I run both my math and literacy with the Debbie Dillar model of two students working together and I assign each of them two stations. I used to do 3, which can work but with the amount of time that I have, I only have time for 2 (barely). We do each station for 15-18 minutes depending on when we start; I put my stations in before our first recess so I have 45 minutes to fit them in, which does work. I used to make my own cards and the entire time I used them (even though I would put the same card on the tub that the kids needed to use) the kids never got the hang of them. They were constantly asking me which one they were supposed to go to next, which one we were on, etc. etc. Then about 2 years ago I came across Deedee Wills' blog and discovered her station cards, Heaven sent I tell you. My kids pick up on the way things go so fast now, I can hardly believe it.
So here is my board:
Let's Get Organized!) When the day ends, I simply move their stations down. If they were working with me or my EA, I usually put our cards over their station that is there, so then I just leave it and they get to do it the next day. I used to spend so much time planning out what each kiddos out do each week and it became such a hassle. Then I took a class from a fellow teacher on literacy stations, and she just moved them down and changed out a few when needed and the light bulb went off and I thought "Of course!". So now that's what I do and it saves A TON of time.
I did write about how I do my Word Work Tubs, which you can read about here. The other stations I have are
- Computers, which I load some web-based games on that I purchased from Pink Cat Studio as well as games like Starfall
- Listening Station
- Tiggly iPad Station
- iPad Explore Station (I'm very lucky to have a set of 7 iPads minis in my room from our district)
- Osmo Station
- Stamping Station
- Buddy Reading (which I use another set of iPads for and our leveled readers are on an app) Students pick out a pick and read the same one together taking turns.
- Writing Station
- Pocket Chart Station (which I use the Predictable Sentences)
- LeapFrog Listening Station (which I really enjoy since there are games in many of the books)
- Puzzles Station
- Games Station
- Fine Motor
- Poetry Station
Yes I know that I have a lot, but no we do not do all of them every week. I like to have a lot so I can pick and choose what my students do. There may be a few weeks we go without anyone doing the Listening Station or the Computer Station. The Fine Motor station is great for the start of the year and for putting infrequently throughout the year. I like to have these, what I call "more fun stations" (only to myself not to the kids), so when I have an assessment day I can put these stations up on the board for students whom I usually work with in small group because they need it, but since I need to assess they need something they will be successful at and all the time, they are still learning!
My math stations are run the exact same way; the math stations have numbers 1-12. I have my Math Tubs assigned very closely to Elizabeth Hall's BUILD concept: Buddy games, Using manipulatives, Independent reading (which I usually but an interactive emergent reader in a tub and then use other games for a different tub), Learning about numbers, Doing math. so I have them assigned as this:
- 1 & 7 - Buddy games. These have games such as Connect 3, Bump, and More or Less
- 2 & 8 - Using manipulatives. I have these using different games, I may have Bump in 2 since it does use manipulatives, or some addition/subtraction games. In 8 I have our shapes to making shape pictures.
- 3 & 9 - Independent Reading - At first I started putting Elizabeth Hall's Independent Reader books in 3 and some other fun math books in 9. But copies started to add up so now I have some math sentence games in these. These are ones with addition or subtraction cards and the kids have to write the correct equation for each card.
- 4 & 10 - Learning about Numbers - this is another great way to incorporate any math games you want students to work on to help them "learn about numbers". Here I put things we are working on. Shapes, Tens and Ones, Clay Numbers, Counting cards (dice games of rolling a number an writing what is next), or whatever else you would like them to work on.
- 5 & 11 - Doing Math. These tubs are great for differentiating addition and subtraction. We work on 1-5 the first part of the year and then later in the year we work on 1-10 so this is a great station for that. I keep 1-5 in tub 5 and then in tub 11 I can have 1-10 so it is easier to differentiate.
- 6 & 12 - Supplemental. Here is where I get to put in different things I want that might be either be too many for a certain tub (I do try to keep everything to 2-3 games) so I can put them in here. Tub 12 though is the Osmo numbers game that is a huge hit with my group (and has been since last year when I first introduced it). The thing I love about Osmo is that it is so easy to give each student what they need to work on and with the math it goes with their learning (so it is one less thing for me to do). :)
They have different partners for their math stations and here is where I can really utilize the stronger learners with the not so strong learners. Especially those that struggle with working independently and/or being successful with it. With math groups I do still pull pairs over with me and what I mainly do (since this is the first year I've actually pulled groups for math stations since we do not have a curriculum for small group math), I play math games with them; mainly Math Fluency Games, which my kids seriously LOVE! They have been so funny this year. We started these games in the winter with the winter theme and then when it became time for Spring, i changed the theme out and the first few groups of pairs I played with, they said to me, "This is just like the game we used to play with the igloo! I've played this before!" I would assure them, yes you have it's just a different theme. 😂 Awe love them.
I laminate almost EVERYTHING for stations. This way the kids can play the games more than one time and keep the learning going! (and I don't have to make tons of copies). The only things I don't make lamination copies is for the stamping station (tired it was terrible), writing stations, and listening. Pretty much everything else I laminate the response sheet or it does not need a response sheet. How do I keep track of what they are doing? They turn in the papers they work on their their table tubs and things that don't require a response sheet are either similar things I go over in small group or we do something whole group that I can check over to see if they are doing it correctly.
I do a lot of whole group teaching and projects. I've found it is hard to make sure I have sufficient parent support (I know life happens, I don't judge, it's ok!) so I have just found it easier for me to teach many things whole group and then I can see how my kids are thinking on their own (are they using their own brain or relying on those around them all the time? What happens when those kids are not always there? Can they do it on their own (yes they can, they just have to try)). We are also able to do all of our art projects whole group; which is tons of fun and we love Directed Drawings.
So that is how I run my stations. I hope it has answered any questions you might have had. Please comment with questions and/or comments if you would like to know more.