Tech Tuesday

Finds and Thoughts about Tech Integration

Explanation Station


Looking for a worthwhile station during Guided Math? How about one that is an excellent formative assessment that makes student mathematical thinking visible and helps you determine next steps in small group instruction? And what if this same station worked for any math topic/concept?

Look no further… what you need is an Explanation Station.

What does it entail?

Using the Explain Everything app on the iPad, students record solving a problem or explaining a concept designed by the teacher. Students think out loud during the process; and, therefore, the app captures a much fuller picture about what a student knows. When a student solves a problem on a piece of paper a teacher misses out on so much. Even if a student writes every step, it’s often not clear if the student really understands the concept or methodology employed. Is the student just regurgitating steps without comprehension of them? Moreover, did the student just get lucky with the final answer? By adding the narration layer, a student can demonstrate key vocabulary as well as articulate knowledge of strategies. Plus, at the station, students are encouraged not to strive for perfection and even admit if there’s confusion or a mistake has been made. They are told not to erase, but cross out and explain why they know there is a mistake. It’s important for students to know the purpose of the station is for the teacher to find out what s/he knows, and from there, the teacher will know how to help a student progress and get better in his/her math learning. Whenever I explain the purpose to students I can see a sense of relief in their faces, and they are ready to give the station a try.

Here isĀ  a direction sheet developed for a grade four classroom that I have been supporting. (It can be used with any grade level.) In addition, here are the guiding questions that never change at the station. The only change is the problem or concept that the teacher puts on a small piece of paper or an index card (easily differentiated for students).

Ready to see an example? Please take a moment to check out this student’s recent work created at the station, showing an equivalent fraction for 1/2.

I’d love to help you set up a similar station in your classroom during Guided Math. Just let me know!

by posted under Assessment, Math | 2 Comments »    
2 Comments to

“Explanation Station”

  1. December 19th, 2017 at 9:48 am       Edward A Garcia Says:

    I subscribe to your blog for it’s excellent and exceptional content. The Explanation Station is a perfect example.
    Our class doesn’t have access to Explain Everything App.

    What would be an equivalent alternative just using Websites? My students have access to HP Stream laptops, there are no tablets.

    My 4th grade math team would really like your assistance.

    Eddie Garcia
    Bella Vista Elementary
    Montebello Unified, CA

  2. December 19th, 2017 at 1:27 pm       lsanderson Says:

    Thank you so much, Eddie! I’m glad to be of help… Screencastify or Screencast-o-matic may fit the bill for you. Both are screen capture services that can be used on laptops. If you use them in conjunction with another site that allows for writing or pointing on the screen, you can get a similar effect as Explain Everything. For example, a student could activate one of the screen capture services and then go to and use a tool to draw and narrate outloud while solving a math problem. Or a student could snap a photo with the webcam of his/her “paperwork” and insert it into a Google Doc or Slides show. The student then could turn on the screen capture service and using the screen pointer, narrate and explain his/her thinking. A Google form could be used for students to fill out and submit screen capture creation URLs if videos can not be downloaded. Of course, the links also could be added to a Google Classroom assignment by the student for submission.

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