BUILDing Math Stations (the novel)

Luckily, my student teacher is giving me a little extra time to get some blogging done.  She has taken over almost full time now, giving me some time to plan ahead, dig, search, and create... some of my favorite things! (SN- none of the products displayed in this post are mine except the signs below and the free math quick check.  Everything else are games and materials that I've purchased, downloaded, or were given to me.)

If you follow my Facebook page, you may have seen this picture last night...

Clipart - Graphics From the Pond, Fonts - KG Fonts

I made some new signs for my BUILD math stations.  I originally found the idea at Adventures in Teaching.  While she isn't the creator of BUILD, she inspired me to get my math stations switched over and I have to say, I'm very pleased with how rotations have gone compared to what I've done in years past.

So, I'm going to attempt to share what I've done for my BUILD stations and how I prepare, organize, and plan for my groups.  I do not pretend to know anything much or have all the answers to these stations.  Some of the stations may not be entirely what I have on the outside of the box, but I do the best I can :)


Organization is not my strong point.  I'm messy and a slob by nature, and to keep order is a definite struggle.  (Having a student teacher has forced me to become a little more organized, and I'm working on it!!)

For grouping, I use my weekly math quick checks to group.  My quick checks have a short pre-assessment piece from 1st grade skills, like place value, so I can quickly see mainly who has it, and who doesn't.  I put them into groups for rotations.  If I need to switch some around after a day or two, I do.  

Rotations are like reading.  We do circle, seat, BUILD.  I meet with my weaker students first so that I can get them before they practice or do seat work incorrectly.  My middle and upper groups I work with at least 20 minutes, depending on how long I worked with my first group.  I have an hour for BUILD stations.  

Apples from Creative Clips, Font is Lessons Handwriting by Owls & Lessons, Etc.
How do the students know which station to go on what day?  Well, I've read something somewhere about letting them sign up for a station, giving them a choice...... no.  I'm mean.  I am the dictator in my classroom (lol)... so I assign a station to each set of partners for the 4 days we do math stations.  (SN... We do math stations 4 days a week to do our weekly quick checks, word problems, and game day on Fridays.  I'll talk about this later...)

This is the list that I display next to the chart above.  Students are paired with a partner from their group to do their station.  

Apples from Creative Clips, Font is Lessons Handwriting by Owls & Lessons, Etc.
This week, we are working on place value to 999 (3 digit numbers) Our standard states that students will read, write, and identify the place value of each digit in a three-digit numeral, using numeration models.  Students learned last week about the hundreds, tens, and ones place and how to represent each number in base 10 blocks.  They also learned how to write in expanded, word, and standard form.  

Matching game in number 1 and 2 are from Super in 2nd (2 and 3 digit numbers)
Matching game in number 3 is from TchrBrowne (3 and 4 digit numbers)

Buddy Games

In each station, I try to put a skill we have learned or we are currently working on.  For Buddy Games, this is where I put a previously learned skill.  These are games that partners can pick from to review and play over again.  In the picture above, in small group, we played a matching game to match expanded and standard forms to two, three, and four digit numbers.  My group that needed a little extra help started with two digit numbers at the beginning of the week and then moved on to three.  My on-level students started at three digits and my group that were catching on started at three but quickly moved on to four digit numbers as an enrichment activity.  All of these games will now move into my Buddy Games box to review after this skill has been mastered.

Right now in my Buddy Game box, I have addition, subtraction, and even and odd games as these are skills we've been working on since school started.

1- Dinosaur Subtraction Game (free) Games4Learning
2- Build a Sandcastle Addition Game (free) Games4Learning
3- Even Steven and Odd Todd (free) Teaching What Works

Understanding Math
In Understanding Math, this is where we put skills together.  This week, my students are putting together all of the ways to write a number together to show one number.  My principal purchased these awesome math kits from Lakeshore (Instant Learning Centers: Number Sense).  While this center didn't have three digit numbers to practice with, I thought they were good practice for two digit numbers.  They show different ways to make the number in the middle, including money and mental math (which we haven't really touched on yet this year, so is a good rigorous activity to stretch their thinking...).  This activity really gets students thinking about how numbers can be represented in different ways, not just standard form.

Independent Reading
I love this station.  Making connections to each subject area to show that you need one to use the other is an important focus in my classroom.  Showing that you can read math books during math class...well, this station is a huge hit with my kids.  My school's bookroom is full of math trade books that I am able to pull and use for this station.  Many of the books are ones that I've picked up or found in the library.

Learning Math
Learning Math is where we practice our current skill.  We are skill working on three digit place value and have just started rounding, I'm keeping the place value games that we did in small group in our learning math box.  Next week I'll put some rounding games in the box because rounding is a little bit harder...we need a little more practice before the kids can work on this with a partner.  

So, here are the math games from our small group.  There are the three and four digit games, so if students feel like they may be ready to bump it up to the next level, they can explore the four digit game as well.  As long as everyone has played the three digit game at some point, I am happy.

Doing Math
This is where we do our seat work.  In the circle, seat, center rotation, seat work is where I reinforce our current skill.  This gives me the chance to differentiate more than I did in small group if needed.  When students finish seat work and have time, they can get on the laptops and "do" some more math!

I really like Sheppard Software and all of their games for language arts and math.  The kids have liked these more than any other website I've used before.  Best of all... it's free!  No usernames, no passwords, just type and go!

I add to the list of games students may play as we learn and add new skills!

On Fridays, I assess.  The students have a weekly math quick check (a quiz on current skills and a spiral review of previously learned skills, and a quick pre-assessment).  We also practice with word problems and then if behavior and time allow, we do some math games.  

So, that's a "glimpse" into my math BUILD stations.  Again, I do not pretend to do this perfectly or with fidelity...this is just my spin on them and what has worked with my class.  Please check out the links to the games and other materials if they are something you can use.  Thanks for reading!!

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