Thursday, August 4, 2011

Math centers for the upper grades...

In the past, our 3rd grade team has always focused on the concept currently being taught for students to practice while we conduct guided math. Basically while we worked with a small group of students, the other kids would play games that focused on our current concept. It worked out, but I always felt like the kids weren't getting enough practice of the other skills. I want to revamp the way I do guided math. I am thinking I want to do centers of some sort. I also want to make sure that I make it that there are a variety of things the kids can do so we avoid them getting bored doing the same thing over and over. Here is what I was thinking:
  • Skill builders - Work on any current and previously taught skills/concepts. I thought I could also incorporate creative ways to work on word problems since this is a big struggle for my kids.{still working on this!}
  • Fluency {drills} - flashcards, memorizing facts, I want to start something where the kids master their addition/multiplication facts and we chart it on the wall. I found a great website that has timed tests! Unfortunately the kids usually come to us without any facts memorized and struggle to memorize multiplication facts.
  • Computers - The kids will play computer games on current/previous skills.
  • Games - Misc games on current and previously taught skills. I would have to continue to change these out and add to them.
So what do you think? I like that there are only 4 centers, because we usually will only have time for 1 station a day. I also like that I've broken them down into centers so they can be more manageable {it was a sort of free for all last year - craziness!!!!}. What do you do? How do you manage your centers with upper grades? How do you keep them fresh so kids don't get bored? I welcome ANY and ALL ideas!!!


  1. I haven't been able to do "centers" persay because of how our math program works (we use everyday math). Last year I did a math workshop and had three stations: teacher, seatwork (for the book work and review that accompanied the lessons) and games since there are a million that go with the curriculum. The kids really liked the rotation style because I think it kept them from getting bored (although they did always complain when they had to leave the games group -- they really liked that one!).

    I like the idea of having multiple spots instead of just "games" though. I am going to be working on a grant for some netbooks for my class to use with our new reading program and I can see how it would be super easy to integrate a computer station with my math program also.

  2. I am so excited that you are talking about this! Last year was my first year in 3rd grade after seven years in K and 1st and I was an ELA only teacher. This year I am teaching an all subjects inclusion class of third graders so I am looking for any and all great math tips to help my kiddos!

  3. I do a daily math group rotation. I have four stations: me, seatwork (usually independent practice from previous day's lesson or Mountain Math or both), computer, and one station that is either games or fact practice. For the multiplication fact practice I use egg cartons with numbers 1-12 written in them. The kids put 2 beans inside, shake them up, and multiply whatever numbers they land on.

  4. I think it is a great idea! I would love to see how you implement this and some examples of the rotations you will use!

  5. I love the way you're doing your centers!! What is the website you found for the timed tests?

  6. Sorry I'm a little behind on commenting {trying to get everything ready for the new year!} I'm going to start out doing my centers this way - I may change it up depending on how it goes. The website I found that has timed tests {as well as self correction worksheets} is
    Multiplcation Online Timed Tests

  7. I LOVE IT! I've been planning on doing the same thing in my room. Last year we focused out PLC on basic math skills, which helped. Now I need to organize my math workshop with that practice in place. I also use Everyday Math and have found when I have flex groups, my students can work on centers. I was actually planning on having the same centers, too!!

  8. Check out this site I used last year it is really cool. You plug in your students and the kids can either do the drills at the lab, at home, or during seat work time. My students really like it and I loved the lack of grading. I really did see a great improvement in their fact memorization.
    This is the post link that I did a little while back -
    Thoughts of a Third Grade Teacher

  9. Do you have a word document of how you do your math stations? This is something that we are moving to this year and I am trying to get things ironed out for what I need to do.

  10. I have some free games on my blog that you may find useful for your fluency stations. :)


  11. I have a handful of stations that I just posted today on my new blog! :) In case you're looking to change something up, probably for your skills stations.

    Buzzing with Ms. B

  12. Sandy Schettig10/25/2012

    I'm doing something similiar this year. My stations so far are:
    Spotlight game of the week: I choose a game based on student weaknessess/gaps that I see in their learning. Right now I'm finding that I need to focus on number sense like making ten and adding and subtracting with ten.

    Retro Rewind: I put the former spotlight games here. Students can choose any game that want.

    Fast Facts: I have several drills and a recording sheet. Students choose a drill and time themselves completing the whole thing. They record their time on the recording sheet and must do it two more times to try to beat their time. After they have done the drill 3 times, then they are free to choose various games to help them practice their facts.

    Riddle me this: I haven't quite perfected this one yet. My goal is for students to become better problem solvers and logicial thinkers. I started out with the pattern block puzzles. Students use the pattern blocks to make a picture within a given shape. I'm slowly trying to work in other things to help them build thinking skills such as tricky triangle and sudoku. Eventually I want to post problems there that they can work on cooperatively.

    That's all I have so far. I'm always looking for more ideas to make it better.