I've often had a variety of fast finisher activities that my students could choose to do after they complete their independent practice, but there was no real structure to it and some kids would pick the same activity day after day.
When I took over my current class in January, I was determined to implement work stations. I began by teaching some of the basic activities that would be in work stations every rotation.
Math Journals: I purchased this fabulous product from Tara West:
I print off the journal prompts that are aligned with standards that we've already covered extensively. I put all of the pages into sheet protectors and students use whiteboard markers to complete each sheet.
I blogged about FACEing math a while back. You can read up on that HERE. I think it's one of my kiddos favorite work stations. I made 3 copies of each lesson and put them in sheet protectors. Then I put all the lessons into a binder.
I use timers from the Dollar Tree and SuperSpeed Math from Whole Brain Teaching for my kids to practice their facts. I also have flashcards they can use. In the next few weeks I'll introduce Math Power Towers from Teacher Tipster.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Once my kiddos had these 3 stations down, I introduced how our work stations would run on a regular basis.
I have 8 rotations that we get through in about 2 weeks. I split my kids up into groups of 2-3 and they stay in this group for the entire rotation.
In addition to the 3 work stations that I talked about before, I have a teacher work station where I review specific skills that each group needs, and 4 math bags.
Now I know this isn't the cutest organization, but it's working for me right now. Since we started this so late in the year and I don't know what grade I'll be in next year, I went with function over style. This summer I'll get something cuter I promise!
Anyway, I use these 4 bags for review activities. During each rotation, I try to include an activity that reviews place value, measurement/geometry, money, and 2 digit addition/subtraction, because those are the areas my kiddos need to strengthen and keep practicing.
Well this post is long enough. I'll blog another day about how I actually run my work stations and manage student work. Thanks for reading through it. I'd love to hear how you set up work stations/centers in your room.