I am so excited to be reading the posts from fellow teachers who are enthusiastic about Debbie's latest book Math Work Stations. As a totally committed thematic teacher who has had to rethink and revamp my classroom to meet our state standards and now the Common Core Standards, I can't thank Debbie enough. I have slowly moved my math centers to work stations, I still am not differentiating my stations as much as I should. That will be my goal for the coming year. I am very mad at myself for not taking a picture of my revamped math center before almost dismantling it when the year ended. I am going to upload the picture and try to explain what I did. I also went to Target this week and found the containers I am going to use for the actual work stations. They are 15"X 11 1/2 and 3 1/4 " deep. I started using a lot of dice, domino and card games last year, putting the sheets the students used in sheet protectors. These bins are the perfect size. When you look at the picture of my area, you'll see the blue bins I originally purchased. They just didn't work out as well. So, I think a math station must reflect the skills students need to meet the standard. They must be activities the students are familiar with (I can't tell you how many "wonderful" math activities I have planned that students had no idea what to do, leading to frustration and disappointment for them and me.) Another important thing to do is to put all your materials together and choose wisely what you actually need to keep in order to have successful math work stations. I cleaned out and gave away a myriad of math materials to anyone who would take it this past year.
If you disregard all the junk on top, you can see that I put all the materials I use a lot in three drawer chests. I labeled them with 2X4" labels. I was using the blue bins, but will change to the bins shown below. I made a Math Work Stations sign, our math goals for the quarter and 2 books on either end. The bins for students will be placed where the blue bins are now.