Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Literacy Centers

Ya'll won't believe it! I actually remembered to snap a few pics for the blog this week! I have to apologize, this school year has had a CRAZY start, but things are starting to settle down a little finally! I was inspired by one of my good friends and co-worker, Katie from Living the First Grade Dream to share how we do literacy centers in our room! I have to give a big thank you to Deedee Wills because I use a ton of her ideas and creations in my room! I love that the centers are 'predictable' in the sense that I don't have to think too hard about what centers I'm going to do each week and that the kids can do them independently without instruction after a few weeks! It's changed the whole atmosphere of my stations since I started using her stuff! (I was not asked to promote her creations... I just truly love it that much!!!) THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU DEEDEE!!!!

Some of you may remember my post over a year ago about my literacy station rotation. I had a TON of emails and comments asking if I would share the rotation cards and chart, but I did not have the license to do so from ThistleGirlDesigns so I could not. But I recently changed my cards to the the free rotation cards that Deedee made! So you can go here and download her awesome freebie!

Here's my station rotation chart. (kids faces/names are blurred) At the end of each day I rotate the stations on the left down once. The kids' pictures don't ever move unless I switch them from another group based on abilities. The numbers to the right are what table they work at for their seat work station (to prevent them from crowding around the same table and chit-chatting. Props to Mrs. McDonough for that idea! Hi Candy!!!) =)

 Here's a close up of the rotation schedule. During seat work, my kids have been working on sight words. I use the RTI Sight word pack because it has all of our sight words for the year, and then I supplement the color words and number words. (Click links to head to see what I'm using!) You'll see that I meet with EVERY student, EVERY day for 15 minutes. Now I'm not going to lie, a lot of times, I'm not finished with centers until 10:50-11, because of transitions, my reading lesson went a little long, someone was running out in the hall, etc. (I'm telling you, this has been a CRAZY year.) But it's getting better!!!

Onto the stations...

The first center I started to introduce to my kiddos was this sorting station. I like to start off with our sound tubs (from Lakeshore) b/c the kids love it and are really engaged. Eventually I'll move into sorting picture cards because I have ones for not only sorting beginning sounds, but also ending sounds, middle sounds, blends and rhyming words! So we'll transition through them all throughout the year!

The recording sheet I use is a freebie from Deedee, but I can't seem to find the link so maybe she took it down. But all you need is a t-chart! =) The first few weeks, I had A LOT of scribbling. So I took some extra time on Mondays to model how to see the shapes in each objects, using the same colors to match the actual object, etc. so Ms. G can tell what you drew! Since then, they have been so much better! No more scribbling! If they scribble, it goes in the trash and they start over. (I know, I'm so mean. hehe)

The next center is our listening center. Pretty simple. The kids listen to the story and draw and write about their favorite part. The recording sheet is a freebie from Deedee also! However, I'm really wanting to check out her new listening center packets that go with certain stories! They look so good!

The pocket chart center is something I was inspired by many other teachers in the blog world. I used to have the sentences up on the pocket chart, but I was using so many sentence strips and had to change them every year because our district keeps changing our sight words (erg! lol). So for now, they get a recording sheet and clipboard, fill in the missing color words and color the picture at the end of each sentence to match. The use the die cuts to help them spell the color words.

The next center is the stamping center. This is a purchase from Deedee's TPT store that was worth every penny! The kids LOVE this station and it's wonderful practice for them with sight words and sounding out CVC words and reviewing our word family from the week prior! The first few weeks, I wanted to pull my hair out after seeing the ink everywhere, but NOW... even my little rascals are able to use the stamps without making a big mess! Clearly, my table could use a little cleaning though! Haha! But honestly, it just took some practice and encouragement for them to keep the ink off their hands and arms! They always aim to please- I just love kindergarteners! =)

My last station is the writing station. Currently, I've been doing a Read- Trace- Write- Draw sentence paper to get my kids used to writing a sentence. But....I am introducing Deedee's October writing station next week. I've had Deedee's writing station units for the entire year for over 2 years and just now got it set up on a bulletin board! I stayed late last night getting some twine hung up on the board and clipping the pictures up! I"ll post some pictures next week! I can't wait to start using them and my kids came in this morning and were SO excited to see all the fun pictures and words they can write about now!

If my kids finish their station or seat work early... they look up at the board to find out what they can do next. (the picture cards are from What the Teacher Wants!)

The ABC tubs are numbered and filled with several different activities that they kids have all used independently from the first two months of school! 

That's it. I have LOVED this station rotation and since starting it, I've had glowing remarks on my stations and small groups from administrators! 

Okay.... so you'll be so proud of me. I actually am starting to write down some blogging ideas so I can share what we are doing in my room more often! I know there are some AMAZING teachers out there, way more creative than me... but I love seeing different teachers' ideas, so maybe my posts will help some of you! I hope so! I remember starting this blog back in 2011 and was so excited to post pictures and create freebies. It's amazing to see how the blogging world has exploded for teachers! Such a great resource! How did teachers teach before TPT, blogs and pinterest??? Seriously... I'd love to know! =)

My upcoming posts will be on:
Our 50th day celebration (tomorrow!!!), our morning routines, RTI and what we've been up to in reading, writing and math!

Hope to see you back here!