Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Literacy and Math Stations - to answer your questions! :)

 Since I posted about literacy and math work stations last week, I have had a few people ask questions regarding what my exact set-up looks like.  I shared that I have based my stations around Debbie Diller's model for literacy work stations, and then I tweaked it a bit more to make it work for math. (I recommend her books, Literacy Work Stations and Math Work Stations, highly!)

Of course, when it comes to how I set up my day, I do what every teacher does....try something, tweak it, try something new.  Over and over and over.  I'll probably tweak my literacy stations next year too, but for now, I'm loving it more than any other approach I've taken for lit stations in my 10 years of teaching.  So, who knows?  It might stick around for a while!

This is my lit station board.  Each day, I rotate the letters to match the activity each group will complete.  My activities are located in tubs labeled with the same letters, and the letters are also placed around the classroom, so that each activity has it's own space.  By this point in the year, the students are awesome about knowing exactly where to find everything they need for lit stations.
The highlighted names represent the "team leader" for each group.  This person is in charge of getting the tub, answering whatever questions their team members have during the activity (the team leaders know that if they don't know the answer, they should come ask me for help), and cleaning up the station when all group members are finished.

My groups have remained very fluid this year.  They are set for two weeks at a time, but I think I have changed groups almost every single rotation this year.  It helps to freshen it up for the students, and allows me to arrange personalities and ability levels in ways that I feel will promote the best learning.

I try to have the station activities differentiated whenever I can.  If the students with a red dot on their name see a "red dot page" in a tub, they know to complete that page.  They are just slight variations on the exact same activity.  That way, the students can all work together on the activity, but can also still be challenged in different ways.

Here is an example of a "red dot" page versus a page with no red dot.

There are eight total activities in our literacy station rotation.  We do lit stations for 30 minutes a day, four days a week (Tuesday-Friday).  The students complete one activity each day.  When they finish, they spend some one-on-one time with me while I check their work.  We talk about their work and review any sight words or other literacy skills that were practiced (rhyming, word families, beginning/middle/ending sounds, etc).  I enjoy this time of being able to connect with each student individually.

If they finish early, the remainder of the time is filled with their choice of reading books from our reading corner or playing games from a designated basket of literacy activities.

Math Stations are set up similarly, except the groups are larger because we only do them two days a week.  Instead of eight activities, there are four.  There are six students in each group, instead of three.  Again, math stations fill a 30-minute block, and there is a specific "early finisher" activity for each group.  
I have a para-pro in the room with me during math stations, which makes the larger groups manageable.  I'm not sure it would run as smoothy without that extra support.  

Hopefully this helps give you a better picture of how my literacy and math stations are organized.  I know that I always love hearing about how things are done in other classrooms.  My literacy station block has become one of my favorite parts of my day!

Do you run your stations similarly?


  1. LOVE that red dot technique!! I'm going to have to try that!! Thanks for the inspiration!!

  2. Thanks Jill for this post! I love the RED dot idea. I have never tried that.

    My stations have run similar to yours in the past. Like you, I am always changing it up. This year I have 29 kindergarteners...yes, 29! So I am still learning to cope with that and figure out HOW to do things effectively. Right now what I do is basically split my class in half so 15 of them are working on centers in a way similar to what you have and the other 15 are working on a craft type activity with 2 parent volunteers. This works because let me tell you 29 at centers doesn't work!! BUT they only do literacy centers every other day in this plan....so that I don't like.

    Your post was super helpful - thank you!

    Crayons and Whimsy

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