Thursday, May 4, 2017

How I Organize My Word Work Stations

I posted a picture recently on a Kindergarten group I am part of on Facebook and had lots of questions. So here are some answers (it's a bit long so please stick with me and you can download these cards at the end of the post):
Last year I started using Deedee Wills' station cards (they're FREE) and once I started using them I was amazed at how quickly my students learned how to use our station board and move from station to station. They were even able to find the tubs MUCH easier than ever before. It was fantastic. This year I have been doing some tweaking. I use A LOT of Deedee's creations and they have been wonderful for myself and for my students but these may not be for you and that is totally ok, I just want to go over what I do just incase you find something you also like.
All of the links I'm sharing are to the products I use of hers since they are the main activities in my tubs. Even if you do not use any of Deedee's products, these tubs can still be filled with whatever you would like and they are great for differentiation.

I use her monthly Math and Literacy packets as well as some other Math and Literacy things. for these tubs. Since there are so many great things for the kids to work on, I wanted to pair it down and really make sure I have tubs where the kids can focus on what they need to work on and assign certain stations to certain pairs of kids and know they are getting what they need.

So what is in each tub? Well I started them from easy to more challenging. This way I can have certain groups of students work on certain tubs over and over and keep them in the beginning of the alphabet and for students that need more of a challenge, they can do the later letters. I do have many that I have do almost all of the tubs throughout a few weeks, but they usually always have a focus tub.

  • Word Study A - Play Doh letters and words (You can find those here). Who doesn't love some good play doh fun? We do a letter a week with our reading curriculum so I put that letter in and then will usually keep the past few letters in as well so students can continue to practice. I never keep more than 4-5 letters in the tub at a time.
  • Word Study B - Beginning Sound and Ending Sound. With this station I use a lot of different activities, which is a lot of fun. There are puzzles, and games from each month's literacy pack. These are very fun to switch out because each month there is a new theme and the kids are always excited to see what will be next (and also don't always notice they are always practicing the same skills). The other thing I keep in this tub pretty much all year and just change it is ABC lowercase/uppercase letter matching. I'll change it to matching beginning sounds once I notice all of my students are able to match the lowercase letters with their uppercase mate. 
  • Word Study C - Rhyming - This station has become one of my favorites. Mainly because I am able to put in an There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Rhyme game that I ordered from Scholastic and the kids think it's hilarious to feed the old lady her rhymes. I mainly use this game in small group, but once most everyone has played it, I put it in the tubs. I also use the rhyming games that come with the monthly math and literacy stations. Another favorite is in the later stations like April and May when there is a picture on the card and then the kids have to find the rhyming picture on the recording sheet. This is a fantastic challenge for most kiddos. I also like the rhyming in the right the room and monthly stations where there are two pictures and the kids have to decide if they rhyme or not with a thumbs up or thumbs down.  
  • Word Study D - Syllables and Word Families - This station has mainly started out with syllables but as the year goes on I've added word families as well because by this time students should have syllables down, but there are still those kiddos that need work on it. So this is a nice station to work on two things. I also like word families because it reinforces rhyming skills as well, so score!

  • Word Study E - Vowels and CVC - I like having these higher letter for later in the year or even for those kiddos that come in already reading and needing a bit of a challenge. With these, there are some great vowel games and changing CVC words in the monthly Math and Lit. My kids have really enjoyed the changing CVC words; they're like little detectives solving the mystery. 
  • Word Study F - Blends and Digraphs - Again this is a nice station to have as my students grow their skills and some need to move onto this skill while others may still need to work on beginning sounds or rhyming they have the opportunity to do so.  
  • Word Study G - Sentences - I REALLY like this station and it is a higher letter BUT  there are some very easy sentences in the Math and Lit early months that students can grow with. I have my students match the picture with the sentence and then write the sentence on the recording sheet (which I believe is what the I Can card says to do). So in the beginning of the year as students are learning sight words, they can read the simple sentences and match the picture to what they have read.  Now that I have made a place for these, I'm excited to see my students grow in their sentence writing even more. ( I should add that I have been using Deedee's Predictable Sentences (or Super Sentences when I purchased them) for our writing station and they are (of course) amazing. My kids really enjoy making sentences with them and these as well grow as the year goes on)
  • Word Study H - Sight Words - This station is wonderful. There are SO many possibilities that you could use to help your students practice their sight words. I have an old Candy Land set that I just write the words or print on labels and put on the color cards (I've done both and I think printing is best for me). The game is played the exact same as Candy Land and the kids just have to read the words to move to the right colors. I also use Roll Say Keep (which right now the other themes are in our game station so the kids can keep practicing and I put current themes with this tub and with me in small groups). My kids have LOVED Roll Say Keep all year and what I love about it is that I can edit it to match the sight words for our curriculum or that we are currently working on and just print multiple copies so there are multiple times to practice. Speaking of multiple times to practice, a math game that has been an all time favorite of my room for the past few years is Connect 3 (which is available in ANY of Deedee's math stations) and so in the Sequence Initial Sound and Sight Word packet, I can look at our assessments if sight words (which I use ESGI) and see which words most are struggling with and use those to put in the game. There are 5 words for kids to practice and one Free Space. I tell you, this game has been a HIT! We did it whole group first and then moved it to the station and I have seen a huge excitement in practicing sight words. 
Another very fun game for sight word practice is the Sight Word Spelling Games. This has been awesome. I used it most of the year and then I took a webinar put on by ESGI and Kim Adsit from KinderGals was the speaker. This woman was AMAZING! I have a new view on teaching sight words from this webinar. I now show the kids the word, have them read it, then turn it away from them for them to spell. I have seen such a difference in the way my kids spell the sight words from just using this small change when playing this game in small group. The brain is an amazing thing. Another good game is Just Roll With It which you can use pocket chart dice (which I purchased on Amazon) and you can edit the dice for the words your kids need and also edit the recording sheet for them to either trace the words or to write themselves.
The main thing I have learned from changing the way I do stations, is that putting games into learning is a HUGE game changer. Also having only two stations for a bit longer of a time and not seeing every single kiddo every day has also been awesome. I use the Debbie Dillar form of stations where the students work with a partner (if you have read any of Deedee's station posts, she does the same thing so having the two stations for a bit longer of a time is nice and the kids can and do become more independent)
I am very fortunate to have an EA (Educational Assistant) for my reading time. I have her pull the kiddos that I am not worried about with their progress. I provide her with everything she needs to run these groups and I assess each kiddos every week so I can keep track of how they are doing. She also updates me on how the kids are doing, so we can make changes as necessary.

So that is the bulk of my literacy stations. I also have the Writing Station (so much fun to read what my kiddos come up with), puzzles, listening station (I use some of the Listen Up! printables, but only when I can find them on Scholastic and use my points.), pocket chart with I use the predictable sentences, I also use LeapFrog pens and books for another listening station, and iPad minis (that my district provided for kinder) with Tiggly and Osmo (both systems I was able to get through a grant on Donors Choose but highly recommend if you are able to do so).

Happy Teaching!!

To download the cards, just click on the title or the picture.

Word Work A-H Station Cards

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