Literacy Stations – Classroom Management Tips

Literacy Stations

Today I’m going to share some classroom management tips for Literacy Stations.

Choosing Partners:
Students can be paired in a variety of ways. As I mentioned in a past post. I recommend partners and if you need to do groups – I would not do groups larger than 3.

You can pair groups high and low together, but I recommend pairing students with similar abilities. It makes it easier to pull the partnership as a group (when you’re pulling them to work with you) so that one student isn’t working by themselves at the station.

Behavior is a big thing to keep in mind when picking partners. Students need to work well together so that you are able to pull small groups.  You won’t be able to pull groups if you have students paired up who don’t get along or get into trouble together.

Stations Schedule:
Scheduling stations can be tricky. I know most of us have set times for how long a reading/writing block needs to be.  I currently do Literacy Stations in my classroom three times a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) for 20-30 minutes.

Since stations are only 20 minutes (typically once we get going and everyone gets started), students only go to one station. In a past classroom, I did stations for a little over 30 minutes so students did complete two different stations during that time.

Students rotate stations each day. This helps with engagement. You do not want to have students at the same station every day or they will get bored and then behavior issues can start.

Management Charts:
I have used a variety of management charts over the years. The management chart is important because it helps me keep track of stations and it makes it possible for students to independently figure out what station they need to go to.  I physically rotate the kids names and the chart helps me so I know what station they were at the previous time.

When I taught first grade, I used station cards with pictures. I highly recommend visual pictures along with the words with kinder and first grade to help them understand and find their station.

I know this picture is a little blurry, but you can see I had 9 stations running in this classroom. Students names were written on index cards and moved up and down each time we did stations.  The pictures on the cards coordinated with the pictures on the sign at the station location. This made it easy for kids to identify where they needed to be.
This management chart is actually in my TPT Store. It is called Literacy Station Signs.  I cut the cards out, attached them to cardstock, and laminated them. Then I hooked them together using ribbons. Each student had a clothespin with their name on it. I would attach the clothespin to the station they were assigned to. Again, I could just move them down each day to send them to the next station.
This is my current management chart.  I teach second grade now so I do not necessarily need visual pictures.  It is simple, but that makes it easy to use. On each blue card, I have the station name.  I write the partnerships on the index cards with magnets.  Then, each day I move them down to their next station. The students at the bottom not at a station are pulled by either myself or the Learning Support Teacher for small group time.
Releasing Responsibility:
My biggest recommendation is to introduce stations slowly. I have seen teachers introduce all 6-9 stations in one day and then chaos ensues. Often then teachers throw up their hands and give up.  Gradually releasing the responsibility is something Debbie Diller discusses a lot in her book about literacy stations.
I take about 3-4 weeks to get all of my stations fully up and running. I know this seems like a long time, but if you do it right it will work.  Things will run smoothly and you’ll be able to pull small groups while you’re students are being self-sufficient at their station.
I introduce the stations one at a time whole group. I always start with reading station (more info on this on Sunday) because it’s the easiest.  I then allow partnerships a few minutes to practice.  Then, the next day I introduce a second station.
Another huge suggestion is to model.  Model, model, model. The more you model what you expect of kids at a particular station, the better off you will be. In addition to modeling myself, I also will have students model the expectations.

Thanks for reading all about how I manage Literacy Stations in my classroom.  Check back Sunday to see what I include in my Reading Station.

Check out past Literacy Station blog posts:
Introduction
Set-Up

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