Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Math Stations Journey...Success?!

I have been making a point of ensuring my students have at least 15 minutes at Math Work Stations each day.  It is interesting to observe and see where the strengths and challenges lie.  The whole idea of students working in pairs, on different tasks, and remaining engaged is extremely interesting to watch, but, not always pretty!  My students, overall, struggle with following the routines of Literacy Stations as well as Math Work Stations.  I have a few who just LOVE to do things thier way.  I have been floating around the classroom during this time, watching, listening, & coaching students on how to use the work, and, still, how to organize thier work and solve problems.  Today, I took a large step back and just 'got busy' away from the students.  It was amazing!  Even though they may not be 100% efficient with the materials/concepts at each station, there was not 1 pair of students who was NOT engaged! They stayed engaged for 10 minutes without any interruptions from me! (super hard not to step in!).  I heard/saw some disagreements get solved,  1 guy & girl challenging each other for speed in addition/subtraction, and they were all talking to each other!
     My next step is to add more choice to the Work Stations, but, after our Mclass math meeting today, I am not sure I will have time to take a breath, let alone think through more choices!  We'll save that 'discussion' for another day!
     How is it going for you?  Please leave a comment or share any other blogs/websites that show how others are doing with Math Work Stations!


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Math Work Stations = Learning about teaching

This format was/is supposed to be one way for me to track my implementation of Math Work Stations in my classroom and my own learning, but, I have been keeping a journal in more than one place!  My learning  may not always be pretty...but I will be as honest as I can in public!  (yikes!) 
     This past summer  I was so excited when I saw the Math Work Station 'Frenzy'...all of the collaboration around Debbie Diller's newest book.  I felt all the sharing might be just the support I would need to try Math Work Stations myself.  Let's just say getting Math Work Stations up and running has been a very bumpy and lonely ride!  Boy I love to share my learning with someone, and, I absolutely love-love-love to learn from others!  I thought I had struck gold finding blogs...and in many ways I did/have.  What I didn't understand is that bloggers do not stay on one topic, and what I really need, as a learner, is a partner to travel along with, bounce thinking off of,  compare interpretations/learning, and really learn to trust the process. 
Update: Math Work Stations are not going as well in real life as they did in my dreams!  I just have not been able to find/make the time to allow students consistent time at Work Stations and it really showed up the past 2 weeks! 
Oh how important consistency is to student/teacher learning!
Struggle:  scheduling enough time to teach current content and allow time for working on past concepts.

Good news:  Last week we were able get time at Math Work Station 2 out of 4 instructional days. 
This week:  last week taught me to refresh/review how to set up and clean up work stations.
                    Yesterday:  review/reteach set-up/clean-up
                     Today:  Work Stations!  Observations/share out at end by students. 
What went well?  2 girls on computer:  "It was hard at first but, then I remembered that Mrs. Chappetto told us to take turns!  We took turns and we learned some new addition!"
                               Another pair of boys, one functioning below level in most areas of school and another  very quiet, but well developed student.  The more capable student shared:  "We worked together and he finished before me!"  My little struggler had the biggest smile on his face and the other students spontaneously broke out in applause!"  Talk about affirmation! Wow!
**While these are two good stories/highlights, we will continue to work on defining good partnerships, taking turns, being patient and understanding and using the materials correctly. 

Oh how I wish I had 1000 followers who were all working on the same things and we could share the good, the bad and the ugly of Math Work Stations.  I am super-grateful that there are so many teachers out there that create and share their incredible creations for Math Work Stations. 

I will continue to post because that was my commitment to myself...and if anyone ever reads my blog, hopefully my honest and candid reflections help them.  If you read all of this, leave some feedback!