Have you been waiting on pins and needles to see what I have in my morning work stations this month? Well, it’s all about winter, snowmen, snow flakes and penguins. Winter has definitely arrived in Michigan, so I might as well embrace it. Right? At least that’s what I keep telling myself. By the way, I have added a couple of extra stations this month (14 in total) to get me through the entire month counting all our specials, late starts and the like. So here’s a peak at what I have in store for my kinders when they return next week.
Remember if you would like to see how I set my stations up at the beginning of the year and get a bit more detailed explanation of how they are organized, you can visit my Back To School Fine Motor Morning work post and it should get you up to speed very quickly. Also, if you’re interested in knowing where I secured all the lovely little items for my stations, just click on the highlighted text or pictures and you’ll be directed to where you can get your own.
Please note, this post does include affiliate links.
STATION #1: SNOWMAN STUFF
While I love love love having my students work with therapy putty, this month I wanted to do a little something that would be a bit more thematic. Since therapy putty doesn’t come in white, I opted for the next best fine motor thing–Play-Doh. Of course, grab some neon orange and black sharpies to really do them up right and give them a little snowman face.
In this stations students will remove the Play-doh from a container, noting the number on the bottom of the container. They then search through the Play-doh for hidden snowman items. You can get a closer look at what I’ve hidden in the picture below.
Once they have the items removed from that canister of Play-doh, they will sort, count and then graph the items on the recording sheet provided. Did I make up a little freebie for this that you can use if you have the same items? Of course, I did. You’ll find it at the end of this post.
STATION #2: Winter Pokey Pins
I had these left over from Krissy Miner’s Holiday Set of Pokey Pin Activities, but wouldn’t you know it, I see that today she just posted a new set of winter themed ones. If you’d like to check them out, just click HERE.
Of course, you’ll be giving your students a push pin (safely secured in an eraser) to poke out these lovely little designs. It’s amazing fine motor work, and I especially love how quiet they are when they work at these. That’s a bonus in our teacher world friends!
STATION #3: ADDING UP CHILLY PALS
How many of you purchased those adorable penguin and snowman erasers from the Target $1.00 Spot in December? Admit it! You all did, and so did I. But I held on the penguin and snowman ones until now because I knew I would want them for January and not December. So this station is all about using those little erasers to practice ‘hands-on’ addition.
I found these little containers at the Dollar Tree which are perfect. Yes, get out that black and orange Sharpie again. It’s time to make some more snowmen.
On the inside of each container, I placed a predetermined number of erasers. Students will use tongs to remove these erasers to complete an equation on the response sheet provided. (Yep, this is also included in the January printable freebies at the end of this post.) I bet you’re wonder, ‘but how do you keep them organized and differentiated?’ Well that’s simple.
On the bottom of each container is a sticker. The color of the sticker corresponds with the tier and the number is where they will record their equation and answer on the response sheet. And no, I don’t check these. When they have completed their work, they can either take a picture for me to see later, or they can come get the response sheet to check their work.
STATION 4: PLAY-DOH MATH MATS AND MANIPULATIVES
You’ve been dying to know how I was going to use those little glass snowmen haven’t you? Well this is one way! My students continue to use Play-Doh for math activities, creating numbers and solving problems. This month, I have them using the Play-doh to create the number on the mat . . .
But they will use the tongs to collect and place the snowman on their mat to complete the missing number questions that are also included. This months play-doh number mats are part of my ‘Winter Sports Math Work Galore‘ pack.
STATION 5: LEGO MAZES
Do you remember how I had my students making those marble mazes last month with Duplos? I started with Duplos because I thought it would be easier than starting with Legos. Well, they are definitely ready for Legos. So like before, I have created the first two mazes. Students will use the white marble (snowball) and manuever it through the maze.
Once they have successfully solved the maze, it’s their turn to create a new maze for the next set of students to use this station. That’s what the extra Legos in the drawer are for . . .
STATION 6: SPINNER MATH AND COLOR
My students this year LOVE to color, so I’m going to give them as many opportunities to do that as I can. This is just one way I can kill two birds with one spinner stone. Yes the activity is differentiated so that students are working on the skills and at the level they need.
These students are working with ten frames . . .
While these are using tens and ones place value . . .
This activity is NOT part of my free printable pack included at the end of this post. It’s just one of the many activities from my January Spinner Math Stations Galore. You can learn more about these activities by clicking the pictures above or HERE.
STATION 7: MITTEN MATH MATCH
When then come to station 7 my students will find a set of self-correcting cards for math. One set will be for simple addition and subtraction to 5 and another set will be for addition and subtraction to 10. I love self-correcting cards, because my students can be independent and immediately get feedback as to whether they are answering the equations correctly or not.
So here’s how this station will work. Students will take their set of cards over to and area where I have a set of simple, foam numbers mittens hanging from a line. (I got this cute twine and clothes pin set from Dollar Tree of all places! I love it!)
This works as a number line for them, but also as a means of showing their answer. I hung a playing card up on the lower line just to give an idea of what they are like. Usually my students like to take turns showing the problem to their partner and then having the partner answer.
When the answer is shown by placing the correct number on the lower line, the other student will open up the card to show them if they are correct.
Yes a set of these cards are included in the free printable pack at the end of this blog, so if you’d like to try them out, please do.
STATION 8: WINTERY PATTERNS
I love foam beads for fine motor but stringing them can be a beast for the students with the best fine motor skills, so I am a big advocate for using pipe cleaners to make it easier and less frustrating for all involved.
After I set this station up, I wasn’t really happy with just having my student make patterns, so I actually created a set of self-correcting patterning cards that I included with your printables that will make using this particular set of beads more engaging and valuable. I will give you a glimpse at them when I post these stations ‘in action,’ but until then, you can pick them up in the printable pack below.
STATION 9: SNAP CUBE MATH
My students are big into building this year, so I know this station by Simply Kinder’s, Jennifer Kadar is going to be a huge hit.
Students will get to build a variety of ‘winter’ themes items and once they have completed the task, they will count the snap cube blocks they used to complete it. I like that the activity is fine motor intensive, but also uses math and visual perception skills as well. You can grab these up by visiting Jennifer’s TpT store or by clicking on the picture above.
STATION 10: GRAB ‘EM SNOWMEN
You still have that black and orange Sharpie right! ‘Cuz, I’m telling ya, you’re gonna need them.
So I purchased 144 Beer Pong Ping Pongs, and after I got them, I thought of so many more things I wanted to do with them that I went ahead and ordered 3 more packets of them. (My sensory table is gonna be FABULOUS!!!) But I’m getting side tracked . . . sorry.
Anyway, for this station, students will be using the grabbers to select one ping-pong snowman, they will then read the number on the snowman. Then by taking turns using the spinner, they will determine whether they or their partner has the “greater” or “less” number required to capture both snowmen for their own. I actually have two sets of these snowmen available for my students based on their readiness level. One set is to 20 and the other has numbers through 60 and more. I always have a 100s chart available for my students for this activity as well so that if they can not identify their number, they have the means to figure it out.
STATION 11: MAKING SNOWFLAKES
Because every single kindergartener should learn how to make snowflakes. I mean it’s scissor work and folding at it’s finest!!!
I don’t leave my little ones without a little cheat sheet with step-by-step instructions though. I always have a little guide to show them how it’s done, because, face it, folding and cutting it hard work, but once they get it . . . your poor classroom floor will be peppered with little pieces of paper. This might be a good time to get a little extra gift for your janitorial staff.
STATION 12: SNOWY GLITTER SAND
I need them to have as much practice as possible writing and sometimes writing in pretty . . . glittery sand . . . well sometimes it just makes it easier. I used to Dollar Tree shallow mini cake pans to hold the sand. The ‘sand’ is merely salt with some super fine iridescent glitter.
To make it a little more fun, I purchased a bunch of those super cute pencils from the Dollar Spot at Target that matches the erasers. You know the ones! Yep, well when they come to this station, they will grab their Ball Words (my sight word fluency program), practice writing and reading their sight words and then they’ll get to keep their pencil.
STATION 13: SIGHT WORD ICE FISHING
Ok so maybe it’s not exactly fine motor, but I wanted to include this in my morning work stations because my students always love it so and so do I.
You’re gonna need a big box. I covered mine with white butcher paper and cut a hole in the top. By the way, I do ice fishing every year in my class, and this particular box here has lasted 3 years.
It’s a great station where students get to use sight words at their level of readiness. It’s fun, it’s engaging and they’re learning and don’t even know it.
The best part for you is that the fish are editable
and free for you to grab up for your own. Just follow the link HERE to get yours and learn more about how I put this center together.
STATION 14: SNOWY LETTER SOUNDS AND WORDS
This station is going to cover fine motor–yes, but I also need my students working on segmenting and getting those letter sounds down in order to produce words. So for this station, I have three-tiered set of cards. When I went to pull this station together, I knew exactly what activity cards I was going to use.
I have this set that was one of the first that I made that had students writing their letter sounds on mittens. But then I opened up the file and thought . . . meh! I mean, it needed a make over, so I made over the entire set. So if you happen to have owned the set below
It now looks like this
Go to this link and you can redownloaded and get the new, post-facelift edition. These cards are NOT part of the free printable set. Sorry. However, they do include beginning letter sounds, CVC and CVCC/CCVC words plus playing mats.
At this station though, students are going to use ‘snowballs’ to spell their words . . .
Of course those snowballs are ping-pong balls (I did mention I ordered another 3 packs of these things right! Can’t wait!) and I store them in egg cartons for ease of use. Students grab a card that is right for their readiness level.
They write the word with ‘snowballs’ balanced on golf tees
Then they open the card to see if they completed the task correctly. Independent AND self-correcting!!!
Ok, so there you have morning work for this month. As always, I will post on all these ‘in action’ after I get back from the break and get back into the groove of things. If you have questions about where you can get any of the items above, usually just click on the picture to take you where you need to go, or, of course, you can email me.
If you’d like to grab the free printables available for this set of stations, just click on the picture below. You’ll need to enter your email address and a verification note will be sent to your inbox. If you don’t see it right away, please check your SPAM folder. Then once you verify your subscription to my mailing list, the file is automatically downloaded to your computer. Just check your computer’s ‘download’ file to find it. Of course, if you have any questions, just drop me a line. I’m happy to help.
UPDATE: After spending the last year posting about morning work and presenting workshops to teachers across the country, I had numerous special requests from teachers who required more than just 12 stations, ‘I Can’ sheets with standards and skills indicated and who had numerous questions. Taking all those requests and questions, I put together a Getting Started With Morning Stations packet and now an expanded October, November, December and January Morning Work Station packet with over 35 Morning Work Station Activities. If you’d like to learn more about the getting started packet, just click HERE. Or click on the picture below to find out more about January.