Wow!!! I can’t even believe all the great comments and emails I received from my last post. You guys are amazing! And . . . because you ask such great questions, I could easily see I need to do a quick (nothing fancy but to the point) follow up post just to answer questions and get you all that template I’ve had so many of you request.
Firstly many of you wanted this template and so I needed to clean it up a little. You know I often tier by colors so I wrote that in my planning template. I wanted it to be more generally for all of you so that it just said tier 1, 2 and so on. Also, I needed to make it so you could edit it. So the math one now looks like this.
It’s a powerpoint document so you can just pull it up and add text boxes to insert your data or if you prefer, print it off and fill it in by hand. It’s not very cutesy but I wanted to make it more functional for you than anything.
Many of you also asked for a ‘literacy station’ one as well. I am moving to Daily Five so I will be implementing a Word Work Station, Listening, Writing, Read To Self, Read to Someone Else and (my own sixth station) Work with Teacher. Because of that, I won’t have a traditional ‘literacy station’ planning sheet but I will have this Word Work Station which is probably close to what you all are looking for.
In case you missed it, I did a similar post, much like the one for math stations using this very planning sheet. You can see it by clicking on the planning sheet below. It will show you all the materials and activities I used.
Click on either of the blank planning pages above to download you template.
Ok so on to some questions, these are from emails I received or comments from my facebook page or on blogger:
How to you introduce your stations? Do you start the first day? What do you say before you let them have at it?
I know it seems a little daunting thinking about letting them just ‘go’ at math stations, but in a way . . . that’s exactly what I do. I start from day one and we begin. The first stations are very much exploratory, low-maintenance and if independent. I do however explain expectations and instructions for each before hand and I only have six going at a time. I model model model how to do the activity right on the floor with everyone on the floor (which I had a document projector or smart board but I don’t so I do it the old fashion way). I usually demonstrate all the things that they shouldn’t do and we talk about the problems there might be if we don’t use the materials correctly. I even demonstrate how to put the items back (I do it wrong the first time and have them tell what I did wrong, make an anchor chart etc.)
So my first six stations would be the easiest to manage. pokey pins, geoboards, playdough, sorting, linking numbers and write the room. Your students are gonna do alot of exploring the first time you give the materials that are new or different to them. Don’t be surprise. Sometimes you just make things exploratory. Geoboards could be without the number cards and just having them getting used to the materials, same with playdough. Don’t get upset if they need to play a bit with new materials. Sometimes, even later in the year when new materials or manipulatives are introduced and depending on the make up of the class, I will often tell them I’m gonna set the timer to ‘play’ and when it goes off it’s time to start working. Kinders are still little. They need to experiment with new materials and that’s ok. They’ll be ready to work if you give them some of this time
If you want to see an EXCELLENT explanation of this, visit Krissy at Mrs. Miner’s Monkey’s by clicking the picture below. She will walk you through how to let your kinders just explore that first bit.
You’ll her post and you’ll grab some freebies while you’re there too.
What do you do with early finishers? You are probably not going to believe this but I really don’t have this problem. Because I tier my stations, things are never too easy, there is always room for exploration and I always have another tier of activities I can give a student if they have mastered the tier that was a bit less challenging. If anything, especially with write the room and I-spy activities, I have students if they can just do it again.
How many students do you have at each station? Are they all the same readiness level? How many stations do they go to each day? How many days a week? And how long do they last?
Based on my last year’s schedule, this is what I did, I have four students at each station (remember, only 6 out of 9 stations are being used at any given time). Of those four students, they may or may not be the same readiness level. Because the materials in the drawers are leveled it doesn’t really matter. If a student’s name is written on yellow that week, they use whatever is in the folder/bag/container that has that color on it. They may be a different color depending on their readiness. More than one student can work on the materials.
I ran math stations three times a week last year, students went to two 15-20 minute stations each day we had stations. That means they visited each station 2 times. This has never been a problem for me. There are always enough activities and materials to keep them busy.
Will you be placing new pictures and explanations up for your new centers as you change them out?
I hadn’t really thought about it until a reader asked me, but I’m sure I can if it’s helpful to you all. Remember, I don’t start school until September 4 th so some of you are a bit ahead. But I’ll try and have a new set of stations out in the next two weeks that you can kind of look at.
In the meantime, remember to use these first weeks to assess your students and their readiness levels so that when you do start tiering, everyone is where they need to be. Assessment and instruction go hand in hand in differentiated instruction . . .
Anymore questions? You know where to find me!