Literacy Stations... revamped!

Oh boy, literacy stations.  Ninety minutes of my day.  Every day.

I have a serious love/hate relationship with them.  I enjoy working with my small groups and getting to spend 30 minutes with each group, but it's the other hour that I struggle with.  Handing over the independence to children.

My hands start to shake and my palms start sweating.

No, not really, but I feel like they could!  

After lots and lots of training, my kids (who have done these type stations in Kindergarten and first grade) are ready to go... what do they do?  

Well, after many attempts, failures, trying again, searching, pulling hair out, etc.... I did a week of planning with my literacy coach and we talked about all of the different activities and how we could implement them with rigor (eesh) and be something they can work on independently.  We took ideas that I already had and were using and talked about how they can be more rigorous and engaging.  Going with these type activities have saved me lots of time and money at the salon...not as many grey hairs popping up :)

My Literacy Stations

My students have five stations that they rotate through during the week.  I have a schedule mapped out daily to show where they are, who they work with, and what task they should complete.

Be a Word Detective
In this station, students are skimming through texts to find a certain type word.  This week, my students are hunting for verbs.  Normally I'd have them go back and find previous word study features, but since we didn't have word study last week with all the midyear assessments we had going on, I'm having them practice looking for verbs.  The books they are using are old decodable books from my old basal, but they are good for this type of work.  I've also used Ready Readers, newspapers, and even had them skim through their IDR (Independent Daily Reading) books that are on their independent level.

Writing Center
In this station, my students have the chance to write...usually on a topic of their choice!  This week, we are taking this time to write back to our Ohio penpals!  

In our writing center, I have different papers, markers, pencils, etc. for students to use while they write.  I also have a list of writing prompts for each month they can pick from.  Since we were writing to our penpals, I didn't have the writing prompts up, but you can see from the picture where they would go.

The word study drawers are there for students to access their word study words and hopefully to incorporate into their writing.  Their words are cut apart so they can sort their words manually each day.  The organizer rack is from Really Good Stuff and I just got it before Christmas break.  I am going to put a writing folder on the left and right sides of the organizer for each student...  When finished, they can write about anything they like!

Listening Center
My listening center is my newest addition to my literacy routine.  I'd done a listening center a few years ago, but quickly ran out of stories and patience!  I found out that I could log onto Tumblebooks and access stories from their library.  The students love them!  They can pick any story to listen to and then they complete a graphic organizer after listening.

The graphic organizers start off pretty basic.  I begin the year using a beginning, middle, and end organizer.  Once we start building our comprehension skills and mastered a skill, I'll add it to our listening station.  After we've learned about analyzing characters, I'll add that organizer to the station.  Once we've mastered a skill, it goes to the listening center.  It gives the students a chance to review and practice those skills.  Sometimes I'll give them a choice of what organizer they use to review or if I feel like they need practice with more than one.  Although they think they are getting a "choice" the choice is really mine :)

Partner Reading
This station was probably on my list of worst stations for everything in my classroom.  Unengaged students - check.  No accountability - check.  Students not working - check.  And what was worse, I placed it right beside my small group table.  I spent most of my time correcting behavior of those students instead of working with my small group!  I was very frustrated.  Last year I had a group of students who would sit and read without a problem for the 20 minute block they were there.  Nooooo problems!  This year, our time got bumped up 30 minutes and my students weren't doing what they were supposed to...what to do?

Since fluency is a essential part of our readers' literacy diet, I made sure there was some fluency accountability incorporated in my station activity.  At the beginning of each month, I select books that are themed (this month I have penguins, snow, and magnets since we are studying magnets in Science) and place them in my partner reading bookshelf.  The students have their graphic organizers to fill out (ones we've done in class already or similar to skills taught) and they complete those after reading with their partners.  In addition, they now complete a fluency check with their partner.  They will assess their partners and complete the same on themselves!  

For my fifth station, I usually will pull a game that reviews a skill.  Many I've bought from various places, including TPT, and many are games that I have made myself.  I'll change this one out each week.  Sometimes I'll put several out (especially if they've played them before) and they can pick and choose.  

I hope you can find something to take back to incorporate into your own personal literacy block.  I've struggled and complained about having do to do guided reading, coming up with activities on my own, and all to have it change from year to year.  I feel like these activities are able to stand on their own, regardless of what changes may come!  

If you are interested in these activities, I have them in my Print and Go! Literacy Station Activities packet in my TPT store.  Click the link and it'll take you right to them.  They are $3.75.  (If you go today or tomorrow {Jan. 15}, they are an additional 20% off since today was my first snow $3.00!)  Please leave me some feedback if you purchase- I love to hear back from teachers!

Happy Snow Day!
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