Saturday, March 11, 2017

stations/guided reading

Happy Spring! I am currently on Spring Break and loving it. 
Today, I wanted to share how I set up my small group guided reading and stations time. :)

I like a "learning buzz" in my classroom at all times. That means, students are not sitting quietly at their seats doing independent work. From day one, I have kids collaborating, moving, working together, and talking. The person who talks in your room the most is the person who learns the most. Because this is a precedent from day one - it doesn't even phase the kids at my table. It's a controlled chaos in which I know kids are learning.
I have 6 stations in my room and they are color coded.

1. Red - Teacher Table - where I meet my guided reading groups (more about grouping in a minute)







2. Blue - Letter & Word Work - depending on where kids are they work on letter recognition or word work skills here (beginning of year more letters and mid-year moving to words). Each kid has a list of letters or words they will work on based upon data. When they master those, they move on. I mix up sight words and words using phonics skills, depending on what the kids need. Some things we work on here are:
  • Letter sorts
  • Word sorts
  • Write, stamp, decorate
  • Rainbow write
  • Roll & Read
  • Play-doh words
  • Building words with magnet letters or felt letters on felt board
  • Writing our words on white boards

3. Yellow - Buddy work - one page usually reviewing skills from last week that kids complete together. They have the whole week, each time they're at yellow, to complete it and it's about one of the only worksheets we do. After they are done, this is the station with reading games that have retired from my table so they choose one of those.

Here, kids are playing sight word towers - they turn over a word and if they can read it, they take the blocks. At the end, tallest tower wins.

4. Black - Read to self/Buddy read/Library - Essentially, a reading time in our class library. They can also choose to practice their sight word rings here.
5. Green - Pocket chart center - changes a LOT. Sometimes, I throw a pocket chart game with a recording sheet in there, sometimes we have a poem of the week for them to fill in/write.
6. White - creation station - some sort of craft/art that goes with our weekly theme or skills and sometimes a free art time. This is a good way to get everyone a cute art piece to hang in the hall by the end of the week with just a few kids working at a time.
We start stations day one in our room by practicing a station a day. Students quickly know where stations are located (therefore where they should be) and what activities are allowed there. I use a pocket chart that has the 3 colors my groups will go to each day. 
They look at the pocket chart, find their first color and get started. Then, all I have to do is say "switch" from my table and they go on to their second color. We have practiced so much, it's second nature to them. I will get a few stragglers to my table from finishing things which is why I love having some warm-up activities to start with. 

One of my favorites is my fast fluency - each phonics skill has 3 levels of words so I can differentiate. If students see a fast fluency at their spot, they grab a marker and eraser and get started writing and reading. I can follow along to check on their progress.
Check out the -ar, -ay, and -ai packs in my store here


Okay, onto how I group my kids and when I meet them. I do everything digitally through Google drive/docs so I have this on there too.


(sorry for blurry picture - picture of a screen!)
I have 5 fluid groups named after vowels - A, E, I, O, U. Students can change from groups at any time based upon observation and data. 
At the beginning of the year I would see my low (U) group every single day. Then, my school started an afternoon intervention piece for our lowest students and most of my U group went to that. Because they were getting an extra 90 minutes in the afternoon, I dropped them to 4 days a week to see another group in my room. However, if you don't have an extra intervention time, I suggest seeing your lowest kids every single day. They should be reading with you as much as possible.

In an ideal world, I'd see all my kids every day but that doesn't always work. So, I see my low (U) group 4 times a week, my O, I, and E groups 3 times a week, and my A group twice a week. (If you're deciphering the picture: BK = black, Y = yellow, B = blue, etc.)(M1 - Monday first station, etc.)

Everyone goes to yellow and white 2 times a week which means they have 2 15-20 minute periods to finish the one worksheet for the week and their art project. They don't have to sweat being finished and hurrying to finish to move on. At the end of the week, I check for everyone's work in the box. If it's not done, they finish it Friday afternoon before free play. Easy peasy. 

I hope this gives you some good insight into how I have set-up station time in my room. We love our literacy stations and activities and I love getting to read and work with small groups of kids each day. I truly feel this is when the bulk of our learning happens. I also believe students are getting good practice in collaboration, problem-solving, and independence. 

Let me know if you have any questions! Thanks for reading.

Happy teaching!

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