While working at Jackson Elementary in York, PA I saw many students using work stations. One of my favorites was the “Dental Health” station. Kids practiced flossing with yarn and a large model of teeth. There were several familiar books about teeth in this station, too. I love when I see well-organized classroom libraries with labeled baskets to help students choose their “just-right” books. One classroom library had response supports to help kids write about and post responses to what they’d read there. And, last but not least, it’s always very helpful to see kid-friendly objectives displayed in a classroom to help teachers and kids stay on track and get the most they can from the day!
Archive for the ‘Work stations’ Category
I’ve been working with primary teachers at Mark Twain Elementary in HISD (Houston) on stations. They are an IB school and teach with PYP themes. Currently, kindergarten is studying about life cycles as part of their PYP studies. So, they’re going to set up an Inquiry Station using materials they already have in their rooms. Can’t wait to see what they do!
Here are some of the things they already have set up in their rooms. Right now they’re studying life cycles. Some classrooms have an “I Wonder” board posted. The class can jot down questions about their topic of inquiry to answer at this station!
Do you have a Smart Board station? A kindergarten teacher at Irby in Alachua, FL used her Smart Board in whole group to teach her kids to manipulate sight words to make meaningful sentences. They took turns touching and moving high frequency words and pictures to write and read sentences. They loved it!
I enjoyed working with K-2 teachers in Alachua, FL recently. We looked at their literacy stations and how to add depth and purpose. They are required to post “essential questions” in kid-friendly language to answer with their classes. I’ve posted some clear examples here.
In Randolph Co., NC, we focused on how to plan for literacy work stations. First, we looked at space and teachers mapped out their classrooms using paper and sticky notes. Then we examined quality whole group teaching based on state standards for reading. FInally, teachers worked in teams to plan and chart what kids would practice at literacy work stations. The photos tell the story!
Working in teams, educators chart what they’re teaching, materials they’re using, and how they’ll apply that practice to literacy work stations:
In this classroom (filled with big kids and big desks), half the students work with pairs in buddy reading. They read fiction books and talk about characters and character traits. They work together using a graphic organizer to think about characters and their traits (which the teacher modeled in whole group prior to students using this independently).
The other half of the class goes to literacy stations with partners, including poetry, vocabulary, writing, computer, and classroom library.
I always enjoy working with teachers in Lafayette, IN, where I taught classes on literacy work stations. During the training we brainstormed ideas for having an observation station in K-2. You might cover a table with a large piece of bulletin board paper, set up in a similar fashion to the chart pictured below. Place an object or two in the middle for kids to observe, place a few related books at this station, and include a magnifying glass. Possible objects include: fall leaves, rocks, shells, a bug in a jar, an ant farm, worms in a terrarium… The possibilities are endless! Provide crayons or colored pencils for students to jot down their observations and thinking in words and pictures on the paper.
First, talk with your class about questions they might answer as they observe, and list each question in a quadrant on the paper. Here’s a sample of what this might look like. Please let me know if you try this in your classroom. We’d love to see pictures of what your kids do!
From a teacher in NC– Hi! Our Kindergarten team is currently reading your book about Literacy Work Stations. We are going to implement these into our schedule. I would like to know how and how many to introduce in K at a time. Also when is it appropiate to introduce the work stations since some Kinders are getting adjusted to school. Thanks, Joye
Just like when we teach students, we built upon our successes with literacy work stations. From there, we learned how to teach with math work stations, too! As I talked about how to get started, I used the analogy of a cake with layers. One of the teachers is starting a new business, baking cakes, and brought one in for tasting. (Yum! I think she will be very successful!) I pointed to the cake and explained that the first 4-6 weeks of school are like the first layer of the cake. After it has been established, layer on small group instruction. A delicious lesson!