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Literacy Stations

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

Literacy Stations Set-Up

Literacy Stations

Today is Day #2 in my Literacy Station blog series. If you missed the introduction from Day #1, click here

Today I’ll be going over how to pick stations and how to set-up stations in the classroom.

Choosing Stations:
One of the first things you’ll want to do is to actually pick the stations you want to use in your classroom.  I like to have no more than 3 kids (2 is ideal) at each station. So, if you have 20 kids, you might need to have about 10 stations. You also want to figure that some of the students will be working with you so you probably won’t have 20 kids actually at stations at the same time.  I’ll go into how to manage this all in my next blog post on Thursday.

Here is a list of stations that could be used in your classroom: (if there is an asterisk by the station, I will be going over that station in more detail later in my blog series)

  • Reading Station*
  • Spelling Station*
  • Boggle Station
  • Around the Room Station
  • Vocabulary Station*
  • Writing Station*
  • Making Words Station
  • ABC Station
  • Handwriting Station
  • Reading Response Station*
  • iPad/Tech Station*
  • Listening Station
  • Informational Text Station
When choosing stations keep in mind your grade level and your students’ ability levels.  I used Handwriting Station when I taught first grade, but wouldn’t use it in 2nd grade.
Classroom Set-Up:
Classroom set-up depends a lot on the space and furniture you have in your classroom.  At one school, I had a large classroom and tons of tables. So, I had set spots for stations at specific tables. So, students knew if they were going to the ABC station that they were going to be at the table by the door. Then, on that table,  I’d have the I Can List or task cards along with any other materials they would need at that station.
Currently I don’t have that much table space, so my stations are flexible and can be done at their desk or somewhere around the room.  I have task cards set up in one spot and students grab them and then go to wherever they decide to work. If a station has materials, I store those materials in a large storage container (typically 16 qt size) and then students take the task cards and container to the area where they have decided to work.  Writing Station is a little tricky because I do have a lot of materials. I have a shelf in my classroom with more storage containers where students can find the materials for that station. I’ll show a picture of that when I go over my Writing Station in a later post.

So there is a quick overview of station options and class set-up ideas.  On Thursday, I’ll be sharing classroom management tips for stations with you.  I will go over how to pick partners, timing of stations, using a management chart, and how to gradually release the responsibility during stations.
    

New Blog Series – All About Literacy Stations – Introduction

Literacy Stations

I have been using Literacy Stations in my classroom since I started teaching 11 years ago. I’ve used them in first-third grades and have found them beneficial for all students.  I decided to start a little blog series during the month of January that will cover all things Literacy Stations.

So to start off – I decided to answer a few questions about Literacy Stations to  introduce us to the topic…

What are Literacy Stations?

  • Literacy stations are literacy based activities that students can work on independently.
  • They provide practice and differentiation with reading and writing skills. Some stations can offer review for students while also offering challenge activities for students who are ready.
  • Stations are more student driven and less teacher driven.
  • They do not need to be changed out weekly – stations can run with the same activities all year long making less work for the teacher.
  • Literacy stations when up and running can free the teacher up to pull small groups.
Why do I like using Literacy Stations in my classroom?

 

  • Students are independently working on reading and writing skills which makes it possible for me to pull literacy small groups.
  • Students have choices in the activities that they are working on.
  • There are options that provide built-in differentiation.
  • They are working with a partner or group of 3, which provides practice working with others.
  • Students are rotating stations each day so no one is bored doing the same activity multiple times in a row.
  • Once it’s set-up – it’s up and running. I do not have to change out stations each week. I do add things throughout the year, but since there are multiple choices at each station – kids are more likely to be engaged.
  • No worksheets – I’m not a fan of worksheets and while they are some recording sheets this is not a sit down and do your workbook type of time. Students are practicing reading, creating writing pieces, and playing games.  Much more engaging then doing a few pages in a workbook.

Where did I get most of my ideas and inspiration?

  • I’ve gotten many ideas, especially when I was just starting out, from Debbie Diller.  She has two excellent books about literacy stations.  Literacy Work Stations is geared towards K-2 teachers.  Practice with Purpose is geared towards 3-6 teachers.
  • I also have been through a training at a past school.
  • I’ve also researched ideas online and implemented/created ideas of my own.
 

 

What will this blog series include?

  • This blog series will run through the rest of January.
  • I will also be doing videos on Instagram and/or Facebook.
  • Topics Included:
    • Set-Up
    • Management
    • Ideas for…. reading station, technology station, fluency station, reading response station, vocabulary station, writing station, non-fiction station, and teacher time.
Check back on Tuesday for ideas for how to set-up Literacy Stations in your classroom.

Pick a Prompt – New Lit Station Idea

Literacy Stations, TPT, Writing
So I was trying to think of some ways to update my writing station and I came up with “Pick a Prompt.” In addition to the other writing station tasks (writing a list, comic, story, card, letter), I thought it would be fun to come up with prompts that fit the different points in the school year and that could be changed out to keep it fresh so kids don’t get bored.  This is also great practice for responding to a prompt which is a skill all kids need to know how to do with standardized testing. 
 
My first version is for Back to School. I tried to make the prompt questions fun and interesting and also covered a variety of topics (books, specials, recess (a student favorite)).  These prompts are a great way for you to get to know your kids and your kids to get to know each other. 
 
Here’s what they look like…

 
I’m planning on using this as a task option at the Writing Station during Literacy Stations. These also could be used whole group. You could have all students respond to the same prompt and then share out. You could also give each student a different prompt card, have them respond, and again share out. 
 
I also provided three different writing response pages.  Two of them have pictures (different sizes) and one does not. The one without pictures could be used for students who don’t like to draw, if you want them to focus only on the writing, and it could also be used as an additional page if they need more than one pages when responding.
 

 
Check these out in my TPT Store – Pick a Prompt – Back to School
 
 
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New Book Study

Book Clubs, Books, Literacy Stations
I’m so excited to have my next book study up on TPT.  This book was one of my favorites from this year. I teach 2nd grade and this AR level is 4.8 so it is high, but many of my students were ready for the challenge. I picked this book specifically for one student who really loved reading historical fiction and non-fiction.  He enjoyed this series and I thought this would be a great book to create a book study on. 

Product Details

My next book study, now up on TPT is for I Survived – The Great Chicago Fire, 1871.  In this book study, you’ll find questions for each of the 15 chapters along with an answer key.  Some questions are more direct while others offer room for students to dig a little deeper – make predictions, infer, etc.  Check it out on TPT here.

 

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Book Study – Flat Stanley – Framed in France

Book Clubs, Literacy Stations
I finally have a new product up in my TPT Store.  I love these book studies and my students have been enjoying them too. My newest book study goes along with the book, Flat Stanley – Framed in France.  I use these during my literacy station time.  Certain groups are working on comprehension and vocabulary and these book studies fit in perfectly.  They work on reading with their partner or groups, answer the questions, and then we discuss as a small group like a book club.  They look forward to working on these every day!
 
Included in this packet:
-Title Page
-Vocabulary and comprehension questions for each chapter
-Answer Key
 
Check it out in my TPT Store here
 
Book Study for Flat Stanley - Framed In France

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What If Story Prompts….

Literacy Stations, TPT, Writing
One of my favorite writing activities that I always do at the end of the year are my What If Story Prompts. By this point in the year we’ve covered the writing standards and the kids need a little fun and creativity.  So, instead of having them on boring index cards like normal, I finally typed them up and added some spiffy backgrounds.

To see how I’ve used these in the past, click here.

See product examples below…

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-If-Story-Prompt-Cards-1248269

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-If-Story-Prompt-Cards-1248269

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-If-Story-Prompt-Cards-1248269
 
 
 Be sure to check it out in my TPT store, here.
 
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great rest of your weekend!
 
 
 

 http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/What-If-Story-Prompt-Cards-1248269

Poetry Binder

Literacy Stations, Poetry

One of my literacy stations this year is going to be a Poetry Station. I’m still working on my “I Can” cards that will go with each station, but I wanted to give a sneak peek to one of the ideas.  I want my students to have a chance to interact with a variety of poems.  I will be using poetry books at this station, but also wanted them to have a chance to read poems at their level.  This is where the Scholastic – Pick a Poem Book for Grades K-2 comes into play!

 
I love that the poems in this book are age-appropriate and also reading level appropriate, but I didn’t like how the poems were set up. There were so many poems on a page and it wasn’t as reader friendly for my kiddos as I wanted it to be.  So…I typed up my favorites, put them in a cute font, and added some clipart to spice them up a bit for my Poetry Station.
 

 
And, then, because I couldn’t just put them in any ordinary plain binder – I decorated my Poetry Binder and put the poems in. Now, I can add poems as we go, change them out, and they’re easily accessible for my kiddos to use during the Poetry Station.
 
 
Hope everyone had a great weekend! Thanks for stopping by my blog!



New Literacy Station Signs

Literacy Stations, TPT

I’m so excited! I’ve finally finished my new Literacy Station Signs. This project has taken awhile because I changed my mind about 85 times on how I wanted them to look. Well I finally stuck with one of my 85 ideas and I love how they turned out.  These signs will be used as my management board for who is at what station. I’m also going to make a second copy of the signs to post around the room for where each station is located. Thank you to My Cute Graphics for the awesome graphics. 

These signs can be purchased in my TPT Store here

Here are a few close-ups of the signs.  (I backed each sign with cute scrapbook paper to add more color):

 
Here is what the finally management board looks like. The clothespins will have each students name on it so they know which station to go to.  I used ribbon to attach each sign together.  Originally I was going to use book rings, but I couldn’t find enough of the smaller size so I decided to try out ribbons. If you use book rings, it would be pretty easy to change out the stations or change the order as the year goes.
 
 
To check out the signs in my TPT store, click here.
 
 
Happy Friday everyone!
 

ABC Station Task Cards

Literacy Stations, Task Cards

ABC Station is one of the first stations I introduce.  This station has a lot of simple alphabet activities, which might be a little simple for first grade, but it’s a great way to train kids on stations since the tasks are a little easier. Since this station isn’t the meatiest, I only use it through November ish.

For the letter flipbook, kids can chose four letters or the teacher can choose four letters for the week. Under the flap, the kids need to draw a picture and write a word that begins with the certain letter.
I have some high frequency and short vowel, consonant blend, and consonant digraph flashcards for the kids to practice together.