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Q&A #541 
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From: Jackie To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion Date: 2000062215:10:57 Subject: Re: Math learning centers This year I am teaching a 23 blend, but have taught every grade level K5. I've used math centers or what I call stations for years, no matter which grade level I was teaching. I use them to reinforce concepts individually or in small group that I have introduced first through whole group instructional activities. They are based on the different strands of mathematics. For example I will set up 10 probability experiments or 10 measurement activities to reinforce the chapters we are studying in our math text. I chose ten activities because it gives enough slots for students to be able move around as they complete an activity. I limit the number to no more than four students in each station. This helps to cut down on noise. Centers or math stations take some strong organization in order for them to be effective. To get them going at first I will demonstrate a few stations at a time. If the activity is some type of game, I usually play the game as a whole group activity, the class against me first. All the stations students can choose from are listed on a station contract. Each student has a pocket folder with the station contract attached. In order to go to a station, they have to sign up for the station on their contract. They must complete the activity they have selected before they can ask to move on to a new station. This helps eliminate the "flitterers." Once students have completed a station activity, they must fill out what they learned from the activity on their contract, clean up, and store any paperwork in their pocket folder. I put a sticker on the completed line of their contract and check to see whether the station they want to move to is full. We have rules that we practice a lot at the beginning of the year about treatment of station materials, noise level, taking apart other's creations, and clean up. For some specific examples of station contracts you could look at the Math by All Means series by Marilyn Burns. She calls the organizer a math menu. For more information about these materials go to: http://www.mathsolutions.com/ Also, I have a number of sample station contracts posted on my web site that are appropriate for primary aged students. You can view them at: http://westgresham.gresham.k12.or.us/jcooke/jcooke.html Jackie , for the Teacher2Teacher service
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