating their personal math understanding. This post shares a more in-depth look at how to conduct this station. It also answers one of our most frequently asked questions about the math journal or numbers notebook resources.
Hands-on math is always where our minds roam when we think of math stations. This is the math station where partners and groups of students enjoy various hands-on math activities. Workstations are one of the most well-known markers of a guided math classroom. In fact, many teachers still believe that just having station time equals guided math. While stations are an integral part of guided math, they are just one of many important components of the guided math block. A fan favorite for a good reason, math workstations are an engaging way for students to develop mathematical skills while also actively participating in daily learning.
The first post below shares our favorite hands-on stations for K-2.
For our more advanced mathematicians, we have elevated hands-on experiences to continue to engage students in kinesthetic options for math application.
We know taking on a new math block can be a big challenge, but we hope to keep it as simple as possible for teachers while also being engaging and effective for students. Everything we create and use starts with the standards. For every grade level, you can find the standards alignment for CCSS and TEKS.
To continue the learning, I am closing with a blog post meant to help you identify where you might be able to level up your math block. While we love the Math STACK system, we also fully acknowledge that the guided math classroom is filled with endless opportunities. Designing the perfect math block looks different from year to year. You are the ultimate expert in your own classroom. Trust in that intuition and expertise. What works for you and your students is always the best!
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]]>Here at TTT (Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits), we LOVE all-in-one resources that provide multiple solutions to the school day resource challenges. Sometimes though, we just need something specific for a shorter learning objective, such as this week, I need something to teach _______! For that reason, we began a grammar series called Grab and Go Grammar […]
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]]>Here at TTT (Tunstall’s Teaching Tidbits), we LOVE all-in-one resources that provide multiple solutions to the school day resource challenges. Sometimes though, we just need something specific for a shorter learning objective, such as this week, I need something to teach _______! For that reason, we began a grammar series called Grab and Go Grammar for Second Grade.
This resource provides ten activities targeted to teach a grammar rule. Perfect for teaching a Monday mini-lesson and following up with daily practice on the skill. We packed extras for stations, homework, or spiraled review later in the year too! Every unit ends with an assessment of the skill being taught. Let’s look at the first Grab and Go Grammar Unit, Nouns.
We begin with a Monday Mini-Lesson. This is perfect for huddling up on the rug around the pocket chart. Each grammar unit has a Monday mini-lesson. These are not all pocket chart activities. Depending on the skill, we made it fit how we want to teach it.
Following the mini-lesson, we have the application of the learned material throughout the week. You don’t have to do these on the same days we share below. We just love a good week at a glance. These can be done any day, anytime.
Each Grab and Go Grammar skill comes with a little week at a glance. These are just suggestions!
There is not a bundle of all of the skills at this time. We are still in creation mode for these, and at times our scope and planning changes to include more skills. For this reason, we are not bundling the G & G units. Here are the skills we have at this time. As we add to our series, they will appear here and on TeacherspayTeachers too.
Like the Grab and Go Grammar series, we wanted an add-on to math skills! For this reason, we created the Teach This series for Math Skills. You can find that HERE.
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]]>A staple in the primary grades during the morning routine is updating the class calendar. The calendar is just the beginning of our math interactions. This post will focus on Daily Math Meeting Routines for primary grades. DAILY MATH MEETING The daily math meeting in the primary grades has evolved over the last 30 years […]
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]]>A staple in the primary grades during the morning routine is updating the class calendar. The calendar is just the beginning of our math interactions. This post will focus on Daily Math Meeting Routines for primary grades.
The daily math meeting in the primary grades has evolved over the last 30 years of teaching. I distinctly remember creating manilla folder boxes to hold the small straws for place value that we would count each day and bundle into tens. We even blew up a small balloon each day in school and put it side by side around the room, beginning at the calendar wall, making each tenth day a different color. Oh, those were the good times. Now we have so many other important things to cover in a day!
The daily math meeting has an important purpose, so we don’t want to let it go in the primary grades completely. Calendar skills, repetitive number sense, and place value skills greatly value our budding mathematicians. For this reason, we have created a few different ways to work through calendar or daily math skills. Our newest creation for this is our Digital Daily Math Meeting for Calendar Skills which covers the most important concepts for primary grades in a digital format.
The skills covered in the Daily Math Meeting are as follows.
In the Teacher’s Slide Guide, each slide has an explanation or instructions on what to do. You will not have to do all the slides every day. You can choose any that would be right for each time of the school year.
Previously, I have shared how I set this up on the wall for our classroom and what we have done with that as well. You can find that information HERE or by clicking the picture below.
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]]>Back to school math workstations have an important role in the math workshop structure. We want to simultaneously train our students on procedures and routines while also providing meaningful math practice. This post will address which math workstations are best for back to school for grades K-5. Math Workstations For Back to School All of […]
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]]>Back to school math workstations have an important role in the math workshop structure. We want to simultaneously train our students on procedures and routines while also providing meaningful math practice. This post will address which math workstations are best for back to school for grades K-5.
All of our resources are standards-aligned. With a grade level span of K-5, we have vertical alignment throughout our math workstations. I mention this because our math station recommendations for back to school may surprise you. We recommend beginning workstations be a unit of workstations containing prerequisite skills for each grade level. The research informs us that workstations provide authentic math applications toward refining skills, math fluency, and accuracy. This is done when the content in the math workstations is previously learned material. During the first weeks of school, students take in all new routines, procedures, and class dynamics. The content for our math workstations should support students by reminding them of the material from the previous grade level. That material leads up to the new learning beginning to unfold with you.
We cover a wide grade level span for back-to-school math workstations, you can click down to the grade levels of interest below to find the most meaningful information. This is the easiest way to organize the recommendations.
We recommend a heavy focus on number sense with counting skills for our Kindergarten friends. This Counting Skills unit comes from our pre-K Stations by Standard but easily covers our beginning Kindergarten standards! Once students have had time to explore math manipulatives, we can introduce how we use them to count, make sets, and model numbers.
First grade has a foundation of skills from Kindergarten, so we recommend two different Number Sense units, Numbers 0-10 and Numbers 11-20. Depending on your class, you can choose one or both to best fit your budding little firsties. These units allow students to engage in beginning math workstations for content confidently.
It’s no surprise that we want to provide place value prerequisite skills for our big second graders at the beginning of the year. By allowing students to play with their previously learned range (up to 100 or 120) of place value skills, they are shining up that schema while those cognitive cogs are turning and churning for new connections. Confidence is key for lowering anxiety and making math fun.
In my opinion, third graders take a GIANT learning leap. For this reason, I believe in providing opportunities for students to practice and refine previously learned skills. This allows students to connect their learning to more difficult math processes confidently. For third grade back-to-school math workstations, we recommend reviewing addition and subtraction skills during workstations launch.
Fourth grade presents a valuable set of math standards dependent on previously learned math concepts. Many of those skills require a solid foundation of place value concepts. For this reason, our back-to-school math workstation recommendation is place value. Students have a chance to recognize number values, round numbers, order numbers, and identify number forms as they ease into workstation routines.
Like fourth grade in reasoning, we recommend place value skills as the foundational review before introducing new learning. So many valuable skills like adding and subtracting and multiplying and dividing using place value, are accessed through this place value practice. These valuable skills provide a solid start for fifth grade content.
Because they care vertically aligned pre-K to 5th grade, Stations by Standard makes differentiating easy. You’ll only find the grade level listed in the teacher documents, such as unit covers and standards alignment tools. The stations do not show any grade level, so students can work at their level without any indication that they may be working above or toward a certain standard in relation to their peers. Find the entire line of Stations by Standard bundles HERE or click the picture below.
The first four weeks of Guided Math, or math workshop, differ from the rest of the school year. For this reason, I put together a free Launch Guide. This step-by-step free resource can provide structure for introducing back-to-school workstations for Guided Math.
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