March 25, 2014

Math Stations - Update

Well, I've been using stations for a few weeks now and wanted to post an update and ask for some advice.

Here's a tweet from a few weeks ago so you can see the general layout. I've changed it a bit lately, but generally it's the same. The back right grouping is where they work on computers doing TenMarks, the back left group is quizzes/hw/etc, and the front 12 are new content with me.

Things I'm loving!
  • Students are getting targeted remediation. I am setting student-specific goals through TenMarks. I also have this taped onto each desk in the TenMarks station... very helpful!
  • I feel like I'm reaching more students since I'm only giving instruction to about 12 at a time.
  • 8th graders have a relatively short attention span - 17 minutes and then rotating is helping to keep them focused.
  • Students are accomplishing a lot in one class period. Targeted, timed things to accomplish are working very well.
Things I need to improve:
  • I still feel the need to monitor/watch the back groups. I need to let this go! 
  • I want to give students more than 17 minutes for TenMarks. Hopefully when I get for more computers (I'll have 10 total soon) I can move to only having three rotations of about 25 each.
  • It's really hard to say the same thing over and over, especially now I'm doubling up in each class period. I have to be very careful and not leave anything out because I've already said it about 12 times!
Sorry I don't have pictures of this workshop thing in motion - I'm always with a group of kids! That's another thing that's hard. I used to grade during the few minutes that students were working on quizzes or homework. Now, I'm with a group of students while others are quizzing, meaning I don't have time to grade/check email/nothing! Bell to bell!! It's hard!

So what are your suggestions? Any ideas for my 'improved' list? Any general thoughts or ideas to add?


  1. I just have a question about you using the free or paid version? Thoughts about the program?

    1. I'm using the free version. I checked a little box saying I was interested in more information about the paid version but then received an email that I needed to have a phone conversation with a representative to determine the best features for my needs - haven't got around to that yet.

      So far I'm really liking it. I looked mostly at MobyMax, MangaHigh, TenMarks, and BuzzMath when I compared. My two main needs were individualized assignments and algebra standards. MobyMax has individual assignments but ends at 8th grade, MangaHigh has a really fun game-based model and includes algebra but requires $$ for individualized assignments, BuzzMath is fun and individualized but ends at 8th grade, so that left TenMarks. I love that it includes high school standards and I can assign things individually. The interface and usability are also really nice. It also has high level questions, modeled after the PARCC and Smarter Balance released items. The only down fall is that it's not "fun" like MangaHigh and BuzzMath. You definitely feel like you're doing math and not playing a game. For my needs, it's been great! Hope that helps!!


  2. I think based on what you say at the end, about you not having any free moments and how you are repeating, that you may end up burning out. Just a thought and not trying to be negative just looking out for you as a teacher, because I have done other work for my first 20 years and I know how much more teachers work. As teachers we really give everything up, coffee breaks, bathroom breaks, breathing breaks, and then there is that feeling I get when I know I've already said this today, that I know is not healthy, probably not mentally healthy. But, I love what you are doing but I would never try to teach that way because I feel in the end I will be exhausted and I feel the students need to put in more than what they are currently doing. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thanks so much for your thoughts. I definitely agree that this model is not sustainable day-after-day all year long. Over time, and hopefully with more technology, I'm moving towards more student directed project based learning. Thanks again for your comments, I really appreciate your insights!

  3. I started using math workshop last year with my 6th graders! I really like it, but agree with your comment on working on monitoring the back groups! I've been trying to find more ways to keep the groups I am not working with more accountable for what they are doing!

  4. I just found this, and I know its over 2 years since this original blog, but did you find a solution to your centers? My district just invested in TenMarks and I liked how you set up your classroom - with the rotation. But, I was really feeling for you when you stated you were working bell to bell and doing a lot repeating. Any advice would be welcome.