Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Literacy Stations Rotations

So I have tried a million different things this year with stations... well not really a million, but you get the idea. I am having a hard time with this group keeping them engaged and working on their own. Any how, I have been thinking for the last few days and just couldn't seem to figure out what I wanted to do. Went to bed last night and woke up with this great idea! Ever have those feelings like you planned everything out while you were sleeping? Weird I know.

My idea behind this was, I didn't want to put myself into a rotation in case something came up that I had to handle and students wouldn't be sitting at my table directing themselves. Plus some of my groups take longer than others and I didn't want to short change a rotation somewhere. Also how do I put the FUN back into school where they are doing more work than I am.

So here is what I came up with....

A computer rotation board so all students would get computer time every day. Of course this is their favorite. I have 5 computers in my room so I put 4 to 5 students in each group. I also chose what students went in what group based on how I met with them.
 For example I have 4 reading groups: this is the order I meet with them- Green, Yellow, Red, Blue (4-5 students in each group)
Group 1= yellow students
Group 2= green students
Group 3 = blue students
Group 4= Red students
I set a timer for 20 minutes and they play, then the next group goes over and set the timer again and so forth.

Hope your still with me. :-)

Now for the other part.
They go back and forth between seatwork and their 1 station for the day. I have some students that like to start with the worksheet or practice book pages that are seatwork and others like to go to their station to work first. Remember... I have 1 group on computer, 1 group with me so only 10 other students are working at seatwork or a station. :-) When I finish with my small reading group they go to seatwork or station until it is their computer rotation time. They know I expect them to finish both seatwork and station work.

How to decide on what station:
When my kiddos come in, they choose a literacy station they want to work at today and put the necklace on that has one of the tags below attached to it. Then they get started with morning work, etc...I have them choose in the morning because when its time for literacy stations we are ready to go and have one less thing to distract us.  I have 4 necklaces for each of my stations. I have 5 stations: Reading, Writing, Word Works, Listening, and Games.

They can only choose a station that they have not gone to yet this week. So they look at their checklist that looks like this.

They color in the square with crayon for the station necklace they choose that day. This checklist and any work they do stays in their station folder and on friday they evaluate themselves and turn it in. Then I evaluate them. 

So far this has allowed them to make choices for themselves, be responsible for work getting done, allowing them to do what they like first and most of all... working quietly. (its never really quiet in my room I like them to be able to talk, but there was a lot of great WISPER voices going on) :-)

Please let me know what you think about this or if I have completely confused you.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Literacy Stations

I am always looking for new ideas to keep my kids engaged and LEARNING at literacy stations. We push them so hard to learn new material and expect them to "just get it." What happened to the FUN in school! I am a visual hands on learner and many of my first graders are too so I try to incorporate that into my stations.

This week I made a fun word match game for Sand Search Station. The word cards and matching picture cards are printed really little. Once the student finds the cards in the sand (rice, popcorn, etc.. whatever you want to put into a tub), they use a magnifying glass to read the words and see the matching picture. They write the word down and draw a picture to match.

Then for Playdough Station I created some spelling word mats where the students use the playdough to make the missing letter. I try to have them make the letter that is most commonly missed when sounding out. 

For Poetry Station, the students read a poem that goes along with our theme for the week or phonics skill and either color the picture or draw their own picture. They also have to choose a task card to complete. This week our task cards look like this...

The students love to use highlighters or colored pens to do their work :-)

Hope this gives you some ideas to put into your literacy stations. 

Friday, March 9, 2012

Spring Break! and the last of Dr. Seuss

Woo Hoo! I am on Spring Break!... Sorry for the bragging, but after the crazy week I had, I am ready for a little relaxation. Ya, right. Like that will really happen. I hope to create some exciting things for my classroom while I am off so check back.

I did it again... forgot to take pictures of all the stuff we did this week. I think I need to attach a camera to me some how. Any recommendations? lol

I have a love/hate for fun short weeks. LOVE how we get to do the fun stuff that I don't have time for in our reading series, but HATE how wound up my kids get when we do get that chance. These are some of the things we got into.

We made Cat in the Hat Magic Dough from http://kinderwife.blogspot.com/
A little messy but they LOVED it!

We also made Thing 1 Thing 2 craft... sorry for the work in progress picture. Check out the final result here http://crazymommy.weblogs.us/tag/dr-seuss-craft/

We did a Dr. Seuss Compound Word hunt. I cant find where I got the cards from, so if they are yours please let me know so I can link you up. I took the compound word pictures, numbered them and then attached them to the board. The students numbered their paper and had to find the match and write the word that was below the picture on their paper. They LOVED this... I stopped them for snack and they asked if they could finish when they were done eating.

For math, we got in a little goldfish sort, tally, graphing from The Teaching Garden 

I try each week to let my kiddos make their own snack... so this week we made Cat in the Hat with oreo, red gummy savers and frosting.
Dr. Seuss treat
This picture is from pinterest

We also made Truffla Trees with braided pretzels, marshmallows, and sugar sprinkles. Yummy!
Don't forget the Seuss Juice from Cara Carroll in The First Grade Parade. We loved writing about our seuss juice and the five senses page she has. Go check it out, she does amazing work!


I love when I hear "Mrs. Steele, your the best teacher! This is the best day EVER!" So Thank you all for the hard work of putting together fun materials that allow me to be the BEST TEACHER EVER!  lol.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Student Blog

How many of you have heard of  kidblog.org? This is a really cool website that allows you to create a class blog where all comments are administrated through the teacher. I love how it gives me a chance to learn more about my students and them to practice writing (typing) complete sentences. Check it out below.

As for Dr. Seuss Day... It was definitely crazy here in TN. It started off with me forgetting everything at home and having to call my wonderful husband to drop things off on the way to work. UGH!!! Then we had picture day, so I planned for a little chaios. But on top of all of this, we closed school 3 hours early due to tornado watch. This ment we had to get 710 students through the lunch line (eating lunches in rooms) and all parents called. Talk about being exhausted. My kiddos really did well, but we didn't get in any of the Dr. Seuss stuff I wanted to . Since next week is a short week- Parent Conferences, Character Parade, and Positive Behavior School Wide Celebration, I am sure my kiddos won't mind doing some fun Dr. Seuss things too! :-)

Hope everyone has a safe and fun weekend!