I wanted to share with you my introduction round to Math Stations. I changed it up quite a bit this year.  I used to just put in math tools and have the kids “play” with them to get acquainted with the Math Stations procedures.  See my old way here…  While this worked well and got them used to how to work with a partner, how to clean up, etc, it wasn’t as meaty as I wanted it to be.
This year, since our school is heavily into CGI (Cognitively Guided Instruction), I decided to start out my Math Stations bins using Counting Collections.  Counting Collections are collections of just about anything.  You can use keys, popsicle sticks, stickers, cubes, markers, stamps, etc. Any item that you have a lot of in the classroom. Then, once you pick your item, you put a certain amount in a bin and let the kids count.  The goal is that the kids are counting accurately and finding quick ways to count (grouping strategies (counting by 5s, 10s, 20s)).  This also provides you a chance to see how skilled they are at grouping and provides a great formative assessment.
To differentiate, I put different numbers in the different bins.  Some bins have larger numbers, some smaller. I wanted to provide a variety so I could see how kids count depending on how large the number appears.
I made a cheat sheet for myself so when kids are finished I can quickly tell them if they can record their results or if they need to try counting again a different way.
I got this awesome Counting Collections recording sheet from The Lettered Classroom.

Here are some pictures of the kiddos in action….

I love how this group used a white board to help them with their documenting as they went. They grouped by colors, counted the colors, and then added it up on the white board before transferring their results to the recording sheet.

This group decided to group the little pom pom balls into groups of 5.

An additional activity I threw in for students to work on if they finished their Counting Collection station early is writing numbers from 1-1,000.  I have found kiddos are super good with 1-100 and 1-200, but as the numbers get bigger some of them get a little mixed up so I wanted to provide a chance for them to practice.  When they are finished, we’ll turn them into a special book that they can design a cover for.
Thank you for stopping by to check out my Counting Collections Math Stations! Do you use Counting Collections in your classroom?