Posts Tagged ‘literacy work stations’

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!

Sample recording space for an observation station in primary grades

Teachers discuss ideas at training in Lafayette, IN at Wabash Valley Education Center

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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!

Teachers charted and shared successes they had with literacy work stations last year

We used a cake as an analogy for "layering" on small group instruction once stations are established (a delicious example!)

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My book, Literacy Work Stations, has just been translated to French. And when I say translated, I mean the text AND the words in every picture AND all the appendix pages have been written in French. This new book, Les Centres de litteratie, is available from Cheneliere Education at www.cheneliere.ca

Here are a few pictures from this newest version:

The cover looks very different, but it's still the Literacy Work Stations book

Look! Christe is teaching with a French word wall!

This classroom library is set up with the labels in French

And even the big book and listening stations hold French materials

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These videos were just posted on YouTube, so I thought I’d share these with all of you so that you can get a taste of this great video! Enjoy!

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My recent travels have taken me to Denver Public Schools where I’m working with CORE Matters teams. Educators there are so dedicated to improving instruction for their students. It is a delight to be a part of this project! Teachers have used my book, Spaces & Places, to set up their classrooms and are using literacy work stations and small group instruction.

Here are some photos from January 2010:

"I Can" lists help children remember exactly what to do at stations and independent reading. This one is in a classroom library.


"I Can" list for independent reading

First and 5th grade teachers wear something on their heads to remind students to work independently of them- It works!

A cowboy hat works too!

Dedicated educators from the Force Elementary CORE Matters team

Teams examine leveled books together for guided reading instruction

Teachers make comprehension anchor charts

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I started out the new year in Greenwood, Arkansas on a return visit to Westwood Primary. On my last trip there in June, we set up a first grade classroom together and made over the space in a day. We also learned about literacy work stations. Boy, did these teachers put it into action! A big thank you to all the awesome teachers at Westwood Primary!

Kindergarten read-aloud with word wall and ABC chart


Whole-group area and word wall


Whole-group area - note the automotive drip pan on the wall

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While working in Tennessee with upper grade teachers this week, we looked at how to have students make a class ABC book related to a content-area topic. After viewing the ABC Book clip in 5th grade from my video, Stepping Up with Stations, teachers each made an ABC book page. First we brainstormed words from A-Z that went with our topic of study– literacy work stations. Then each teacher made a page for the book to experience the process.
Some things we noticed:
  • it was a great way to review what we’d learned
  • we enjoyed talking with a friend while we worked
  • you could use a book for reference
  • if we weren’t good at drawing, a partner could help
I modeled how to make an ABC book page first. If this were at a station, we’d have directions (brainstormed with students) of how to make an ABC book page. We’d also have books related to the topic of study, a list of words to choose from created by the class, and blank pages ready to fill in for the book. Here are some photos of our work. If you have an ABC Book station in your classroom, we’d love to see what your students are doing, too!

First, we made a chart together of vocabulary related to our content topic of study (literacy work stations, in this case)


Teachers use a template to create individual pages for the class ABC book


Sample pages for A and Z

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