My Math Workshop Rotation Board -Setting Up the Classroom Series

A few years back, I was finding that my friends were really struggling to attend during our math block. We were following the curriculum as prescribed, but it called for long sessions of whole group "discussions" which never played out the way they did in the teacher's guide.

I couldn't help but notice that the kids were tending to language arts without problem, but that math was a challenge. I decided to try using the same rotation strategies that I used for Guided Reading and voila! Why hadn't I started doing that sooner?

I had reservations because I didn't want to stray from the curriculum, but with a little planning I was able to cover what was required...and more! Instead of having all the students sit for a long lesson and then go off for the activities, I break the lesson down into small groups and teach the content as mini lessons (much like the Daily 5). By having the students in small groups I am able to easily differentiate instruction and it assures that each and every child gets a fair share of my attention. I feel like I know my students as mathematicians so much better.

Here's how I manage it:

I have four groups of students. I know it lacks in creativity, but I just refer to them as Groups 1-4.

I use post-it notes to show who is in which group. I simply stick them to the blue strips at the bottom left. Each strip is titled with the group number.

My 4 rotations spell out the word MATH:

M=Math Facts
All of the games and activities in this station are designed to strengthen computation skills. We use flash cards, online games, practice pages, array cards, etc.

A=At Your Seat
This is where they do independent practice activities such as math journals, number of the day, word problems and the required math practice pages from the student workbooks.

T=Teacher's Choice
It used to just be "Teacher" and that was the station where they worked with me. However, I found that there were days when I did not need to meet with each and every group so I changed it to "Teacher's Choice." Typically, I will meet with them as a guided math group, but I also use this time to meet 1:1 for individual math conferences, circulate to assist with games, or whatever needs to be done that day.

H=Hands-On Manipulatives
This is my favorite station. It's where the kids learn by doing and it's magical to see the light bulb pop on.

Using the acronym MATH makes it even easier for my friends to know where to go next in the rotation. They simply need to spell the word.
I use pocket charts to let them know what they need to be doing in each station. To make my board I took 2 pocket charts and cut them in half as shown below.

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