December is upon us and that means it’s time to change over math stations in my kinder classroom. My stations last about 3 weeks. So these stations should take me right up until Christmas.
Why Math Stations
While math instruction whole group gives students the big picture, math stations give them the chance to try new skills out. I’m a BIG believer in Math Stations because they allow students to get differentiated, hands-on, engaging practice with math skills they are introduced to all year. Any kindergarten teacher can tell you, even though you may have taught it once or twice. . . .or even ten times, it will take many many many opportunities of using the skill to really master it. Math Stations give my students that chance for practice.
STATION 1: SENSORY TABLE GINGER ADDITION. (Part of December Spinner Math Fun Galore)
There are always several sensory tubs going on at any given time in my classroom. So, of course, I would include one in math stations. My students are just starting to get into addition. You always have those few that are ready to take off, but in general, they are just starting to discover different ways to find the answers. I always make number lines available to them for this if they want it, but they usually use whatever manipulatives I have in my sensory table (mini-bulbs, pasta, buttons . . .) to solve the problem if they can’t figure it out in their head or on their fingers. It’s differentiated, of course, so you can choose the level of difficulty for your students. And if you’re looking for a little inspiration for what you might put in your sensory tub, here’s an idea of things I put in one of mine. I generally slide my activity into the bin for them to complete first, and then they have free reign to work with the materials that are available to sort and count and make patterns.
Station 2: Give Me Your Sweets (Part of Sweet Ginger Math Stations Galore):
This is a greater than/less than spinner game. It’s pretty straight forward. The packet allows you to choose from ten frame numbers or numerals so your students have some variety, and you have the ability to differentiate.
Station 3: Santa’s Helpers Love Base Ten Write The Room Fun: Mykindergartners love anything that lets them get up and move, and I’m happy to oblige them with a clipboard and a dry erase marker.
The one above gives them tons of practice with those tens and ones and it’s differentiated. But, of course, it’s no good to you if your students are working on counting and/or addition. In that case, you may want to throw up an option like the one below where students are either counting to ten or adding to 5 or adding to 10 depending on their readiness level.
Station 4: Gingerbread Making Ten Play-doh Mats (Part of Sweet Ginger Math Stations Galore):
I will not apologize for STILL using play-doh in my classroom. I know some administrators frown on it for being ‘non-educational,’ (not my administrator thank goodness) but my kinder friends are DESPERATE for fine motor work, and this is an engaging way for me to give them practice making 10 AND working those precious little fingers.
Station 5: December Spin One More Number (Part of December Spinner Math Fun Galore):
Spinner games are a hit in my class. I can make this one a bit more challenging by differentiating the spinner mat used (counting objects, ten frames or numerals) for some while others still try and master that concept of adding one more.
Station 6: Ginger Loves Yatta (Part of Sweet Ginger Math Stations Galore):
This is a fast pace fluency game where students quickly count (or add) and then find the number on the playing mat. When they find it, they say ‘Yatta.’ If they are correct, they get to keep the playing card. I haven’t found much better for fluency.
Station 7: Self-Correcting Sweet Addition Fun (Part of Sweet Ginger Math Stations Galore):
This one is so independent that students can check their own work. They simply lay a playing card on the top of the playing mat, write the equation they see from the picture on the playing card, and write the answer. Once completed, they remove the close pin from the playing card and the answer is revealed underneath.
Station 8: Sizing Up Ginger (or Sizing Up Santa edition) (Part of Sweet Ginger Math Stations Galore):
This is a non-stardard or standard measurement activity that can also include an estimation element to it if you desire.
Station 9: Sweet Doubles Bump (Part of December Spinner Math Fun Galore):
We have started introducing the concept of doubles in my kinder class, and I wanted a little fun activity to give the chance to work with it more. I add a few manipulative to this station for students who need it to find their number’s double, but you would be amazed how quickly they pick up those doubles and are no longer using their fingers.
So that’s the nine stations for this month. You can see that there are 9 stations listed. However, at any given time, only 7 stations are being used (it’s usually 6 stations when I have a regular sized class). Students rotate through each station in the course of 3 weeks two times. Each day that we have stations (about 3-4 times a week) they visit 2 stations for 15-20 minutes each. This system works great for me. These activities are familiar and predictable for my students which make them very independent. I can choose a station to sit and work with students, or I can easily pull students to work with me, and I know that the other activities will continue without need for my constant supervising. Along with predictable activities, picture instruction cards help greatly at facilitating independence in math stations. And I always add or remove different activities based on the interests of my class each year.
And There’s More
Most stations are such that they don’t have early finishers, but in the event that there are, I always have a Hide and Seek Game available (like the one below) for them to play. This game can be played with sight words, numbers, ten frames, letters . . . basically any skill you need to practice and THEY NEVER TIRE OF IT. I keep it up in a pocket chart for the entire month so that it is readily available to play if I have students who have finished their work. You can play with 2 students or a whole class. (You can see more about Hide and Seek Games HERE.)
Organized For Differentiating
Each station is aligned to a Common Core Standard which I list so my administrator can easily see what standard we are working towards mastering, and they are tiered when applicable. My orange tier is my students who are ready for a bit more challenge. Green tier is for students who are generally right about where they should be in terms of the skills we are learning right now. My blue tier is for students who may need a bit more support. (Just because a student is blue, green or orange doesn’t mean they are always that color. I keep their names on laminated name cards so their colors can easily be changed if needed to meet their readiness level. Likewise, all my orange students are not placed together in a station nor are the blue nor green. (If you’d like to learn more about how I tier my math stations with color, click on the picture below to see my blog post explaining it.)
If you’d like to find out more about these activities, you can just click on any of the pictures above, and it will take you to a preview and description of them. Or, you can check out all my math station items by clicking HERE.