Friday, March 13, 2015


Are you starting to incorporate differentiation into your teaching? With a little prompt from my district, I am starting to teach my math block completely differentiated! :) I searched online: blogs, TpT, pinterest, research, etc. for ideas on what framework I should use. I saw a lot about stations, centers, Daily 3 Math, and more. What intrigued me the most and what I ultimately decided on using was the BUILD framework. 

BUILD is an acronym standing for Buddy Games, Using Manipulatives, Independent, Learning about Numbers, and Doing Math. These acronyms leave a lot of room for interpretation - which is great! I’m writing today to give ideas and share how I use this framework!

Math Block BUILD structure:1 hour & 20 minutes

 1.     Whole group math movement - 5 minutes
During this time I use youtube clips and/or simple exercises to practice counting, skip counting, subitizing, number sense, etc. This is a great way to get the wiggles out and transition into math without directions.2.   BUILD Math Rotations: around15 minutes each station

 My students rotate through ALL stations with strategy groups. I always start with my intervention group needing the most support so they can be successful at the other stations. I finish with my high fliers, which some days leaves them with less attention, but in their differentiated stations they are receiving more enrichment.

Buddy Games-       At this spot students work with a partner or group of 3 to play games focusing on skills. Many games incorporate number sense, counting, addition and subtraction.


Using Manipulatives-       I actually call this one “using my hands” with students. This helps them to know that at this station there will always be something for them to TOUCH (pattern blocks, ten sticks and ones, pattern links, addition counters, geoboards, play-doh activities, etc.)

Independent-       Students go here after small group instruction. This is where they practice curriculum materials after our daily lesson. I teach Math Expressions, and this is where they work in their workbook independently. “I” could also stand for iPads if you have that technology in your classroom!

 Learning About Numbers-       This station is perfect in a primary classroom especially. Students begin working on understanding numbers 1-10, then teen numbers, then 100 chart numbers, and addition and subtraction. We spend a lot of time at this station playing 100 chart games and number ID/number writing activities. (L could also be your teacher table for LEARNING)

 Doing Math-       This is where I do my small group instruction. I teach all students the SAME curriculum lesson and modify it to meet the needs of my learners. My intervention group may be using manipulative counters to solve 1+2 and my enrichment group may touch on simple addition and then dive into 9+7 or adding 2 digit numbers using 10 sticks and ones.
(D could also be the independent part too! use the acronyms to best fit YOUR classroom!)

Tips to Remember:

1.     Groups must always remain flexible!
2.   Keep a planning page separate for BUILD to help stay organized
3.    Start finding resources and filing them by the BUILD letter and math skill.
4.   Ask for help! If you have a district math coach, have them into your room when establishing routines!
5.    Find a teammate! Ask them to find B,U stations and you can find I, L stations!
6.    Establish independent stations before trying to teach small groups. We do this in Daily 5/Guided Reading, we have to do it in math too!
7.   Any differentiation is helping your student! Start small and “BUILD” your way up. J

 I have created a REUSABLE math pack with games, manipulative work, and number sense that perfectly aligns with BUILD! I hope you find it useful during your math block too!



  1. Yeah I am thinking to incorporate differentiation into my teaching methods. Actually I just joined a Phoenix kindergarten and want to use fun activities to teaching. Your article is very helpful dear. Keep posting such great stuff!

  2. I love using the BUILD format for math stations in my classroom, too! :)
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