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From: Jackie 
To: Teacher2Teacher Public Discussion
Date: 2000062216:10:57
Subject: Re: Math learning centers

This year I am teaching a 2-3 blend, but have taught every grade level
K-5.  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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