Monday, June 18, 2012

Math Monday

For Math Monday this week, I'm going to look at a couple of chapters of Math Work Stations: Developing Learning You can count on, K-2.
I know that last summer there was a book study on this book. I hadn't discovered blogging until this book study was well under way so I didn't have the chance to participate in it. So this summer, I'm having my own independent book study on my blog. So I'm going to share some of my thoughts and notes about some of the chapters.
Chapter 1 is a introduction chapter that discusses what a math work station is and how it compares to traditional centers. This is really similar to Debbie Diller's ideas in her Literacy work stations. These are not activities done in isolation of what you are doing in class. You've introduced the materials and activities in class and the kids have had the opportunity to explore with them already. I love the opportunities for differentiated math instruction and helping students really think about math and math concepts. I didn't take a ton of notes about this chapter because I felt like I was pretty comfortable with these ideas already.
Chapter 2 is about Organizing and managing math materials. This is where I need a little work. Some of my materials are organized but they aren't labeled well. Diller gives 3 steps to help with this process.
1. Sort your stuff and stay put while you sort.
2. Purge things you don't use for teaching. (I need to do this big time.)
3. Put what you'll keep in containers and place them in a storage area.
4. Maintain the storage system.
So in July when I plan to return to my classroom, this will be one of first tasks to complete. I found some great math labels for free at Joyful Learning in KC.  I liked these because they had pictures on them.
The next task I plan to work on when I return to my classroom is setting up a math corner. Diller talks about how we set up library corners and places for reading but don't do the same for math. I seem to keep running into this idea over and over. That we need to set the same expectations and strategies for math that we do for reading. In this corner, I want to put materials to explore and use, white boards, and books. Does anyone else have a math corner set up in their room? I would love to see some pictures of one.
I also need to make some math mats. This could simply just be construction paper laminated so they have an area to use manipulatives on. I'm not sure what I want to use. I probably need to take stock of what I have before creating anything new.
Chapter 3 is about Getting Started with Math Work Stations. This is where I took  the most notes. The biggest thing I got from this chapter was Model, Model, Model. "Assume nothing, model everything" is a quote that I took from this chapter that I need to keep in mind the most. I think this is one of the things I've struggled with in the past. I don't model enough period. I don't model enough in reading, writing and even math. Since I've been reading Debbie Diller's books and blogging, I've been more conscious of this need. I think I did better last year than I have in the past but I still need to work on.
I really liked the idea that she shares about allowing for exploration stations for the first week or two (this is for first grade). I always try to give my students a chance to explore with a manipulative before we use but I love the idea of only exploring for a week or two. They are allowed to explore with a partner and hopefully will discover a little math along the way. Do you do this in your class? What manipulatives do you use?
I have quite a few more notes about chapter 3 but I want to make a few freebies to go along with them so it will have to wait until the next math Monday.
I'm currently on my honeymoon but I have guest bloggers lined up for the next few days. So be sure to check back and see what they have to say.


  1. Isn't the organization part fun! This book is great!

  2. Assume nothing, model everything. That's a great quote and applies to most everything we do in our classrooms!
    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  3. Always model whole group a few times. I usually play with those who need the practice most.
    Love the book and ideas!
    I am your newest follower!
    Stop by

  4. Congrats on the wedding!!! My wedding is in October and I can't believe it's just 4 months away!

    I spent a lot of time at the end of the school year purging. It is always a strange feeling of dread when you decide to get rid of stuff...and then you see all of the extra space you have for NEW stuff it is so exciting.

    I'm also a TN Kindergarten teacher! And your newest follower! I hope you'll check out my new "manly" blog!

    Smedley's Smorgasboard of Kindergarten

  5. Great idea, Kerri! (as usual) I try to keep a stack of PD articles and books close by and read sooo many good ideas. This has given me ideas on how to share those ideas. Thanks again! Teri

  6. I am now a follower. :)

  7. I love all things Debbie Diller! You will really get a ton of good info from this book!
    Jen's Kinder Kids