This Week I will be finally sharing with you the amazing system I use for stations and small group reading and math in my first grade classroom. First I need to start with a disclaimer. I did not "INVENT" this system. The Math Rotations system that I am going to share (and I shared before) was the brain child of the amazing Stephanie over at THIRD GRADE THOUGHTS! You much check out her blog and check out her store for the Math Rotations product!
Now...I did take her brain child and adapt it for use with my literacy stations. I totally fell in love with the Math Rotations system and I just knew this could be used to make my literacy stations flow more productively. Boy was I right.
So here it is in a nutshell!
First lets start with my Station Work Display. My Stations are displayed on the door that leads to my neighbors classroom. I used a pocket chart for the Literacy stations and laminated library pockets for each of the book marks. I have four groups which correspond to my reading groups. I also happen to have four tables in my classroom so my students sit with their reading group. It really makes for stations running even more smoothly because EVERYONE at the table is working on the same station.
Below my literacy stations are my Math Rotations. These are thanks again to the amazing Stephanie at 3rd Grade Thoughts! You can see that there are three Math groups (these do not correspond to the tables they sit at) and there are three rotations. Teacher time, Lesson Work, and Math Centers are the main items that each student will complete each day. Fact Practice at the bottom is a reminder that if they finish their work in Lesson Work or Centers they can get their Super Speed Math out and practice their facts with a partner. I printed small circle buttons with the students numbers on them and they are stuck to the door by the group they are in. This picture was taken before I got my completed class list so it has all 22 potential students on there. I actually only have 17 students this year so they are already in their groups. I do have the students according to ability group that way I can spend a bit more time with the lower group during teacher time.
Ok...now that you have seen the displays you must be asking yourself "HOW DOES THIS ALL WORK?" Well to be honest it is so much more simple than even I first imagined it! Let's Start with Literacy stations. From 8:30 to 10:30 each morning I have small group reading with 4 reading groups. I must meet with each group EVERY Monday through Thursday. We don't meet on Fridays because we have a Friday Schedule due to our school testing on Fridays. Now there have been some Fridays that we have met because we weren't testing that week due to short week (like this week of Labor Day) but when that happens it is more like Thursday than Friday.
Ok. So here is a close up of the book marks that each table gets. There are two sets of book marks for each group. We use a Monday/Wednesday and Tuesday/Thursday Schedule for stations.
Monday Station Bookmarks
Tuesday Station Bookmarks
Here is the basic lowdown. Each rotation is 30 minutes. When the students come in their bookmarks for the day are already in their table bucket where all their supplies are kept! The chart on the door is more for me. At the end of the day I just collect all the days bookmarks and replace with the next day and I keep them organized on the door in the library pockets next to the groups. It also serves as a visual for a sub if I need one. On each day the students will simple start with the top block on their book mark and move their way down with each rotation. This way every station is hit at least 2 times a week and on Tuesday/Thursday during each group's FREE block they are allowed to do Read 2 Self or Read to Someone. I have been extremely happy with my students choices to do Read to Self on the iPads. It actually is more of Listen to Reading and Read to Self all in one. Students also know that during their FREE block they may finish up work in their "KETCHUP" folder. Each student has a red folder in their chair pocket that holds all unfinished or needs correction work. During their FREE time they can and are encouraged to work on this as well!
All my stations are housed in a colored drawer tower I got at Mardel. The students get their book marks, choose a friend to go get the drawer, bring it to the table, and get busy. All the supplies they need are in the drawer with the station in a bag. When we have about 2-3 min left at the table with my reading group I give a verbal 2 MIN WARNING and by the time I finish up all the other groups have switched and gone to the next station.
You may be asking yourself...does her class really clean up a station, put it back, and switch to a new station in only 2 minutes? Yes my friends they do! With WBT and the three peat procedures and our Rule #1 practice in only one week my firsties are transitioning from clean up to new activity in only 2 minutes. And the best part it that my stations are not a HOT MESS when they clean up. Each part is put where it is supposed to be. Small pieces in the small plastic bag and all the big pieces in the big plastic bag. All supplies in the supply pouch inside the drawer. You may also be asking..."They choose a friend to go get the drawer on their own?" Yep..I set the expectation from the beginning that if we couldn't get along and share responsibility and take turns then I would have to treat them like Kinders and make those choices for them. Something about telling them they might get treated like kindergarteners again really motivates 1st graders!!!
Now...drum roll please. Here are my Math Rotations!
Just like the Literacy Stations (or actually the LS are adapted from Stephs Math Rotations) each group gets their book marks. Now since my math groups are different than my reading groups and there are only three of them, each group is assigned a captain for the week. This student is the one that when math starts they come and get their groups book marks and hand them out. I simply sit at my small group table and watch the magic unfold. I keep anywhere from 10-15 math stations in a tub that the students can choose from throughout the month. I was thrilled to find a whole set of Math Stations for the month of September! WHOOO HOOO! Only having to change those once a month is going to be MARVELOUS! I started making my own starting in October but I will be adding to them with some of my favorite sellers on TpT!
Once the students start I begin with my low group at the table doing a small group math lesson. Lesson work is the actual worksheet for that days lesson and then math centers are games and activities they can choose from. Since we teach with Saxon Math at our school this works out perfectly. This does mean that I teach each lesson three times each day but I can tell you the impact it makes on the students is amazing. Especially with my low group. Now. We do Math Stations on Friday during our testing block for Math. However, we only do the first block on the card to allow for my high group to complete the lesson work from the previous day's lesson. This is the one thing about Steph's rotations that I wondered about when I first set it up. LET ME TELL YOU IT WORKS! If you notice, each day my high group doesn't get to do the lesson work from the lesson on the day the lesson is presented. It is their first block each day. Well, because they are my high group and in theory the most independent, they should be able to retain information overnight and complete a lesson work page on the previous lesson with minimal help. The reason I love Saxon is because it is spiraled and thus the actual material that is in the days lesson will not show up on a worksheet for a few days so we can review it several times before they have to do it on their own. So this means that on Friday we do have to complete one rotation of Math so that my high group can complete the lesson work. I don't do a new lesson with my low group, I used it as an RTI time to go over some skills that will be on the assessment we take after our first block of math rotations is finished. Like a little review time for my lower firsties!
Ok. Well I guess that about wraps up my Literacy and Math Stations! So are you thoroughly confused? I know I was until I saw it in action. I hope this has helped some of you understand how I run stations in my classroom. It looks like a lot to keep up with but in reality is the most freedom I have felt in a long time. No switching names and pictures and what not on a chart to rotate students. Yes I have anywhere from 4-5 students in a station at once but even during math stations the students are told 2 to a bag! It allows for collaboration on the activities and my students are learning to help each other and sometimes I find that when I have been trying to explain something to a student for ever, a friend can explain it and in only a few minutes they GET IT! Truly magical!
Well here are some things I am working on! I am pretty excited! Keep a lookout for them to go live on TpT!
Please stop by and show Stephanie some LOVE and pick up her Math Rotations! I don't have the bookmarks available for my Literacy stations because it wasn't my original idea! I just took Steph's idea and made it work for my Literacy Stations! Please go show her some LOVE!
We have a short week this coming week so my Peek at My Week will be up tomorrow! Maybe late tonight! LOL!