Thursday, June 2, 2011

Math Work Stations~ at home!

This summer I will be reading, implementing & blogging about the book, "Math Work Stations: Independent Learning You Can Count on, K-2.

Since being a stay-at-home mom I truly miss being part of a professional learning community. I am SOOOO excited to be a part of the online 'blog party" for this book that is being hosted by Mrs. Wills!   Click this link for more info:

I am a licensed preschool teacher and reading specialist. Currently I work part-time at a nature preschool for 3-5 year olds in Vermont. I spend the rest of my time savoring every moment with my family: my wonderful husband (who's a middle school math teacher), 5 year old son (who loves to skip count and add really big numbers), and 2 year old daughter (who believes everything is 2, and that Elmo should be watched at all hours of the day).

My motivation in reading this book & blogging about it is to get fresh ideas for teaching math to my soon-to-be kindergartner. He loves math and has a great foundation. I know he is ready to soar and I'm ready to spend some time learning how to help him do just that. Years ago I read Debbie Diller's Literacy Work Stations book and loved her approach and ideas, so when I saw this online- group study I jumped at the chance!

I've recruited one of my son's friends and will be hosting a 'Kinder Camp' this summer. Once a week we will have a mini lesson in reading and math. I plan on using math work stations throughout the week to reinforce what we learn during 'camp'. To say my son is excited is an understatement. Every night since I told him about my plan he asks, "So when does that camp you're teaching start?"

Well enough background info, onto the book study questions for Chapter 1 & 2:

1. How do you (or will you) differentiate your math stations?

My 'classroom' is really my children's playroom. I have been reworking the set up in there so that it's still fun to play in, but functional when we are doing school work. I've spent the last few days sorting, purging, reorganizing materials into containers, and labelling everything.
As I set to work on this task, with just math materials in mind, I realized that I had procrastinated long enough on finishing the labeling of my leveled library and themed set of children's books. (Seriously, I started on this project five years ago and I told myself I couldn't go 'blog partying' until my old project was done!)
One of the most helpful tips from the Diller book is, "Stay put while you sort!" Several times I left the room to go put something away and while in the other part of the house I got involved in an unrelated task. Luckily I had some childcare this morning and I actually finished the book labeling~~~after 5 years of procrastination I got it done in about 2 hours!

Now that I got this task done I can allow myself to go 'blog partying'! Woohoo!

With 3 years difference between my 'students' I have some serious differentiation to do in my room. I like the idea of 'exploration stations' and plan on modeling for my 2 year old how to use the same materials that my son is using. He also enjoys being a teacher so he will get to re-learn something as he teaches her skills.

2. How and where do you keep your math stations?

Our math stations are going to be stored in our playroom. I plan on using numbered plastic totes that the kids can easily access. Since my two year old has to do everything that her brother does, I will be sure she has some of her own activities in similar totes. Unfortunately she is still very oral in her math explorations, and therefore I am extra vigilant not to have small pieces in her reach. This has been an on-going problem but my son knows to put things away as soon as he is finished with them and I also keep a close watch on her where abouts.

3. How do you keep your math materials organized.?

The Math Corner in our playroom has the materials that we are currently using. Extra materials are stored in another room so the space is less cluttered and there is less to clean up. 
I do have large tote, tucked way under the stairs, filled with math materials from when I taught first grade. I am itching to get it out, but I wanted to get the math corner established first before I take on this daunting task!

One of my other 'off task' projects was to reorganize & label our building materials! Who knew I'd get so much done during this book study!

Now I'm off to read the next chapter about getting started implementing the Math Work Stations!

Oh and thanks to Mrs. Wills for the freebie math materials labels. You might want to click on the link above to find them for yourself! Now Mrs. Wills said, "Don't forget to grab my button to add into your post." but I have no idea how to do that!


  1. YAY!!!! YOU!!! I love your organized books... OUTstanding!

    Thanks for linking up and making this work for you.

    If you want to know how to embed the blog button, you can email me... I can share!
    Mrs. Wills Kindergarten

  2. Love your organization. I find that so hard to do at home. :)
    Glad to see you join in. :)