Organizing Daily 5 Literacy Stations in Kindergarten and …a freebie for you.

Daily 5 Literacy Stations!!!! Holy email, you all have a ton of questions, and while I’d love to claim that I’m an expert, I can really only tell you how this works in my own classroom.

Daily5 Collage

As some of you know, I do a form of Daily 5 . . . We call it Daily 6 in my classroom.  Even though six stations are going on in a given day, students only travel to three in a given day for 20 minutes each.
So it looks like this on paper (no this isn’t my lesson plan but it is a good visual – I’ll show my lesson plan in my next post).
So for instance, on a Monday, Group 1 will go to Word Work 1st, then to Meet with the Teacher 2nd and finally to Read to Self.  You can start any group with whatever station you would like…it really doesn’t matter.  For me, this schedule just assures me that every group gets to every station every two days.   (Remember, if you want to see my actual activities for the first two weeks for each of these stations, you can find the HERE.)
Now the above schedule only shows students meeting the ‘teacher’ every other day.  However,  when I have an aide or a classroom volunteer (or a student teacher like I’m going to be having those first few weeks of school) , I actually have that extra adult meet with students who are “working on writing or word work”. So if there are no aides or volunteers that day, students will see this card on their rotation


If there is an aide or volunteer however, they see this card.

Either way, they go to the same ‘work on writing’ station.  Really though, you can substitute that second ‘meet the teach’ station where ever you think students need extra help.  You may want your more independent groups to go to ‘work on writing’ independently that rotation and put your second ‘meet the teach’ card with a group that needs help rhyming at a word work station.  Just move the cards around or substitute them as needed.


There are also two ‘word work’ stations in the beginning.  This is because students have not yet become independent enough to ‘read to someone’ in the beginning of the year during our station rotations.  So I prefer to have two ‘word work’ stations until they are.  Some groups might be ready for this before others.  When they are, their group will see this card,

instead of word work.
To make the rotations as simple as possible for students, I will connect my station cards to the location when possible.  I have my word work #1 card attached to the drawers where those materials are kept.IMG_5143
My classroom is small, so their are very few stationary stations. Students take materials and whatever they need from these drawers and go.
The Work on Writing drawers will be the same and there will be a station card for Listen to Reading over by my listening bags.  This will be helpful for those students that need that visual aide and connection.

And although we aren’t quite ready to talk about it yet, inside each drawer for let’s say ‘word work #1’  there will be different colored storage materials for holding materials for each color coded group.  This is how I tier their independent stations. I love love love poly envelopes for organizing my tiers.  I prefer to use just the clear kind now and label them with a large colored circle to indicate group color.  But seriously, these poly envelopes are the BEST.
Do I do this for the beginning of the year?  Absolutely not.  I have not done any assessing, I have no idea where my students’ readiness levels are that first week or two, and they need time to just learn to use the materials and to master the procedures and routines. Remember my post about getting them started?  They need to explore.  I also do not have a lot of choices within those first several stations.
Even though I may have several drawers in my Word Work #1 station, those drawers only fill up one at a time, little by little.  Students need to be taught what their jobs are with station choices and which activities are choices and which activities are ‘Have Tos.’ There will be a post for these subjects too…I promise.  Remember we’re going to take this slow.
Ok so how does a student know where to go?  Well, here’s an example of how you could set up your board.  It doesn’t matter if you use the wall, a pocket chart or magnetic strips on your white board.  Whatever you choose, just stay with it and don’t change it around too much so your kinders can get used to it and know exactly how to read it. (I’m actually going to use much smaller name cards, but I told you my room is torn up so this is what I had on hand.)
You’ll see here that for Monday and Wednesday, students have one schedule and for Tuesday and Thursday they have a different schedule showing exactly which stations they go to first second and third on those days.
Students look for their names and the icons of where they are going.  Remember, there will be matching icons where the materials are stored in most cases.  I don’t really plan on placing a ‘meet the teach’ card on my own forehead but, for those first several weeks, there will be a ‘meet the teach’ card where we meet.
When a student gets lost, I can point to the board and say where should you be?  Is this the right card for that station?  They usually can figure it out from there.


So how do students know which day it is?  I have a little magnetic that I stick either in front of Monday/Wednesday or in front of Tuesday/Wednesday.  That way I am physically only changing one thing on the rotation board each day.  There is no moving things up and down and around . . .just the magnet.
Why do students have different colored name tags?  So that I can tier their activities in their independent stations.  So if I have a students with their name on a green name tag, when they go to word work, they will select the materials with the green sticker or in the green envelope.  Students do NOT all have to be the same color within a group this way.  Also, I never print off my students name on cards because I may need their color to change quickly.  I always write with a dry erase marker.  One day you may be working on rhyming with students and you can have this one student that is a rock start at it.  But the next day, you may be doing segmenting and that student struggles with that skill.  You can easily change his skill level by removing his name from one colored tag and putting it on another color.  You don’t necessarily have to change the group.  Just the student color.
What do I do on Friday?  Yep, you’ll notice there isn’t a Friday literacy station day on my schedule.  That’s because once a month, we have a late start day that interferes with Daily 5 or there always seems to be an assembly scheduled when my Daily 5 meets.  By  opening up my Fridays, I can make up missed literacy days easily  (we had like 11 snow days last year so I really needed it) and when I am able to get all of my Daily 5 stations in Monday-Thursday, Friday’s are used for small group intervention, whole group literacy art activities, whole group science activities and experiments or poetry work.
Now are your students going to know where to go and what to do that first day?  Of course not.  You are physically and verbally going to have to say, ‘OK Susie, Max, April and Johnny,’  you will be a ‘Word Work #1.’  This is word work #1 (point to their schedule) and this is where word work #1 is located (point to the place where they will go).  Susie, Max, April and Johnny now you point to where you will go first.’  Then they point.  You will have to do this for every station and for each time you rotate those first couple of weeks.  But you will see, eventually, there will be a few of those kinders that catch on and know before you tell them.  They will tell the others in their group.  And so on until everyone has a plan of action for stations and knows where they should be.
I love this type of schedule board.  It is so low maintenance.  I literally have to move one thing.  All I do is move a magnet to show which day we are on.  It’s flexible enough that I can move kids readiness levels when I need to on the fly.  And…students do NOT have to be grouped by ability.
So I know some of you like to use a pocket chart for your rotation board and some of you prefer a wall or a board, so I made up some different sized charts and name tags for you to grab.


Also, if you need other materials for setting up Daily 5, I want to encourage you to head on over to my blogging buddy, Lyndsey’s, from A Year of Many Firsts, to grab her materials.  I will be using a ton of her charts this year, but I needed to make my own Daily 5 rotation cards in order to coordinate with my tiering colors.  Believe me, she has a ton of free printables you are going to want to grab.


I’ll be back later to show you how all this looks in my lesson plan.  But until then, please feel free to leave me any questions or comments.  Like I always say, I’m not an expert but these are the things that have worked in my class.  You really need to be daring enough to take what works for you and adjust it to your students, your classroom environment and your schedule.
Thanks for stopping by.

Marsha Moffit McGuire

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