Happy Tuesday! Did anyone stay up late watching the National Championship? I was so glad to see Alabama win it! Sorry to my Georgia friends!
Today I am sharing with you a little about my life as “teacher.” Unless you are a teacher, you probably won’t appreciate this post. HA!
I teach 8th grade math and LOVE my job. There is never a day that is the same and that is what makes it so interesting.
Math is a subject where it’s hard to be “creative.” I can’t do experiments or bring a book to life. Kids need to sit down and do math problems to learn the content well.
To help make my class more enjoyable, I teach in stations. I am going to attempt to explain this in a little more detail.
Most of my classes have around 20-26 students in it. I divide my students into 6 groups of 4, with some groups having less and some having more than 4.
My students are all numbered in my classroom. That way, they know exactly what station they are in every day. Also, their number never changes and that is how I identify them all year long. They sit in their numbered seat no matter where it is, and they must write their number on their papers they turn in for me.
I have a bulletin board in my classroom that the students look at and find their number and that tells them what station they are going to start at for the day. It takes a while to train the students to find their number and know the order of how you rotate in stations, but now my classes are pros at it and don’t even need to use the board to know where to rotate next, only to find their number at where to start.
Here are the 6 stations that I do in my classroom:
Station 1: Teacher- The students sit at the round table with me and we learn the new objective for the day and/or review what we learned the previous day.
Station 2: Homework- The kids have a homework assignment from their math textbook. This is always over a concept they’ve previously learned. The students do this independently and if they don’t finish it in class, it is homework and due the next day.
Station 3: Interactive Notebooks- Students keep a math interactive journal for every quarter. At this station, they write notes, helpful hints, or make fun foldables.
Station 4 and 5: Chromebooks- I make math videos for the kids to watch through EduCreations. It is a super easy program and lets me customize how I want the videos. Sometimes I would teach a new concept to the kids through a video, sometimes they would just practice a skill they already learned. They stay at Chromebooks two times in a row because the videos are usually longer than the time allowed for one station. I think this helps your visual learners see the teacher work the math problems out correctly and practice at their own pace while watching the video.
Station 6: Review- The students have a blue review folder that I keep a thick packet of spiral review stuff in at all times. They have a TO DO side and a DONE side. Once they complete a page they put the paper on the DONE side and get started on another paper in their TO DO side. I never let them run out of papers on the TO DO side! Again, all of the packets are over everything that has been previously taught and goes as far back to the very first lesson taught.
Each group is at a station for 13 minutes before the timers goes off and they move to the next station. I try to have activities at each station that they can finish within the specified amount of time.
It takes us two days to get through all 6 stations. I wish there was a way to get through all the stations every day, but it’s just not feasible when you teach middle school and only have approximately 50 minutes with each class.
If I feel the students aren’t grasping the new content, I won’t do stations for a day and will teach whole group to them. There are also days where we need a catch-up day and to slow things down to finish everything from previous stations.
I have very clear expectations and my students know what I expect at each station.
I have found that kids LOVE moving around every 13 minutes and enjoy doing stations in my math classroom. It makes the class period go by very QUICKLY! I love when a kid says, “it’s already time to leave?!?”
Are you a teacher? Do you like teaching in small groups or stations? I would love to hear from you on how you incorporate small groups.
Hope you have a terrific Tuesday!