BUILDing the Math Workshop with BUILD Math Stations

First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations
So sorry to everyone who has e-mailed and asked about BUILD Math Stations! I have had such a busy and exciting first 6 weeks of school! Here is an entire post dedicated to everything I know about BUILD Math Stations. Please feel free to leave me a message asking any questions. Thanks for your interest!
BUILD is not a curriculum, it is a management piece for Math Stations. Each letter stands for something different and you choose activities/assignments for students to complete. The BEST thing about BUILD is that you can tweak it to fit your teaching and your classroom.

Buddy Games
This is where I put games that my kiddos have practice practice practiced multiple times. They know the expectations: whisper voice, play the right way, play the whole time. My school uses Investigations as our math curriculum, so this goes perfectly b/c the basis of the curriculum is them playing games to master math skills.
Using Manipulatives
This is where I put manipulatives for exploration. For the first few weeks of school I have had pattern blocks and workmats. You could also put play money, Judy Clocks, unifix cubes.

Independent Reading/Work
The title on this one pretty much explains it. My kiddos read math books during this time- and amazingly they really like it. Seemingly way more than Read to Self during Literacy stations. This is where you could also have them working on something pencil and paper if you need them to.

Learning About Numbers
For this one I have hundreds chart games, matching, number scrolls, student made books about numbers.
Doing Math
This is where I put a game when we first learn it. After they have played it on their own a good amount of times and I have made sure that the majority of the class knows how to play- then I move it to Buddy Games.

Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT an expert on how you should run your math centers. I can simply tell you what I’ve done and what works for me! :) Like I said earlier, the best thing about BUILD is that it is easily modified for your classroom.
My students go to 2 BUILD rotations a day.
So, in a five day week, they go to each bucket twice. I use a spreadsheet and the students check in with me before we do each rotation to tell me what they want to do. Sometime I have to override it, but they don’t seem to mind too much.I usually see a small group during each rotation. Normally it is the same small group(s) each day, so that means that most weeks, certain kiddos only do each letter once in a week. That doesn’t bother me because they are with me for roughly an hour and 15 minutes a week in a small math group getting individualized attention.Example time frame on a typical day in my classroom:

12:30-12:45 Calendar
12:45-1:00 Whole Group Lesson (usually from Investigations)
1:00-1:15 BUILD Rotation #1 (I pull 3-4 students who need reinforcement on a common topic)
1:15-1:25 Whole Group Meeting (discuss procedures, talk about a strategy, share out, etc.)
1:25-1:40 BUILD Rotation #2 (I pull 3-4 students who need reinforcement on a common topic)
1:40-2:00 Whole Group Lesson (similar to earlier)It’s important for kiddos to get up and DO something. They can’t handle whole group instruction for that long. I choose not to do my entire Investigations lesson all in one stretch. (Also, if you use Investigations: for Math Workshop my students do BUILD). I don’t know any 6 year old who can sit and listen to me talk for an hour… and I wouldn’t want to sit and talk for an hour for that matter! :)

First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations
First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations
First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations
 I do not own nor claim to own the BUILD concept. I did not create BUILD. I am simply producing management tools and ideas to use for ANY kind of guided math.

Check out some resources for math centers in my store.

Here are some of the games from my Math Buddy Games Bundle.

First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations Buddy Games

First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations Buddy Games

First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations Buddy Games

First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations Buddy Games

First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations Buddy Games

First Grade Classroom: BUILD Math Stations Buddy Games


53 thoughts on “BUILDing the Math Workshop with BUILD Math Stations

  1. U may have given me the answer I have been looking for! I have been doing stations (4) a day. I am at one of the stations . we have modeled, practiced, ect. but still not happy with how its running. I am hoping to try BUILD with success!

  2. Found this via Pinterest! Love it! I am a Daily 5 gal and having each part of literacy block mean something to them has changed their concentration tremendously! We have a routine est this year already, but i could def see making some changes to incorporate BUILD. AWEsome!
    Going Nutty!

  3. Wow…I love this. I want to implement this in January since we only have 5 more days to go before break. What kind of games or where did you get games to put in each tub?

  4. I am doing Daily 5 literacy stations and would really love to start BUILD during my math block! Can't wait! Thank you for all the details! =)

  5. I love your post! It looks fantastic. How long do you do this for and how often do you rotate your materials? Also, do you only allow a certain number of students with each basket? And, how many items do you put in a basket at a time for the kids to choose from?

  6. Great idea! Where did you get your baskets? I've been looking all over for some just like those!

  7. I love this too!! Thanks for posting and being so detailed!! My math stations are a joke this year… being a first year teacher made everything so much more chaotic. I really like the way you have this set up!!

    Marvelous Multiagers!

  8. I also use Investigations and am wondering how you fit this in? Is it a separate part of the day than your hour long Investigations lesson? I love this idea to help get in extra practice just wondering about the logistics. Thanks!

  9. Not sure where she got them but check Target. I got some like that there at the beginning of the year.

  10. How do you introduce the concept of BUILD to your students? Do you tell your students, "Today we will begin five centers and this will be called 'Build'?" In other words, how do you interest your students in liking this concept? I think this is a great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  11. I would also be interested in knowing how you introduce this concept to your students. I am a new teacher (starting NEXT year!!) and LOVE LOVE LOVE this concept… And (per previous comments) barring any copyright issues, I'd LOVE LOVE LOVE to implement this in my classroom! =)

    Thank you so much for sharing this, and for all the detail and work you put into it. I just recently found you via Pinterest, and am having SO much fun exploring your site! =)


  12. Love the idea of BUILD. Saw it on Pinterest. Where do the students go to complete the BUILD activities? Do you time the rotations by how long your group needs?

  13. I do the Daily Five in Kindergarten and have found that I needed to do some adjusting. What sort of changes has anyone/would anyone make in a kindergarten classroom. This idea makes me excited about math again!

  14. Are you able to use this for first grade as well? I am a first year first grade teacher and I am trying to find ideas/sites/ etc for differentiated workshop ideas. Any help would be great ladies! Thank you

  15. Can BUILD be used in the intermediate grades or does it only work in the primary grades? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this because I use Daily 5 and this year, we are beginning guided math and BUILD seems like something that may be useful in a guided math program. Looking forward to hearing from you!

  16. I have a question about how the games are organized in the baskets. Do you have them in Ziplocs so the kids can just grab a bag and go? Or do they know which materials they need for each game and get them independently?

  17. I love this… I can't wait to try it for this coming school year. I have been wanting to start the daily 5 as well, however, I think it would be nice to use BUILD for both as they will then be familiar with what each letter is… Thank you so much for posting all this information!

  18. If everyone is in centers for math when do you actually teach the whole class the math lesson for the day?

  19. You said you did some training on BUILD. Was this just given at your school? My second grade team and I want to try and implement this into our math intervention time. We currently do Daily 5 and our kiddos are awesome at it. Where do you get all of your things for each center? We also use investigations.

  20. Thanks for sharing – looks great! Just wondering what you actually have IN the baskets? I have heaps of activities for math centres, but lots of them don't really fit in the baskets (like what you have on the shelf below your baskets). How does this work for you?

  21. Thanks for sharing! I have been wondering what BUILD was and this was thorough and easy to understand :) I will definitely be using this in my class!

  22. Would this approach be appropriate for students in the special education setting? I have my general education teaching credentials. However, I'm completing my special education credentials. I am using Math-u-See and am wondering if the BUILD might be a way to create more interest and interaction during math time.

  23. hello… Awesum Ideas!!! I m starting My Maths workshop for kids between 6-10 yrs age group. Hope the BUILD technique helps.. First time.. hence a little nervous

  24. How do you fit this in with investigations? Do you still teach the whole group lesson and then send students to these centers and then come back together for the discussion? I use investigations too and was wondering how you fit it all in? What is your time length for this block? Thanks so much!!

  25. How long did you spend at the beginning of the year building their math stamina? Also, can you provide some examples of how you did this since each letter of "build" was not introduced fully.

  26. Our consumable (aka math workbooks) prices were so high this year. I love the idea of practicing with more authentic math rather than workbook pages. This looks like a great way to start breaking away from the workbook. We already do Daily 5 in reading so I think we could adopt this pretty easily. Thank you for the time you took to share!
    Kat from

  27. What a great idea. I am really curious to learn more about the maths investigations that you mention in your post, can you share with us? Xx

  28. Hello Cassie. I am curious to know how you use self-assessment in your BUILD stations? We are using math stations presently and are trying to incorporate more student self-assessments into them. Thank you so much! Looks like you are a wonderful teacher!!

  29. Cassie,
    My team and I have just begun to use BUILD for our math centers in kindergarten. Thanks for sharing all of your great ideas. I wondered if you at times felt like there was a lot of production work and then the students worked through the games very quickly? I love that with BUILD the students are not bogged down with worksheets, but I am a little overwhelmed by how much time it does take to organize each center each month. They are engaged in the centers and look forward to the new games we add each month. I wonder if this year will just be a ton of work and then next year will be a little less work! Thanks for sharing all of your ideas.

  30. So I am still not clear what the difference between doing math rotation and the other rotations are? I am not sure what to put in this one? Also, are you available during the rotation times or working with students?

  31. Hi Joan! Here are some I’ve use before: The Greedy Triangle by Marilyn Burns, Spaghetti and Meatballs for All by Marilyn Burns, More or Less (Mathstart) by Stuart J. Murphy, 12 Ways to Get 11 by Eve Merriam, Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews, Monster Musical Chairs (Mathstart) by Stuart J. Murphy, and If You Were a Minus Sign by Trisha Speed Shaskan. Hope that helps! :)

  32. Cassie,
    I am working for a school that is going to start a new campus next year and I have used BUILD for many years but my principal wants to know if their is any professional development for BUILD. Or if you can tell me how you came across using it in your classroom.

  33. Hey Tina! I’m so sorry for the delayed response. I actually worked in a district a few years ago that implemented BUILD for math stations. There isn’t really a lot to it that would require a training. BUILD is just the set up of materials and rotations/supplies. You could use any curriculum or content that you wanted to. It is pretty simple! I hope that helps. :)

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