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I am a first grade teacher who has rediscovered a love for firsties this year. I have taught pre-k, kindergarten, first grade and even second over the past 16 years. I have been married for 17 years to my wonderful husband and have been blessed with 2 very active boys.

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Teacher Talk Tuesday: Math Centers Part 1

Math Centers and I love a love/hate relationship! 
 I LOVE the idea of math centers. 
I love the cooperative learning that takes place in math centers.
  I love what I learn about my students during math centers and small groups. 
 But I have to honestly say that sometime I feel that math centers do not love ME!
I have started and stopped math centers several times over the years! 
 Are YOU with ME? 
 I have stalked perused many blogs by AMAZING educators...
and they make it look so easy! 
So what are my issues with math centers?
1. Time allotted for whole group lessons
2.  Trying to meet with each group each day
3. Having students work independently during stations
And yes, I have solutions.
1. Teach a small mini lesson
2.  Stick to the schedule (just like reading groups)
3. Model, model, model and then practice, practice, practice
The overall arching factor for successful math centers has been CONSISTENCY!
Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing my go to blogs,
activities and schedule for successful math centers.
What do you want to know more about?
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Mrs. Wathen
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  1. I too have a love hate relationship with centers. I love them in theory and adore making them for my class to use. I was wondering if you have a set math program that you have to use or if you have the freedom to just simply teach the common core standards in whatever fashion you see fit? In my school we are tied to a specific math program (Everyday Math) and we don't have enough time to squeeze in all that we have to fit in. I think that guided math and the use of math centers would work so much better if teachers were not tied to a specific program where they had to be completing specific math journal pages and math boxes for each skill. Teachers know best how to teach their kids and I really wish we were allowed to do what we know is right for our students.

  2. I've always wondered how to manage the noise. I realize that talking will go on when kids are in groups, but how to keep them talking quietly so others can work has always been a dilemma for me.

    1. I've been using "Center Cups"....each group has a set of cups (one red, one yellow, and one green). Each group starts on the green cup and if they get too loud they are told to go to the yellow cup as a reminder to quiet down. If their cup gets moved to red they have to return to their seat for a time out. My kids rotate centers so I pick a "Cup Keeper" who gets to carry the cups from center to center with them. I try to reward the groups who keep their cup on green the entire time by moving them up the clip chart or giving them a ticket for our reward system.

  3. Ya got me on the 'consistency'! :/ I struggle in that area with regard to math centers because I teach with a basal. :( I would love to know more about how you manage getting the elements from the basal taught and balancing the center rotation time. I'm thinking it might have something to do with preparation beforehand...but...I'm going to wait to see what you write about! ;) Thanks for a great series of posts! :)

  4. I love having stations. It is the perfect way to spiral in concepts previously taught. But how do you keep the kids accountable? How do you keep it organized? AND how do you keep them intersted? Because it seems to me that after a week or 2 they are bored! I will surely be following along your journey.


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