Monday, March 28, 2011

Thank you Debbie Diller...

After attending the Debbie Diller Literacy Workstations conferences this summer in Houston, it changed my entire concept on workstations. Before attending the conference I had many questions: how does she manage all of those workstations, how do the kids stay focused spread out throughout the room, is the teacher really able to work in small groups during this time, are the kids actually independently working, and how is she not pulling her hair out. Well as usual Debbie didn't fail me. Now before I show you pictures of some of my workstations I must say a lot of these pictures are from the start of the year... so as you know, as my students have grown... so have the workstations. Also, I have a problem with getting the itch to rearrange my room mid year... so workstations have definitely migrated to different areas in the room!

Anyways, here is the rotation chart I bought from the conference. Dear lord this thing is bananas. I mean it really is the heart to my workstation rotations. I just move the cards down each day. I went over with my students that they may or may not see each workstation throughout the week depending on small groups and various other things that may happen... however IT IS OKAY! It was important for me to learn this as well. This also meant I needed to be sure the materials in each workstations were meaningful throughout the entire year. This has saved me from making copies and laminating new activities! I heart it. Big... no, Huge! Which of course cuts down on having to organize lots of papers and materials. :)

* I would also like to add that I introduce these workstations over WEEKS of time, slowly and carefully until EVERY student is able to independently work at each workstation. Also, I group my partners by students who can help each other (My small groups are based on ability).
*Click the picture to see the product at really good stuff, I promise it's worth the money! 
(The left side is for our literature workstation, the right is for math)

My biggest tip on organization and keeping my workstations in order: hold your students responsible! My students know that they are responsible for making sure everything is placed correctly back to the way it was before. If not, they would not have the privilege to continue onto the next workstation. It only takes one time to sit out for them not to do follow the clean up procedures correctly! 

My big book workstation. The books are stored on the shelves that are located inside the back of the big book stand. There is a large variety of books and the I can list gives students a list of things that can choose to do at this workstation. I keep pointers behind their as well for the students to use as they need. Beside the stand is also a stack of reader response sheets that the students may fill out. 

One workstations that constantly grows and changes throughout the year is the pocket chart workstation. It started with creating sentences with our favorite candy and sorting the student names. Later I added different grammar practice games (contraction match-ups, completing sentences with punctuation, etc) I also added silly sentences... which the students always enjoy doing. There is such a variety of practice skills the students can choose to work on here, so it really keeps the students engaged and learning!

Here is our Listening workstation. Students can choose from a variety of stories and complete listening response sheets.

The writing workstation has tons of activities for students to complete! I really wanted this workstation to be time to practice creatively writing! 
I added my Journaling sticks and writings webs/ writing paper to this workstation. It is amazing to see the writing that takes place here. No matter what my students ability level is, I have seen such great leaps happening from just practice, practice, practice! There are examples for the students to use but I mainly focus on my children using a topic sentence, details, and a closing sentence. Then they need to make sure it makes sense! The kiddos LOVE to choose their own topics and be creative!

 (You can find out more about my journaling stick in this post or my TPT)

At the computer workstation students usually go to a lesson on Education City. 

My Poetry Workstations: Students can copy the weekly poem displayed or choose a poem from the poetry binders, they can illustrate, highlight rhyming words, read poetry, practice reading for fluency. My students copy their work into their poetry journals which sit in a bin beside the workstation.  

Not pictured are the:
 *Library Workstation- Students may choose books from the classroom library to read to self, buddy read, take a picture walk, or complete a readers response sheet.
*ABC/ Word Study workstation- students may complete activities using the word wall (some of which are the clip board activities from babbling abby), create spelling words with magnets, colored pens, glitter letters, or rainbow write. They may also complete a scrabble spelling activity which I discussed in a previous blog here

All of the sheets that my students may need during any of the workstations are organize in this filing system

My students know if they do not have any extra copies at their workstation, that they may simply help themselves to the extra copies located here! This has really saved me from interrupting my small group time! It also helps that I wear a flower head band to remind students that when I am in my small group they need to ask their partner for help first and try to figure out how to solve their problem before coming to me (and it needs to be an EMERGENCY!)

Hope this clarified somewhat what takes place during our workstations, I feel like I rambled on... but seriously I could have gone on for days!

Also, I created these literacy workstation task cards which are a HUGE help to my students! You can learn more about them in this post or this post, or check them out at my TPT

I love lookomg at all of your organization tools! Thanks Mrs. Patton for the great idea/ linky party!

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  1. Thanks for joining and giving us a peek into this part of your classroom! I love to look at photos and get ideas :)

    Colleen Patton
    Mrs. Patton’s Patch

  2. I LOVE YOUR STATIONS!!! My favorite is the "I can..." signs. I need to put those in my room--- and I'm gonna need your task cards! Off to TPT I go! =)

  3. Also, where did you find the silly sentences printables?!!! Are they available for download?!!!

  4. Mrs. Patton, I am loving the linky party great idea!

    Jessica, Thanks SO much! I love the workstations too... seriously Debbie Diller is what justin bieber is to a 7 year older (or my co-worker). I posted a more recent picture of my listening workstation tonight when I found a picture on my computer so you can see that I can list as well! The I Can list are awesome tools to use in your workstations! However, if you don't want to make your own my co-worker has some great I can posters she created. If you have any questions about workstations let me know!

    Also, I created the silly sentences... which I believe is saved on my school computer! I'll do a post tomorrow about the sentences and post the document for you to have!
    -Ms. Simoneaux

  5. Cecelia, thats funny. Dont worry my blood pressure is fine! I follow the Debbie Diller system of workstations so honestly it's no work for me at all. The only thing that the students ever need is more writing paper, which they can help themselves too.

    Altogether, I have 8 stations around the room that the students rotate through. They see two stations a day and there is no scheme behind the rotation expect for i take the workstation cards (right of their pictures) and just move them down one spot (the left side is the literacy rotation).
    So basically my job includes moving the cards down and them Im done. Then, I have that time to work in my small groups!

    I have read the Daily 5 book and I really like that too. I do use one aspect from their book, the read to self. I taught my students how to find just right books through IPICK, build stamina etc. I do want to incorporate more of the sisters ideas next year, so if I have any questions I'm definitely going to give you a shout!

  6. Thanks for sharing, especially the journaling sticks. I think I would also have to go to a Debbie Diller conference to do what you do :) but I know I can work some of the ideas here into my Daily CAFE classroom

  7. Thank you for posing this! I'm always looking for more great work station ideas :)


  8. Your boards are beyond great! I love your writing center and your poetry center! Where do you find your poems like the whale one? I've always wanted to incorporate more poetry in my room and I love how you've done it :)

  9. Aw Leslie Ann Thanks! I find poems online or I make them up myself ha! Trust me I am not a poet... but when I need a poem for a specific sound that we are learning, I just create my own!
    - Ms. SImoneaux

  10. Is the silly sentences a printable? I would love to use that in my classroom!!! :)

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  12. I believe the silly sentences in on my school computer! I will check and see when my computers are up and running and upload it to my blog.