Workstations, Not Worksheets!

Written by Donna Boucher

Donna has been a teacher, math instructional coach, interventionist, and curriculum coordinator. A frequent speaker at state and national conferences, she shares her love for math with a worldwide audience through her website, Math Coach’s Corner. Donna is also the co-author of Guided Math Workshop.
Nbrs to 120 Activities 3

There’s no getting around it…students need to practice math.  But how you accomplish that practice is an instructional decision.  I’m a big proponent of a math workshop approach with meaningful, flexible workstations.

Let’s look at how workstation task cards can grow with your students and allow you to easily differentiate your instruction.  For maximum flexibility, you don’t want to include actual numbers with the tasks.  You can see how the task card for adding with a 120 chart pictured below does not include the amounts for the students to build.  Instead, you want the numbers to be random. That’s also where the differentiation comes in.  Using a set of cards to 120, you control the magnitude of the numbers students work with.  This also gives you the flexibility to reuse this task multiple times throughout the year–something you can’t do with worksheets.

Nbrs to 120 Activities 2

Another benefit of using task cards is that students use their math journals to record their thinking, rather than just filling in blanks on a worksheet.  This brings those all-important Standards for Mathematical Practice into the process.  The use of a math journal chronicles a student’s growth throughout the year and puts all the important math work they’ve done at their fingertips.

From a teacher prep perspective, workstation task cards can be your friend!  Yes, getting started involves copying, laminating, and cutting.  And the themed number cards look lovely in color, which can be expensive.  But B & W number cards work just as well, and whether you use color or B & W, once they’re laminated you’re done!  No scrambling every week to run copies of your worksheets. You just decide on which task you want the kiddos to do, which numbers you should use, and your prep is done!

If you’re ready to get started, you might want to check out my Workstation Task Cards which contain 28 workstation activities aligned to the K-2 CCSS.

12 Comments

  1. Sarah M

    Love the title of this post and your product! My second graders really enjoy task cards and work well with them. I also like the easy prep and the flexibility you have built into these. Thanks so much for sharing! I will be linking your blog up (under resources) on our new guided math blog, Adventures in Guided Math. You are a wonderful resource for teachers! :0)

    Smiles,
    Sarah

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks, Sarah! I came across your blog a little while back, and I’ve been following it.

      Reply
  2. Kathleen Wright

    I am so glad you reposted this. I had already purchased these but forgotten about them. This summer I am revamping my math journals and these will be VERY useful. I have so much stuff the biggest challenge is keeping track of all of it 😛
    Kidpeople Classroom

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      That is so funny, Kathleen! I’m glad I’m not the only one who buys things and then forgets them. Ha ha.

      Reply
  3. Sandi MacDougall

    I got ready to buy these also, only to find out I already had them. Thanks for reposting.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      You guys are cracking me up!

      Reply
  4. Overachiever

    These are great activities to use even during intervention. I noticed that they are titled common core math workstations. Are these also aligned to the new math TEKS? Thanks in advance.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      The table in the package shows the alignment to Common Core. While there is not an alignment to the TEKS, the new TEKS are practically a mirror image of the CCSS. So, yes, they are very much aligned with the TEKS.

      Reply
  5. Greg Coleman

    I love the title. It is all about “doing” the math. This is a great resource for teachers.

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Thanks, Greg! I thought the title pretty much sums up my philosophy! 🙂

      Reply
  6. Jenny

    I so want to do things like this but teach children aged 10-12 (Australian Year 6). Suggestions? (We run ‘primary school’ – so generalist teachers – through this age)

    Reply
    • Donna Boucher

      Workstations work well at any age! Check out Guided Math by Laney Sammons for an idea of what the structure looks like. There are many resources with workstation tasks and games for upper elementary and even middle school.

      Reply

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