Monday, September 12, 2011

Stations Management

I am really sorry... I had a little Monday night movie planned for you. I had gotten quite a few emails asking me questions about my stations, so I decided to make a movie.  Once I got home, I realized I had gotten students' full names in the shot and I could not figure out how to edit them.  Onto Plan B!

 Here it goes!

This may give you a headache... but I promise it is super simple and it takes me 30 seconds... TOPS!

1.  Move 4,10 down one pocket.
2.  Move the rest of the numbers on the right down one pocket.
3.  Move 11, 5 over to the top of the right hand side.
4. Move the rest of the numbers on the left down one pocket.
5.  Bring 4,10 over to the top pocket on the left.

This pocket chart has two sides (math on one, literacy on the other).

Students go to 2 literacy stations and 2 math stations a day.  I just refer to them as, "your blue station, your yellow station."  They stay in each station for 15 minutes. 
15 + 15 = 30 minutes for literacy stations and 15 + 15 = 30 minutes for math stations

Once students start meeting with me, I just slide a "Meet with Teacher" card in front of their scheduled station.  I don't try to have them make up the station... that would be a management nightmare.  I would prefer to spend my energy planning quality small group lessons... That is where the powerful learning comes from.

Do you need station cards?  Click here for some FREE ones.

Are you still with me?

 We use this rubric to judge quality work.

Rocket Letters and Numbers are a FREEBIE that I posted to TpT last spring.  I will be starting these in October.

This reward system adds incentive for my kiddos.  At first they were distraught because their papers were not in their station box... hmmm???  Did they throw it in their desk?  Did they leave at the station?  This has helped them be thoughtful about where they put their papers.

I also require all papers to have their name on it.  If their name is missing, I tell them to add their name and put it back in the stations box and I will look at it next time.  I set the expectation that their names will be on their papers... Their 1st grade teachers will thank you!!!

I use these stampers.  They are easy to use.  I have tried using a stamp pad and stickers.  I am really uncoordinated and it just TAKES TOO LONG!!!!  These make the job SUPER FAST!  It takes me 5 minutes to check everyone's station work, stamp their reward chart and paper, and then hand out rewards.
What else?   Ok... My students are still homogeneously grouped.  I will move them to heterogeneously grouped in the next few weeks.  I try to pair a boy with a girl.  I find it helps with behavior.

Choice:  I will give students a choice within the station, but I do not let them select their station.  I will offer "Open Station" towards the 3rd Qtr.  This will allow them to select a station that is not occupied.

What else?  What else?  Did I forget to answer any questions?  Please let me know if you have any more!  


  1. THis is a great blog!! I love it!! I wanted to tell you that has a great write-up on my fun new interactive site for kids from K-1. I do hope you can use the site in the classroom as they recommend.

    THANKS! Wendy

  2. You are the absolute sweetest! Thank you for letting me know about the jobs! :) Have a super great week! :)
    Crayons and Curls

  3. Awesome! I love Rocket letters....I may def. download and start come Nov. once all letter have been introduced. That will certainly help for practice :) Thanks for sharing!

    About the star work sheet. I do star work per say, but I do it daily by rewarding them with a treat. I would rather do 5 = treasure box visit. However, I'm not sure how you do the paper. Do they turn it in to their folder that is in their station box and then you stamp? you make them pull their little star sheet if they are rewarded with star work?

  4. Hi Erin! Loved your dog photo on your blog BTW!!!

    Ok... Star work to for stations is just as I listed above. I stamp that chart (like in the picture). Once they fill up a row and have 5, they get a Jolly Rancher... Ohhh... Awww!!!

    Rocket Letters/Numbers~They practice their letters/numbers at home. They bring the paper back the next day and I give them a sticker. I use the same "Rewards" folder, but the front=Rocket Letters/Numbers, back=stations work. Once they collect 10 stickers for their Rocket Letters/Numbers, they go to the treasure box.

    Confused yet? I hope that makes sense...If not, let me know!

  5. Erin... I just reread your question! Even teachers need to reread for meaning... LOL!

    I think I understand your question better:

    Ok, when the students finish a station, they toss (literally sometimes) their paper in their black stations bin (see the picture). Towards the end of the day, one of the table members grabs the black bin and then the students sort them at their table (4 kids per table). Then the students pull out their purple star work folder. The folder always stays in their desk. Then when I come by, I don't have to do much... just check then stamp!

    The kids then put their checked work in their binder and it is ready to go home.

    I think teachers can spend a lot of instructional time (or after school time) sorting papers. The way I do it... I never have to sort papers. The kids do it for me. The name mystery is not mine to solve (which I LOVE). I can also give feedback. I love to praise-up those who rocked a station.

    Blah! Blah! Blah... sorry you asked yet?

  6. Thanks for sharing all the information on your stations!! I am starting my workstations next week and am excited to see how they go.
    One question I have for you is how soon into the school year did you start your stations? We are on week 3 and I am wondering if I could have started them sooner. Just curious on what you did!?

  7. Hi Emily, I am so glad you are getting started! I hope you love them as much as we do in my class.

    I started stations on the 2nd day of school. We just explored manipulatives, but I got them used to working with a partner, finding their work space, and staying in one spot.

    On the 2nd week I added a few academic stations, but kept some manipulatives explorations.

    We just finished our 18th day of school. This week we are ALL academic math and literacy work stations.

    I start my small groups tomorrow... YIKES!

  8. Emily... I had more to say (shocking!). If you are just starting stations... no worries! You can start them any time. I suggest spending 3-5 days exploring manipulatives. Let them get used to reading your work station board, finding their spot, staying with their partner, working the whole time. Once that looks good, add a few academic stations. Over the period of 3 weeks you can gradually add the academic stations in. Don't rush into it. Make sure the students meet your work stations (behavior) expectations. I hope that helps.

  9. Wow! You are amazing! I have been stressing over centers for the last few days. I have a large, young class. I have 27 students and trying to keep them organized in centers so that I can eventually do small groups. How did you introduce your centers? Also, do you do it in the morning or in the afternoon. I am trying to balance my schedule too. Just when it looks perfect on fails in class.

    Thanks for all your posts and ideas. I wish I could fly to Missouri and spend a week in your room!

    Jennifer Shilling

  10. Jennifer, you are welcome ANYtime! Now... I started with stations back in August with my kiddos. I sort have been chronicling my stations progress along the way. Look back to my Aug 20th post. That was after my first 3 days with my kiddos.

    Then read the posts in chronological order. I think that might help you. If you still feel the need to take long, deep breaths in a paper bag let me know! I will be happy to give you more information!

  11. Deedee...can I just say what a wealth of knowledge you are! I am a first year kinder teacher and I am addicted to your blog! I have gotten a ton of ideas and have bought a few of your things off of TpT which my students love. I have 29 students (yikes!) and am ready to tackle work stations. I kind of already do centers during our theme but really want to try out math stations to make my math program stronger.

    I could have sworn I read on one of your posts how you have your math time set up. But I cannot find that post for the life of me! Do you know which post I am talking about?

  12. Hi Carrie! I'm so glad you are finding my blog helpful! Yay!!!

    I had to dig deep to find it, but it was in June!
    Specifically, June 5th and it was titled:

    Work Stations Blog Party Chapter 3

    Let me know if you can't find it :-)

  13. Yes that is it!! Thanks! I'm going to dive into math stations after our fall break in the beginning of October. :)

  14. Hi! Love your blog! Totally awesome and thanks for all the freebies. I'm a little confused about the rocket letters. What is the 1 minute test thing? Do they get the letter circled if they show you they can form it correctly?

  15. Thank you Mrs. Grissom! Yes, they get the letter circled if they form it correctly and under 1 minute.

  16. Hi Deedee, Quick question, probably obvious but is your station rotation two weeks? Thanks for all the wonderful ideas!

  17. Hi:) So....for your literacy stations, how long do they work in each station? Is this the time you pull small reading groups? If so, how do you do that? I have 32 students and they are in groups of 4. My thought is that each group goes to 2 stations per day????? We will start our 3rd week of school, so I have just been doing some exploring stations.

  18. Hi Amy~ I change my stations each week, but I certainly think they could last two weeks. My kids would benefit from having a second turn at some of my stations.

    Silly Teacher (Ok... now I feel silly)~Each stations is currently 15 minutes long. We will stretch that to 20 minutes in the upcoming months. Yes, we go to 2 rotations a day for literacy and 2 for math. My kids are in groups of 4. If I have to make a group of 5 , I make sure it is with my proficient or above students. 32 students???!!! Holy Cow! Please tell me you have an aide or something?

  19. Hi Deedee. I'm a little confused on how you have kids go to 2 stations a day and also see you. Do they do 1 literacy station followed by 1 math station? Or 2 Literacy and 2 Math back to back? I know you said you just have kids come to you instead of doing their station but I guess I don't see how it all will work?? Currently I have 3 rotations in my class for stations (for math AND then again for literacy) and kids either go to me, go to a workstation or do a phonics page. But I would love to cut out the phonics page since paper/pencil isn't the best way to learn anyway! Also my day is getting shortened by an hour so I'm thinking I may need to cut back on my center time and do 30 minutes like you instead of 60?? I'm assuming this means you only see 2 groups a day for literacy and 2 groups a day for math? Sorry for all the questions that are jumbled up in this comment! :(

    1. Alisha, My stations have stayed the same for the last 2 years. We do 2 literacy stations (early in the day) and 2 math stations (towards the end of the day). If they come to me instead of their station, I don't worry about making that station up for that. I simply do not have the time or energy to do that sort of planning...ha! I know that with me they will be learning something new, vs just practicing something at their station.

      Yes, I just meet with 2 literacy and 2 math, but I do try to sneak in an additional intervention time where I can. I think 15 mins per station is adequate. We regroup after each rotation. So we come back to the carpet to discuss what they learned, what went well, and to report any issues that need attention (AKA tattling).

      I hope that helps.

  20. Wondering if your Rocket Letters and Numbers is still available?


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