Math Work Stations Blog Party Chapter 1 and 2

Math Work Stations Book Study Organization. Find tips to organize your math work stations plus a free download.

Math Work Stations Book Study Organization. Find tips to organize your math work stations plus a free download.

Welcome to our Blog Party!  I first heard about this book 2 years ago when I was attending one of Debbie Diller’s workshops in Ozark, MO.  You can find this book by clicking HERE. (affiliate link) I was so excited to learn she was going to guide and challenge my thinking around math stations the same way she did literacy stations.  So here we go…

Chapter 1

This chapter defines what a math station IS and more importantly what it is NOT.  Page 16 provides an excellent table comparing “math stations” with “math centers”.
I would like to say I have been doing “math stations”, but after really dissecting her table, I have to admit my “stations” look a bit more like “centers”.  Based on her table, here is my checklist:
  1. Materials used by the teacher first, then placed in the station: YES
  2. Materials do not change weekly, but rather changed to reflect the students learning objectives:  Well… sort-of…  I do switch out some of my materials weekly, but the concepts and tasks remain consistent… Does that count? AND my materials are a little theme-y. I could do better.
  3. All students go to stations daily:  YES!  Yay!
  4. Materials are differentiated: Whoops!  Need to work on this.
  5. The teacher observes work or meets with differentiated math groups: YEP on both!

So clearly, I need to work on differentiating my math stations better… I can do that!

Math Work Stations Blog Party Chapter 1 and 2 1

Here is one easy way for me to differentiate.   The FABULOUS Mrs. Diller suggests (on P.13) to have some students work with smaller numbers, while others extend their learning with larger numbers.  So… in this domino addition station I placed 3 Ziplock bags with colored stars on them.   Some students will work with numbers 0-5 (orange star), some with numbers 6-10 (green star), and others will work with  numbers 11-15 (purple star).


Chapter 2

  1. Sort
  2. Purge (this is a tough one… read and re-read Step 2 on pages 23-24)
  3. Containerize
  4. Label
My math materials were pretty organized, to begin with…. but I am likin’ my new labels.  Click here to grab my labels.
I use empty Crystal Light containers for my game pieces and dice….LOVE IT! 
Math Work Stations Book Study Organization. Find tips to organize your math work stations plus a free download.
Math Work Stations Book Study Organization. Find tips to organize your math work stations plus a free download.
In each of these bins, I keep a math station.  I have 12 in total (one is the computer station).  I keep the directions and the black-line master in a plastic page protector.  When I am ready to store the activity, I slide the materials into the page protector.  The manipulatives (like Unifix cubes) go back into their container.  The black magazine holders keep our “finished” station work.
Math Work Stations Book Study Organization. Find tips to organize your math work stations plus a free download.
Link up your blog post with reflections and resources from Chapter 1 and Chapter 2 to my post.
In your link… Answer these questions:
1.  How do you (or will you) differentiate your math stations? {I added this from the bookmark…sorry}
2.  How and where do you keep your math stations?
3.  How do you keep your math materials organized.?
Don’t forget to grab my button to add to your post.
Click on the “Add Your Link” below.
Math Work Stations Book Study Organization. Find tips to organize your math work stations plus a free download.


Math Work Stations Blog Party Chapter 1 and 2 2
Math Work Stations Book Study Organization. Find tips to organize your math work stations plus a free download.

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Deedee Wills

Deedee Wills

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

Hi, I'm DeedeE.

My teaching career allowed me to experience teaching in different classroom environments and grades. My heart belongs to early childhood education. My job is to make teaching FUN, ENGAGING, and EASIER. Welcome!

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32 Responses

  1. I am looping with my kids from first to second. I am REQUIRED to use Everyday Math. Two questions:
    1. Is Math Workstations appropriate for second grade?
    2. Can I do Everyday Math in the workstation format?

  2. teachermom, I am so sorry… I am not familiar with Everyday Math… anyone can help with this?

    Yes, I do feel the Math Work Stations work well for 2nd grade (I taught 2nd grade for 4 years). I think some of our 2nd grade blog party hosts (Cheryl and Lory) will show you give you some great examples in the next few weeks.

  3. Deedee,
    Great job! I love how you answered the guiding questions and your honesty.
    I can't wait to look at all the links. I love taking a peek into teacher's classrooms. 🙂

  4. Deedee- Thank you for organizing this book study! I could not wait to log on today. I have been waiting for weeks 🙂 I just started doing Daily 5/CAFE and math workstations this year in my class. I have loved every minute of it!

    Katie Williams
    Springfield Missouri

  5. Teachermom, Yes and Yes!!

    We used Everyday Math Counts a few years ago. The partner games would be wonderful to use in the work stations for 2nd graders. Debbie Diller recommends using the curriculum resources because the kids are familiar with the games.

    I looped with my kids and currently on 2nd grade too! You will love the learning gains.

    Primary Graffiti

  6. Hello, what timing. Our principal gave this to us for the summer and now I can pace my reading along with such great thoughts and ideas. Plus this is my very blog. Is it crazy to say I'm excited to get back into my classroom to clean out and organize the closet? I am. Thanks! Elicia, Floral City, Florida

  7. We also use Everyday Math and I'm feeling an overwhelming need to revamp the way I teach math. I feel that my strugglers really suffered and I never had time to do anything but whole group instruction. I think I'll try putting out the games as centers and do instruction in a smaller group setting, one group at a time. I could use the whole group instruction time to teach games, routines, etc.
    Has anyone else run into problems with kids not playing together well? No matter how much we practiced taking turns, sharing, etc. some kids were just not team players and were choosing not to play at all by their behavior.

  8. Oops! Forgot to comment about organization. I use clear badge holders and double sided tape to put on the outside of my containers. Then I get blank business cards that come on a sheet (like mailing labels do). I slip these into the badge holders. What I like is that they're easily changeable. You can use the badge holders horizontally or vertically. I also use empty film canisters to put plastic coins in. This way kids can just grab what they need.

  9. I am a Kindergarten teacher so labels need both words and pictures. I have 10 days left of school and appreciate all of the great ideas. I am motivated to clean and purge.

    I placed self adhesive index card holders on all of my clear bins. This way I can change out the contents of the bin and quickly place a matching label inside the pocket. The link below will show you an example – several companies make them.

    I don't have a lot of floor space so I purchased a hanging Frank Shaffer file folder and use it to hold file folder games and such for my kiddos to pick and choose from. I have it hanging from a small portable coat rack. I attached it with shower hooks from the dollar store and on the back I have a pocket chart. We use the pocket chart for coins,patterning,Find the Missing Number etc. I also use it for Math Poems and songs. I found it at a local office supply store during a back to school sale. It too has the index card holders on the front of the pockets so the contents are labeled and easily seen.

    Thanks for sharing!

  10. Thanks for sharing all of this great information! I'm waiting for my book to arrive, so I started my blog and book study based on yours. I'm moving from kindergarten to 2nd next SY, so I'm trying to figure out a new version of the programs and want to do math stations. I incorporated them into our Kindergarten Investigations curriculum by making Math Workshop more structured than the program suggested, so I'm hoping to do something similar in 2nd grade.

  11. I like how she begins to organize the groups in two's and to have a plastic math bind for each two children. So if you have 20 students you should have 10 math binds. She also describes what to do if you have an odd number of children. She would also label each bind with a number (for example 1-10). The materials for each would go into the plastic bind but if you needed bigger pieces to put up on top in a container.

  12. I began organizing my math stations in Feb-March because I found some cheap bins that fit all of my materials perfectly. I organize my bins based on the skills students need to know and difficulty (easy to hard). I find this has worked really well so far and made my math stations more organized and easier for the students to access and use without me having to pull things out for them (they are the ones that are responsible for their stations).

  13. Meenal, I love the thought of using name badges. You can change the labels easily and wouldn't have to buy so many bottles of Windex with Vinegar. Great Idea.

    Don't forget Stenhouse is offering a discount for purchasing their book. Promo Code is MATH. You can also keep up with us while awaiting for your book to arrive with a free preview of the entire book online!!


  14. I am glad to be able to check the party. My blog is just for my parents. I am reading as I can but my area of AZ is burning up. As I write the fire has reach almost 110,000 acres and moving very rapidly.

    I hope that this does stay up and available so I can really read it when I don't have to worry about the safety of my family and my friends.

    Send goo thoughts our way.

  15. Dear AZ,

    I'm sending hopes of rain for your part of the country!

    My materials are labeled and sorted, but I'm trying to figure out how to "squeeze" stations into math investigations, district target strategy lessons, and calendar/routine time. I can't wait to hear more ideas about making stations work in different districts.

  16. I'm currently "on leave" from teaching K, but am hoping to return to the classroom soon. And though I don't blog, I'll be reading and learning along the way. Please don't consider me a blog stalker! In both my K classroom and when I taught as 1st/3rd Math Specialist, I had "cubbies" for storing individual boxes labeled and organized by math concept – patterns, sorting & classifying, numbers & operations, data collections & graphs, geometric shapes, measurement, time & money, fractions, and place value. Each box contained games, activities, recording sheets, etc. while an identical cubby unit housed math manipulatives organized alphabetically. It was easy to pull activities and manipulatives to place in work stations. Students could easily retrieve or clean up manipulatives as labels also included picture icons. Yes, materials were added after teaching, but often changed weekly. Students did enjoy working with old favorites since they were always accessible in the open cubbies and could be used if current work stations were completed. Sometimes tasks were differentiated, but mostly not. Math stations were located at designated tables around the room and students rotated daily to each station, one being teacher instruction/conferring, following a work chart. What fun to be sharing ideas. Thanks for an open invitation to the party!

  17. HELP! I still want to teach thematically as it works for me. Why not change out the materials to reflect a theme (month long) to keep up the interest? Debbie seems to want to keep the materials fresh, but not change them? I dont quite understand.

    I am a blog stalker and comment leaver! Thanks for all the ideas, Virginia

  18. AZ… Our hearts are with you!!!

    Virginia, don't lose hope! I think we can do both! I hope to provide sone examples over the next few chapters!!!

  19. My ah-ha moment was when she said to have labeled spots were they do their station. Seriously, why have I not been doing that????

    Springfield Missouri

  20. Deedee, thank you for creating this discussion/party about Debbie Diller's Math Stations. I am getting the book, and can't wait to read what other k teachers plan to do this coming year.

  21. Hi there,
    Do you have any other ideas for how to differentiate math centers? I am struggling and need some suggestions. Thanks

  22. I am in for the Book Study for June. I have just purchased the book, In Pictures and in Words. Can't wait to start.


  23. Question, are you now doing literacy stations and daily 5? I got into literacy stations at the end of the year but I also want to start doing the Daily 5 as well! Any tips or suggestions? Thank you!

  24. Hi Deedee! I'm so excited to be a part of this book study, even though I came to the party late.

    I am a HUGE Diller fan and was so excited to find out that she had a book about Math Work Stations!

    I love your idea about the badge holders for labels and the notebook to keep blackline masters in- so much easier to find things! Last year, we transitioned from Investigations to GO math!and all my materials are still organized by Investigation units. This way will be sooo much easier! Thanks a million!

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