Math Stations...Oh My What Have I DONE???

I'm skerd...that's scared. FYI.  {I can't seem to say FYI anymore without sounding like the honey-badger dude, can you?}

I just purchased this from Clutter-Free Classroom.  I'm sure you know of's responsible for thousands of teachers getting organized {finally}.  I'm kinda involved...I'm trying.  Really.


I had THE WORST day ever during literacy stations.  Just when I think I've got it, I don't.  The organization of it all is KILLING me.  Really.

I swear this has something to do with my MATH purchase...keep readin'

Here's my dilemma.  I really want to know that my students are getting 100% out of stations.  I'm a 4th grade teacher, after all.  They  need to be accountable.  I've used ideas from several teacher friends, from bloggers and dear old Google.  I have my students write a reflection about the station that they went to each day.  So, on Monday, we organize our notebooks like this:

Page 1: Skill
Page 2: Vocabulary
Page 3: Word Work
Page 4: Poetry or Writing
Page 5: Partner Read
Page 6: Read to Self- This is the most important because I have them make connections to what they are reading with thinking stems that I have provided.  They have to highlight at least 3 stems.  (text-to-text, text-to-self connections).

So, at the end of our "stations" time, the students return to their seats to write their reflections. Seems like a fool-proof plan, right?

I go today to grade {accountability, remember?} one group's notebooks and two of my highest leveled students {the ones I thought would have it completed perfectly} had hardly completed anything?  What?

I. lost. it.


Please, someone out there...tell me how to make it work!!!

I still can't seem to find my balance. 

Any who...I digress.

I had bought this {see WAY above} to start stations in math.  I thought they would be so great.  I was so excited.  Then, today happened.

Do I tackle this yet or put it on the side-burner?  Do I re-group literacy stations and find my balance there first, or dive into math.  Maybe I can get math to work first {'cause, folks, it's really easier to teach}, then I can find what works organizationally and apply that to literacy stations.

Please give me suggestions.  Books to read, blogs to check out....anything. 


  1. I feel your pain ... it's probably why I've been so scared of starting stations. With the crew I've got this year, I couldn't even do a good job of getting through guided reading groups. It's so frustrating - I've never had a crew like this before. I guess if I were you I'd go back to modelling what their notebooks SHOULD look like for a bit. Hopefully they'll start to miss their stations, and may start doing what they know they're supposed to be doing.

    Runde's Room

  2. I'm glad I'm not alone!!!! I think it's all about repetition and training them, (like dogs...?!?) and then practice practice practice then review review review. Easier said than done- I know. Hang in there and know you're not alone! :-)

  3. Hey Liz~ This is the first time I've ever actually commented on a blog...yay for me for jumping in, which goes along with my comment to you!! Glad to see you jumping in and trying new stuff with stations! :) I find that one harsh, true grade, keeps them on task the following week. They have to see that you mean business with your stations. Hang in there. Btw...check out the confer app. Found it this week and can't wait to get back to work to try it out in "real life!" :)

  4. I have tried every year to implement regular stations in math and reading. The sad thing, it sounds like you have it more together than me!

    Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher

  5. I feel your pain! I just don't have time to check their work that is involved in centers. I try to keep my centers paper-free. Computer projects and games, lessons on the Promethean board, listening centers, partner reading, math games, etc., but some centers just have to be paper (i.e. writing). I know I slack horribly in the area of checking their work, and my students realize this.

    Teaching...My Calling

  6. Thanks for all of the encouraging comments. It really helped brighten my mood. Kinda like "Hey Girl".


  7. You have inspired me to modify my math groups a little bit!! I love your ideas!

  8. I have also gotten CFC's math stations to start this year and I am super excited.