I had 12 stations. Each station was designed for 2 students. Occasionally I had to have a group of 3, but 2 is the ideal number. I kept the supplies for each station in plastic dishpans I bought at WalMart. You do not have to have 12 different stations! Especially at the beginning of the year, I only had 5 or 6 different activities and just had 2 tubs with the same materials. Some of the tubs stayed the same all year. For example, I had a tub with pattern blocks and design cards that stayed out all year. My kids loved BUMP games so I also had a tub with several choices of game boards. I kept the tubs on the counter in my classroom. You can see them in the background of this picture. (A parent just sent this to me-it's from the first day of school!) Under the tubs are labeled plastic shoe boxes filled with most of my math manipulatives.
Rotation: I used 2 of the little pocket charts from the Target Dollar Spot stapled together. I made a card that matched the label of each tub and a card with each student's name. (Note to self: make extra cards next year; I got 5 new students this year!) Each day I would place 2 students' cards by a station card. I tried to do 2 rotations of about 15 minutes each time, but some days we may have only done one. After I got to know my students, I would pair them so that my higher students could work together some days and my strugglers could work with someone a little stronger. Most of the time all my students did stations at the same time, but occasionally I would put in "Meet with Teacher" cards so that I could work with some small groups. My goal next year is to do this at least 3 days a week.
If you would like a copy of my station cards, click below:
Tomorrow I'll be back to share what kinds of activities I put in the tubs and what I will do differently this year!